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Nina Nesbit

Aug 19/2018
INTERVIEW Lisa Szabo PHOTOGRAPHY Riley Stewart STYLING Shea Hurley (Plutino) GROOMING Brittany Sinclair (P1M)

 

Dress – Comme Des Garçons, Earrings – Biko, Kitten Heels – Prada

When asked to describe herself in three words, Nina Nesbitt didn’t hesitate. “Introverted, creative, and driven”. While you wouldn’t guess the former from her edgy, empowering tracks—her latest single “Loyal To Me” is a girl-power anthem, rallying women to ditch their unfaithful partners—the latter two can’t be questioned.

In the six years since she was discovered in an unplanned encounter with Ed Sheeran, Nesbitt has released three EPs and one full length album; toured with Sheeran, Justin Bieber, and U.K rapper Example; and carved her way into the alt-pop scene with a harmonious blend of groove and grit. Earlier this year, the Edinborough-native was one of three emerging female artists chosen to partake in Spotify’s “Louder Together” initiative, recording the first collaborative Spotify single (“Psychopath”) with Sasha Sloan and Charlotte Lawrence, and showcasing her signature style of thoughtful messages pulsating atop hook-driven melodies.

With her sophomore album ready to drop, Georgie spoke with Nesbitt about her experience being thrust into the spotlight and maintaining her creative independence throughout it all.

G—You’ve been touring a lot this year, specifically in North America. How have your North American audiences been receiving your shows? Is it different than performing for UK audiences?

NN—Yeah, very different! I feel like American audiences are very open-minded and love getting involved early with artists. I’m basically starting from the beginning in America, so it’s fun to see it building and meet the fans who have been listening for years. Because the shows are intimate it’s a good way to connect with new people.

G—You had some big breaks early on, including a chance meeting with Ed Sheeran (before a radio gig in Edinborough), which led to a support role on his European tour. What was it like going from playing small pubs to large arenas so quickly and at such a young age?

NN—I was definitely out my comfort zone—which was a good thing. I think whenever you’re uncomfortable, you grow. You have to take a risk sometimes. It gave me such solid experience and I felt like after that tour, and also the Example arena tour that I did, I could play any show. It was also great to watch both of them on stage and learn.

G—Since becoming an independent artist, you’ve started writing songs for others. Do you approach songwriting for another artist differently than you would for yourself?

NN—I now just go in to a room and write the best song I can write that day. After that I ask myself three questions: Is this good? Is this for me? Or is this for someone else? I’m writing without any boundaries, focusing on trying to write the best song. Sometimes I find when [artists] write with themselves in mind they can be too critical of what they would say. It’s best to be free.

G—What kind of freedom does being an independent cultivate?

NN—I work with an indie label now, which is great. I basically do all the creative and they help me put it out and get it in order. It’s the perfect combination for an artist like me. It’s good to be left to my own devices with the music, visuals, and building a fanbase. Now more than ever an artist needs to know who they are and take the lead. With streaming it’s made it very easy. It’s literally artist to fan now.

G—You recently participated in “Louder Together”, writing and recording the empowering single, “Psychopath”, with Sasha Sloan and Charlotte Lawrence. What was that experience like?

NN—Spotify wanted us to write an empowering song for Women’s History Month in March, and we felt like “Psychopath” was still very much in line with all our own projects but also very empowering and fun. It was amazing to work with other female artists as it’s not something I’d had the chance to do before. We had about six hours to meet, get to know each other, and write the song, so I’m really pleased with how it turned out. It was a huge honour to be asked to be involved in something like that with Spotify.

G—You also spoke at the Women in the World summit discussing the impact of body image in the internet era. Can you tell us a bit about your experiences and why it was important to you?

NN—We are living in a weird time right now with social media. We feed it by posting our best selves online, then somehow feel unworthy or unattractive, and compare ourselves to everyone else we see. I think it’s important to remember that what you see online is what people want you to see. I find it annoying that body shapes become ‘trends’, and as a very slim, non-curvy girl I have felt like I’m not ‘in fashion’ anymore, which is ridiculous, really. No woman has the same body shape as another and I think it’s so important to celebrate that and not put someone down for not being what you see on the Kardashians or [in] the fashion world. Your body is not a piece of clothing that comes and goes in cycles, and it’s extremely dangerous for people to view it as that.

G—You have been working steadily on your next studio album which will be released on the UK indie label Cooking Vinyl due out later this year. What can we expect?

NN—It’s almost done! It’s a journey from start to finish, and documents my life from 21-22 years old. My first album was ‘I’m young and have no idea what I’m doing and I’ve just had my heart broken’ and the second one is a proper coming-of-age ‘I’m in my early 20s and am freaking out’. It’s personal and lyrically led, so I’m hoping people can take what they want from it and relate. I’m really proud of it, and it’s my favourite project I’ve done so far.

 

 

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