Hi Nina Nesbitt, we’re really loving your latest album ‘The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change’. How did you approach the writing process this time around?
It was actually a really easy album to make in the end. A large amount of it was written in my bedroom and was just so easy to write, which I think is a good thing. I just wanted to make an album which I loved and which I felt summed up me and my sound. So I’m really excited to just get it out; I think it’s an in introduction to me as an artist. I know I had an album out 5 years ago, but I wrote most of that when I was 17-18 and I didn’t really know what my sound was. I’m really proud that I think you can hear that, however I’d say this one really does have a solid sound to it. It’s also my debut international album, so I’m hoping to tour all over the world.
How would you explain the album in three words?
Lyrical, atmospheric, and empowering!
Was there an overall message or theme you were aiming to communicate?
I’d say in general the album is about personal growth; it’s a journey from start to finish. It’s about being in quite a horrible place – quite sad – then working out who you are and what you want to do again. By the end of it, you’ve figured it out. The last song is called ‘The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change’, which is the album title. It sums up the whole album and is saying that whatever you’re going through: it’s going to change, even if it’s really bad or really good, nothing stays the same. It’s a reassuring battle. I wanted to name it after something which was positive and should hopefully provide people with some comfort.
I love the ’Loyal to me’ music video; the dancing, attitude, and colour schemes are all amazing. Tell us a bit about how the idea came about for it.
I have another one actually which was filmed under water – that was very hard! For the ‘Loyal To Me’ video we wanted to do something which was out of my comfort zone. I worked with a woman called Debbie Scanlon who’s an amazing director, and we decided that after the ‘Somebody Special’ video I wanted to push myself to try something new for each video. You get this budget and I don’t want to just sing into a camera, I want to use this budget to do something fun. I did gymnastics when I was about 10; obviously I can’t do it anymore, and she thought it would be funny to do something from my childhood. I’ve actually loved ballet but never done it. Part of my gymnastics training involved ballet, so I just went and bought some point shoes which was a bad decision, because they’re very sore. I’ve never danced before obviously, but it was a lot of fun.
How are you finding being signed with an indie label? You’ve been signed to major record labels before, so do you find you’re enjoying things a lot more now?
It’s kind of a dream come true for an artist like me who’s very DIY. I plan everything from the songs, to the visuals, to how I release it, so to work with a label which can cooperate with me to help distribute and market it is absolutely perfect. I think it depends on what kind of artist you are, but if you’re an artist who has a very strong idea and already has a fan base, which I am really lucky to have, then I think it makes sense. There’s just no point being on a major label and signing your life away.
Songs such as ‘The moments I’m missing’ and ‘Somebody special’ seem to show a shift towards the more personal writing style. Do you think this came naturally after your change to becoming signed with the indie label?
I wrote quite a lot of the songs before I signed, I wrote a lot of them in my bedroom for fun really. I think that’s when they come out best, when you’re writing songs which you love and you don’t have to think about getting on the radio. There’s a lot of pressure when that campaign starts going to find that song which is going to work on the radio and work live. Being unsigned at the time and no one really waiting for an album, or asking me where it is, was really nice and a really creative environment to be in at the time.
Do you feel pressure to evolve your sound to keep up to date with the latest trends and genres?
I love pop music, so I definitely keep up with current sounds and what I hear on the radio or Spotify. So obviously my sound’s going to reflect that, but I think that you can still keep your integrity and your own sound within that. I think the album has definitely got its own sound; I think I’ve got my own lyrical style as well – I like to have a mixture. I don’t want to sound totally uncool and random; I’m a big lover of mainstream music and I definitely draw on that.
What should we expect from you next?
I’m doing lots of touring. Then I will be releasing some songs off the album as collaborations, and then we’ll wait and see where life takes me…
What advice would you give to students looking to break into the music industry?
I would say that it’s very, very hard at the moment for singer/songwriters because there are so many people trying to do it now, it’s so accessible. Whereas when I started there was only like 4 or 5, now there’s probably like 400. It’s very, very hard to break through, so you need to find something unique about you and build your following online – which is obviously really important nowadays. Think about more than just a song, think about how you’re going to brand yourself, what kind of artist you want to be, and what kind of playlist you want to be on. For the music industry you just need to be prepared to do a lot of work for free in the beginning. A lot of work you do in general is for free, so you’ve absolutely got to love what you do and be prepared to go the extra mile, and one day hopefully it will all pay off.
Nina Nesbitt interview by Lucy Rix