INTERVIEW: Nina Nesbitt

In an attempt to simplify the creative process, Nina Nesbitt walked away from the spotlight after the release of her 2014 debut album ‘Peroxide’ and focused on songwriting and experimenting with different sounds. “There are so many pressures that come with being an artist, that I was unsure if I wanted to put myself through it again” the UK singer-songwriter candidly admits as she ponders on her decision to come back into the spotlight. Discovering that she didn’t really have a distinct “sound” that really represented her as an artist she started writing for other artists and playing with different genres until something felt right. “I wrote more electronic stuff that was cut by DJ’s, country music, alternative stuff for the likes of Jessie Ware right through to doing really cheesy Disney Channel inspired pop stuff. There was no limitations to where I could sonically go. But with my music I started to find that my sound began to head towards the lyrical pop sound and it felt so right”. 

That was the moment the concept for her sophomore record ‘The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change’ was born. Accidentally making the album from vulnerable songs she was writing at the time, she decided to put it out into the world and just see how it was received. There was no real pressure behind how it would be received and she treated the release as a unique form of therapy. Setting herself a humble goal of 3 million streams, the album has now surpassed 320 million streams globally, which assures her that people do connect to the honest direction she has headed towards. 

Discussing the heavy weight of vulnerability and the power of being open in a forum like the one she’s created, we dived a little deeper into the heaviness and therapeutic release it holds. Being aware of the sonical transition, she wanted to make sure the album found a solid 60/40 balance of tracks full of raw vulnerability as well as euphoric pop tracks that would help boost the energy of the live show. “I wrote a lot of the album tracks first like ‘Things I Say When You Sleep’, ‘Last December’, ‘Sacred’ and the title track ‘The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change’ first. They all came really naturally to me. But when I listened back to the record I wanted it to be really bold and have those fun pop moments as well where you wanna go out and dance which is a unique contrast to the other songs that will have you wanting to be inside and cry. So that’s when ‘Somebody Special’ and Loyal To Me’ were born”.

The power of music is that we all have our own stories and we all have our own experiences that we are desperately trying to find solace in. Through music we are able to find ways to say things that we didn’t know how to with words, we are able to relate to things that don’t make sense to anyone else and that is such a powerful trait to embody. 

It was the beginning of February and ‘The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change’ had just been released into the world. At the same time I was trying to come to peace with the end of relationship that I was struggling to say goodbye to. Even though there were toxic elements to who we were as a couple, I still deeply cared about him. But he had just started moving on with someone else and I had to find my inner peace so I could walk away with my head held high. There was a song on Nesbitt’s album called ‘The Best You Had’ which perfectly pieced together every thought I had wanted to say to him. I was upset and feeling super vulnerable that he was moving on but I knew deep down that I would be okay. All I wanted to know was that I was the best he had because I wanted to feel like all the pain was worth it and that even though we didn’t work out that I was still special to him. 

That following week we had agreed to catch up and as we sat in a park in the middle of the city I was struggling to find the words I wanted to say to him. I handed him my headphones and admitted that I couldn’t completely explain how I felt about him moving on so I played him Nesbitt’s song instead. As we laid there in silence listening to the song, he hit repeat five times and we didn’t say a word. It was a simple, beautiful and heartbreaking moment that was just real in every definition of the word. It’s the power of music that can emotionally fuel raw moments like that and turn something so sad into something so beautiful and memorable. I will always carry that bittersweet memory with me through that song and it’s moments like this that as an artist, Nesbitt should be proud to create and she is. “That’s the one song on the album that so many people are admitting to me that helped them through a break up or means a lot to them which is so special. I think what is so memorable about that song is that there are two distinctive sides. It has the omg I’m so heartbroken side but it also has an empowerment feel which is subtly like, hey, I’m okay without you’.

After admitting my own story of vulnerability, Nesbitt confessed that her most personal moment on the record would be the title track ‘The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change’. Finding a therapeutic release through the lyrics, she discovered that nothing is permanent and found the premise for the message she wanted to spread. “I used the album to get over a real rough time in my life. I feel like I can can now take that song with me through whatever is happening in my life. Whether it’s good or bad, I know that things are not permanent. So if it’s good, I will enjoy it. And if it’s not, then I know it will pass”.

The song ‘Sacred’ also has a very important place in her heart because it’s about wanting to find something real, something tangible. And whilst there are up and downs, by the end of the album she finds that hope. Surprisingly she wasn’t nervous about sharing that vulnerability with the world, instead she was more worried about the other personal tracks like ‘Chloe’ that addressed one of her best friends falling pregnant. “I was worried that some songs would be taken the wrong out of context but I’m glad they haven’t been. ‘Chloe’ is super positive but there is an underlining fear of no longer being children ourselves and feeling like I need to sort my shit out which I thought could’ve been misunderstood”.

Sitting backstage at her headlining Brisbane show at The Triffid, Nesbitt is calm and in good spirits but is visibly tired from all the travelling she’s done over the past week. This trip marks her first time in Australia and she admits that this is the furthest away from home she’s been which has been playing on her mind a bit. With back to back shows across the country, her and her crew powered through the trip and were ready to enjoy the last night of the tour with an intimate but energetic show. “These dates have been some of the smallest shows I’ve played but they’ve also been the most passionate. The Sydney crowd sang louder than some of the UK crowds and they were also singing every word which really shocked me. I cried on stage because I was taken aback by it all”. In between our chat her family were excitingly texting her because she had just come from Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary where she got to finally hold a Koala. “It’s a really big deal to me and my family that I’m here and one of my bucket list items was to hold a Koala so they are all so excited for me”. She grabs her bag and shows her professional photo with a massive grin on her face. With the way the shows are being received she is hoping to be back at the end of the year for some more shows and cuddles with Koalas during our summer which she’s also hoping will allow her to see more of the country than she has on this whirlwind venture. 

With the mood and tempo of the show swaying in between emotionally heavy and euphorically empowering, she had the small but passionate crowd singing along to every word. Standing in the moody blue lighting, Nesbitt performed a chilling version of ‘Is It Really Me Your Missing’ which showcased the vulnerability and raw power of her vocals. Her stage presence is super comfortable and confident as she grooves her way across the stage and interacts with the crowd who are ecstatically singing every word to the anthem ‘Somebody Special’ and it just feels so wholesome. Reflecting on her growth as an artist, she admits that she feels like she’s just matured and started questioning bigger questions than her love soaked debut. “I feel like you just do a lot of changing between your teenage years and your early twenties. You go from having fun and minor heartbreaks to being in your early twenties and questioning who the fuck am I? What am I doing with my life? Do I want to be this person forever? Fuck am I becoming an adult? And it’s sometimes really confronting and scary”. But she holds it all together and showcases her inner vulnerability in the most beautiful way possible which is a true credit to her artistry and personal resilience.

‘The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change’ is out now! 

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