In Conversation with Nina Nesbitt

Parting ways with a major label recording contract after a first album and going it alone is an often-undiscussed, very real element of the music industry. Fortunately for some of our HISKIND favs, it worked out quite well (with Clare Maguire’s impeccable second record being the prime example here).

Once the long-awaited sophomore album appears, we’re pretty sure we’ll be able to say exactly the same for Nina Nesbitt. The acoustic artist has been turning her sights to full-throttle pop with each release since 2013’s debut record Peroxide, culmunating in a handful of painfully underrated gems (the wondrous Chewing Gum) that have secured Nesbitt as someone worthy of keeping on your radar.

Back with new single The Moments I’m Missing, a collaboration with rapper Goody Grace, Nina explains the meaning behind her new music, the transition period between albums and how badly she wants you to take her to G-A-Y.

How’s life, Nina?

Great, yes! Thank you! We’ve just played our second-ever gig of the new music so it’s been a little nerve-wracking but I’m loving it.

On first listen, there’s an immediate difference from the singer-songwriter style of your first record to the matured, indie-pop we’re hearing from you now. Was this a conscious effort?

I’ve had a lot of time to experiment with music, given I was only 17 when I started out doing the folk-ier music. That turned to going down the pop route and now I have this happy medium of being in the middle so I feel like I’ve definitely found the right thing for me. I love pop music and I love singer-songwriter music so I had to find the best way to merge the two together in the best way possible.

What can you tell us about your new single?

It’s called The Moments I’m Missing, it’s out right now and it’s the first track from my second album. It’s really about looking at our generation’s urge to looking forward all the time and about how achieving something only leads to question how we could have done it better. It’s a constant process of ‘what’s the next thing to do?’ I guess the track is a look back on life and understanding everything you’ve done and achieved.

Is this something you find yourself doing a lot?

Yeah, totally. I’d be playing these mental festivals and amazing gigs which I had always dreamed of playing yet I was never really overwhelmed by any of it. A bit, ‘oh it’s only a gig, that’s all’ kinda feeling. Obviously, it’s been three years since my first record so now I’ve had time to think about it all and understand how lucky I am to have been able to play those shows and be in the position that I am. It’s good to have those reflective moments every now and then.

How have you found the process of making album number two? We often hear claims that the second record is more of a creative awakening, or coming into bloom as an artist…

Oh, definitely. I was 17 at the time of writing that record and then 19 when it was released which I feel is the time in your life where you’re meant to be getting fucked up, going to uni or discovering who you are as a person so I do think you can hear that on the record in how the album sounds all over the place. There are some tracks that I genuinely love but a lot just feels confused to me, as if I didn’t really know who I was. Now I’ve had a lot of time to work out who I am and, through that, be as honest as I possibly can when making music.

Do you ever wonder if a music career at that age took away pinnacle teenage experiences like University?

I’m not sure… I don’t think so, only because I had a load of friends who went so I would still get to experience that lifestyle. I am very grateful for the opportunity I got with the first album and I did genuinely love making it but I just feel like it wasn’t ‘bang-on’ as such.

How have you found your fanbase have reacted to the transition of sound?

I’ve always said that, with each release, I’d like it to be as if the listeners are discovering a totally different artist. I think it’s just so boring if artists churn out the same thing over and over. I’m so happy for those that stuck with me and grateful for all the new listeners that have been introduced to my music.

And, of course, there’s a substantial number of young LGBTQ+ fans who’ve been supporting you from right back at the start of your career…

Oh my gosh, totally. Definitely. I actually went to Heaven to see Charli XCX and decided that I must play that venue at some point, it’s so much fun! That’s my dream [laughs].

I think the most important message I can give to my LGBTQ+ followers is to be true to yourself and who you are. I’ve had messages from fans about being scared to come out to their parents and asking for advice to which I usually respond explaining how life is too short to hide anything. This is who I am, take it or leave it. Nine times out of ten, I get a response back saying how happy it’s made them feel and how happy they feel about themselves. Continue to be yourself, no matter what.

The Moments I’m Missing is out now.

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