Scottish born Nina Nesbitt, who has been gracing the airwaves of Radio 1 with her new single Boy, is kicking off her Scottish tour in St Andrews at the Barron (ticket info here). Owl Eyes chatted to the upcoming star about her music, career and, well, Raisin!
What can we expect from your gig on Sunday night?
I'm really looking forward to kicking off my Scottish tour in St Andrews!
I will be playing tracks from my first two EP's 'Live Take' & 'The Apple Tree' along with my brand new release 'BOY', as well as a taster of a few new tracks from my forthcoming album. I'm also introducing more instruments to this tour but will mainly play my acoustic guitar and piano. I like having fun with the audience sharing cakes & sweets during my gigs if you get a little bit hungry and I introduce a few sing along parts as well if you feel up for it. I also have a little game to one of my new songs to share with everyone on this tour :) Can't wait to see you all!
Can you sum up your style in 3 words?
I can describe my music style in two words – acoustic electronic :)
Boy marks a shift from your previous work – what direction do you feel you’re going in musically?
BOY is a track I wrote quite a long time ago as a pure acoustic track initially. However when I took it in to the studio I really wanted to experiment with various instrumentation & beats to this song to push my own learning. It's more produced than my previous work which is generally very acoustic, but works well for that particular song I feel. I would say BOY gives people an indication of the scale of music production they will find on my album next year, from the very stripped down acoustic tracks to more produced songs with some beats & electronic sounds. I am co-producing my own album with Jake Gosling at the moment as I have a great interest in music production also and really enjoy experimenting with different sounds.
A lot of your tracks are more like story telling than conventional pop artist, could you expand on the inspiration behind Boy?
Yes, most of my songs are very much like stories. I used to want to be an author when I was younger. My lyrics are often metaphors, observations of daily life or experiences myself or my friends have had. BOY was inspired by an ex-boyfriend. The lyrics of the song speak for themselves. I say no more, haha!
What have been your main influences?
My music taste is very broad and I'm always keen to hear new music presented to me. I grew up with a very varied background of music to listen to within my family from artists like Eva Cassidy, Joni Mitchell, Roxy Music, ABBA, U2, Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera – to artists such as Ray Lamontagne, Ellie Goulding, Bon Iver, Ben Howard & Ed Sheeran. On the flip side of the coin I also like music by the Weeknd, Example and Nirvana. I really enjoy most genres as they all have something to offer and influence me in different ways in terms of sounds, beats and lyrical compositions. All music is fascinating and I really like new comer Jake Bugg at the moment. If you've not heard of him check him out.
You’ve gotten a lot of attention since touring with Ed Sheeran and being in his video for Drunk; what impact has he had?
Yes, I've toured with Ed Sheeran as a support act in the UK & Europe as well as play the small cameo part in his video ' Drunk'. The touring experience with him and the Example tours have certainly increased my confidence as a performer as well as given me a great insight into the structure of touring life for a busy artist. Ed Sheeran is a true professional musician and an amazing live performer. It has been a fantastic experience to be able to tour with him and learn a lot from his professional approach to his job as a musician. He has a very strong work ethic which is admirable.
What sets you apart from the crowd?
This is really a question you should ask my fans – The Nesbians :) The one message I often hear from people I meet is that they are inspired by the fact that I'm pretty much a regular 18 year old who likes to write my own songs. The fact that I initially recorded my own music to share online, directed & made my own videos with a basic camera, as well as learnt to play guitar by logging into Ultimate Guitar & Youtube lessons mainly. Many have said this has inspired them to pursue a career in music, learn an instrument, try writing their own songs and post recordings on Youtube which is brilliant. Many also like the fact that I regularly interact with people who are interested in my music through social networks such as my Facebook & Twitter every day. I've always been really keen to meet people at my gigs who have made the effort to come along to listen & support my music and maybe this is a bit unusual, but I love meeting & chatting to them all. I also love giving other young people a chance to get gig experience and on each tour I run a support act competition for an opening act for some of my shows in different cities which has been fantastic. There are a lot of very inspiring young talented people around.
You interact a lot with fans via facebook and twitter, how important is social media and sites like Youtube in building your career?
As I mentioned above I think the internet is a wonderful thing if used positively. I love interacting daily on Facebook & Twitter with people who enjoy my music. It's really helped me build a fan base and share my music around the world, but if my interaction can inspire others also to go into music as a career then thats great too. In building my music career I think sharing some of my work early on via YouTube certainly was a positive move as this was how Example came across my music with my cover of his track 'Stay Awake'.
Setting up an artist page on FB and a Twitter account to give me the opportunity to interact with people has also been invaluable as it gives you that instant feedback and a way of communicating with everyone around the world, which is pretty amazing! The internet certainly has played a part in my career as has getting out on the road gigging regularly and sharing my music & speaking face to face to the fans. My chance meeting with Ed Sheeran has of course also played a part along with the touring opportunities I was given with him. It's been a combination of a lot of things along side a lot of hard work and determination, but if you love music working on it 24/7 feels good.
Long term what are your aims career wise?
Over the next few months I will release more singles as well as finish recording my album which will be out in spring 2013. Lots more touring is planned for next year also.
However, if by longterm you mean a 10 year period – then I would love to be able to say; I was a very successful song writer, artist and music producer. I'd like to think I can continue to share my music with everyone by recording & touring world wide and continue to encourage other young artists to write, perform and do well within the music industry. Expand my own record label N² Records one day when the timing is right as well as learn more about film making & TV which is another interest of mine.
We’re really looking forward to seeing you in St Andrews on Sunday 28th… it’s Raisin Weekend here, so please don’t judge us if you see any crazy student antics going on!
Raisin Weekend looks like a lot of fun! I promise I won't judge, haha! Look forward to seeing you all at St Andrews this weekend!
To say thanks for bringing great live music to St Andrews, The Owl Eyes team would like to invite you to become an honorary member of one of our Academic Families – what do you say?
Absolutely, I'd love the opportunity to get a set of academic parents. If they could take me to the charity shops to find some cool clothes and maybe the odd music book that would be awesome! If they throw me a tea party as per tradition, I'd love some cranberry juice which tastes suspiciously of vodka in my cup of tea please :) Thanks for the invite! Nina x
Images provided by Nina Nesbitt's press team.