Sevdaliza is kneeling on a cushion in the backyard of an Echo Park bungalow, surrounded by a canopy of dangling jasmine and lilies. The Dutch-Iranian musician landed in L.A. earlier that day to play the first American show in her sold out tour. She’s joking with her manager, Nigel, and publicist, Danielle, about her early morning workout. “My dance team wanted me to look extra buff for the shoot,” Sevdaliza laughs, pumping her biceps like Popeye, before scolding herself for breaking character mid-photo shoot.

The photos are moody black and white portraits, and Nigel prods the crew to wrap up so that Sevda, as he refers to her, has enough time for her pre-show ritual of meditation and bodywork. “I definitely have some developing rituals,” she explains. “I, of course, do a lot of yoga, and I try to meditate everywhere I can. I like to visualize how the show will go and what kind of energy I have in my body—‘Am I tired, am I angry, am I happy?’ I want to try to be close to my feelings on stage.” In a few hours, she will perform at the Echoplex in Los Angeles, before continuing on to New York City as part of her first sold-out headlining tour.