Interview: Nina Nesbitt

 It’s been six years since Nina Nesbitt released her debut album Peroxide but her latest record is more than worth the wait. The past year has seen her release stunning singles such as ‘Loyal To Me’ and ‘The Best You Had’, and also collaborate with Sigala, Jonas Blue and Charlotte Lawrence.

Of what we’ve heard from The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change before its release on Friday (Feb 1), Nesbitt’s new releases intertwine the entrancing, heartfelt lyricism that first garnered her acclaim with a glistening, infectious pop sensibility.

Her latest single ‘Colder’ serves as a stunning example of her new-found sound, delving deeply into the bewildering and agonizing aftermath of a first-time break-up. While it stuns with slick vibrant production, Nina’s observant lyricism still takes centre-stage on tracks like ‘The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change’ and ‘The Moments I’m Missing’, which are both immediately relatable and beautiful.

Gigslutz were lucky enough to speak to Nina about the release of her forthcoming sophomore album, what draws her to a track, streaming and more.

After your first album, you wrote songs for other artists. How was the process of starting to conceptualise your follow-up record, The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change, and what you wanted to achieve with it?

I wrote most of it in my bedroom at first with songs like ‘Sacred’, ‘The Moments I’m Missing’ and ‘The Sun Will Come Up….’, so that was the general vibe of the album. When I’d finished half of it, I listened back and was like, “It’s alright, it’s just a bit sleepy”.

I feel like half of my fans love the more chilled-out lyrical thing, and then the other half like the upbeat pop track. And I do as well, to be honest. I thought it would be good to put a few more upbeat ones in there, which I do find a lot harder to write. At the same time, I was writing for other artists, and throughout that I was thinking, actually, I might just keep this song. It was good to try something new. ‘Loyal To Me’ is a little bit of a different sound, but the lyrical style still fits in with the album. I wanted it to have more diversity in terms of tempo.

You’ve been performing some of the album tracks like ‘The Best You Had’ and ‘Sacred’ for a few years now. How did you pick the ones that made it?

The album has the theme of personal growth through your early ‘20s. I wrote a lot of songs, and picked whatever felt the most personal with this. I get a feeling when I really like a song and just want to put it out. I got that feeling with every song on the album. There was maybe two that didn’t make it that I really liked, but this was only because of there already being another with the same concept. I tried to keep it interesting.

So far, you’ve released videos for four of the album’s tracks. Which one would you say is your favourite to film and conceptualise?

I would say the ‘Colder’ video, as it was shot at the same time as the album artwork and I had the idea for such a long time. I had been creating it in my bedroom, scrolling through Pinterest, and then to suddenly be filming this amazing video underwater? It was just so cool. That’s the first time I’ve really sat down and had the vision of what I want something to look like, and then brought it to life.

Streaming has massively changed the music industry while you’ve been an artist. How has that change been for you?

I’ve noticed massive changes. Around the time I put out ‘Moment’s I’m Missing’, I went to a Spotify master class, where loads of artists and managers get told about how streaming works. I had no idea before that, but afterwards when talking to them they told me: “Your Spotify page is like a dinner party”. The guy, Drew, explained you have to keep serving different beverages to keep people coming back to your dinner party.

You can never release enough, and if I’ve had a gap between singles I always try to put out a collaboration, or just something. The more songs you put out, the better. But, as long as you like them.

Your track ‘Psychopath’ with Charlotte Lawrence and Sasha Sloan is absolutely incredible. What was the process of crafting that track together?

Sasha and Charlotte both live in LA and I live in London, so we only had six hours to meet and write the song. I was so nervous, I was thinking, “Oh my god, this is such a big opportunity, what if it’s shit?”. We got into the room and were all basically the same in terms of music taste, so it was just very easy. They’re both really talented writers, as well as artists, so it just came out. We were like, “Ohh, we like this. This is good”. It was really fun, but definitely nerve-wracking.

Going back to the album, it follows such a deep, personal journey. How do you think you manage to incorporate such authentic emotion into pop?

Storytelling has always come naturally to me and that’s what I like to do as an artist. I had three years to write these songs and write this album, so a lot of them are from key events in my life where it just naturally came out. I think it was just picking the most personal songs out of hundreds of I’d wrote.

I was listening to a lot of everything from rap music to R’n’B to pop. Alanis Morrissette’s ‘Jagged Little Pill’ stands out. I love how although it has a catchy chorus, the lyrics are so personal and raw, but also uncomfortable.

There was a lot of J Cole too and his album For Your Eyes Only. It’s totally different to me, but he has a song called ‘She’s Mine, Pt. 2’ about him having a kid. I love that he’s not rapping about girls or money, but about something that’s relevant to him. I was like, “Ohh, I’m going to write a song about my friend having a baby”, and that’s how Chloe came about. It was just listening to loads of different styles of music but mostly music that was personal and true to the artist.

You’ve put up some amazing playlists on your Spotify profile. What do you feel generally draws you to a track?

Hearing someone’s story and getting to know them as an artist. People listen to different things when they listen to music so a lot of my friends will just listen to the melody and want something catchy, while my boyfriend listens to the technical parts of the guitar. It just dawned on me that everyone listens to different things and what I listen to is definitely the lyrics so, for me, it was looking for artists that are good at storytelling.

An album that I loved was Kehlani’s You Should Be Here. I loved how that was very poppy but still told her story and where she’s from, and that’s what I go for.

‘Is It Really Me You’re Missing?’ is definitely my favourite track. What was the songwriting process like for that track?

Thanks, that’s my favourite as well. I wrote it in Bournemouth with my main writing partner Sam Preston and this duo called Red Triangle. We started by playing chords, then the melody and lyrics came out immediately. It was inspired by Whitney Houston’s ‘Just The Lonely Talking Again’. If you listen to that song, you’ll probably hear where the inspiration comes from in terms of the lyrics. It’s about being in love with somebody that doesn’t love you back, but you’re too in love with them and are completely blind to it.

Nina Nesbitt’s second album, The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change, is out on Friday (Feb 1).

Words: Luke Pettican

Luke Pettican

Luke Pettican

Luke Pettican

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