INTERVIEW: Nina Nesbitt

To put it simply, Nina Nesbitt’s sophomore record ‘The Sun Will Rise, The Seasons Will Change’ changed her life forever. Not only did it introduce the Scottish singer-songwriter to a whole new audience and allow her to tour the world, but it also allowed her to have a creative release from the darkness in her own personal life. Finding herself in a deep depressive state where she felt lost in the wake of a heartbreak, she intimately told her story which immediately connected with so many other lost souls and provided a healing reconciliation within herself.  

Ready to close that chapter and open a new page, she excitingly released the euphorically leaning single ‘Summer Fling’. Within the opening moments of the accompanying music video, the words “the sun came up, the seasons changed. And the flowers fell, a fire was lit. She saw the darkness as a gift (it only made her shine brighter). She learnt the heart was a dangerous thing, to give it all, yet gain nothing… Love can appear and in a blink, be gone. Like Autumn steals a summer song” are displayed, and this song truly captured that essence. Embracing the exciting feelings of something new beginning, she compliments that fresh new perspective with a light production saturated in 80’s pop synths. 

Continuing that bold exploration, the follow-up single ‘Life’s A Bitch (L.A.B)’ contrasts a pulsating beat with a very personal unravelling of emotions. Addressing her mental health and not feeling in control of how she feels, she’s created a song that you’ll want to simultaneously dance and cry to. And that’s what this new chapter is all about. It’s about seeing the beauty in the darkest moments, and to learn to embrace things that happen in the moment instead of falling down the rabbit hole of overthinking. 

I recently chatted to Nina Nesbitt about closing the chapter on ‘The Sun Will Rise, The Seasons Will Change’, stepping into the euphoric soundscape of ‘Summer Fling’, and then contrasting a breakdown with a foot the floor 80’s synth beat on new single ‘Life’s A Bitch (L.A.B)’. Check it out BELOW;

THOMAS BLEACH: This new chapter has begun for you with ‘Summer Fling’, and the music video opens with what seems like almost a goodbye to ‘The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change’ with a written monologue. Did segueing this new chapter in that intro feel therapeutic? 

NINA NESBITT: Yeah, definitely. ‘The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change’ was a long campaign for me as it was 3 years of touring and promoting. So many cool things came from it, and it really was a special album to me. So I wanted to close the chapter and send it off. I wanted the narrative to feel like an ongoing story, and that it was moving onto the next chapter.

TB: The line from that intro that really stood out to me was “She saw the darkness as a gift”, which I thought was beautiful. When you look back on that record with the emotions and stories behind it, does it feel like a big and needed learning curve even though how heavy some of the experiences may have been?

NN: At the time before writing it I was really depressed and lost. In my head I believed that I was going to feel like this forever. I was thinking “there’s no worse feeling like this. Why is my life like this?”. I had all these questions. Through being so miserable it actually pushed me to achieve what we achieved with ‘The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change’. It probably isn’t a great way of looking at achieving things. But I do see it as a gift now as without that I would’n’t have made the album, toured the world, and had all the experiences I’ve had. It would’ve been really easy to not make the album and keep writing for other people, which I would’ve loved to do to be honest, but that album was the best 3 years of my life. Sometimes you can’t figure out why things are so shit, but then it all makes sense a few years later. 

TB: The album is really emotional and heavy. Did you ever find it taxing performing those songs every night on stage? Did you have to try seperate those feelings and remind yourself that it was past Nina, and celebrate those triumphs? 

NN: Yeah! I think whenever you start performing songs that are really personal to you it can be challenging, but once you’ve done them a few times it becomes more of a show. I felt like I was in my own musical of my life *laughs*. It feels quite cathartic letting it all out. Seeing people adopt songs from you and seeing people crying in the audience or have them coming up to you after letting you know what that lyric meant to them, you realise it’s not really about you. It’s about the people coming to the show, and the people you’ve given the music to. But yeah, 

TB: Why did ‘Summer Fling’ thematically feel like the right place for you to start this new chapter following ‘The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change’? 

NN: I really didn’t know what song to put out first as I have so many, and they are all so different. But then I wrote ‘Summer Fling’ in  April on the first day of the sun in the UK. It just felt like a good first single as it’s full of positive vibes, and it felt like what everyone needed as we’ve had so many lockdowns here, and it’s been quite bleak. So I decided that we didn’t need another ballad right now. We will work up to that *laughs*. I wrote and produced it in my mums cat’s room. It was really niche *laughs*. 

TB: The music video is STUNNING, and sees you performing aerial hoop. How much training went into rehearsing that choreography for it? 

NN: I did 8 weeks of intensive training. We were in the third lockdown and restrictions had eased a bit, so I decided I needed to go do something as I was going to go insane. So aerial hoop was what I decided on. I used to be a gymnast when I was younger, so it came back quite quickly. Some moves were easier than others, like the splits took a long time *laughs*. I really loved doing it even though it requited a lot of training and bruises. 

TB: Segueing into the next single ‘Life’s A Bitch (L.A.B)’, you explore the turbulence of life and mental health over a bit of a foot to the floor 80’s pop beat. It’s a track that truly feels like therapy, so can you explain the creative process behind this track?

NN: I’ve been making a lot of the album in Sweden… well… I haven’t be able to get into the country, so I’ve been working on zoom with the production duo Jack & Coke who have worked on some of my favourite artists like Tove Lo and Astrid S. They sent me over this 80’s synth loop, and there was something about it that I really liked. I sat in front of my microphone and just sung loads of lyrics which ended up becoming the one note thing you hear in the verse. It was just a stream of consciousness. They all kinda just came out. It’s a song about saying “things are a little bit rough right now, but we are just going to keep moving”. I wanted the music to feel like it was moving too, to represent that ideology, so if it happens to me again I want to be reminded to keep going. I also wanted the song to feel upbeat and euphoric even if the lyrics were a bit darker. 

TB: It truly feels like the perfect dancing when you cry song which is going to be quite a euphoric and special moment in your future live shows. But personally, what is your go-to “let’s dance and cry at the same time” song? 

NN: Do you know what, I don’t really cry that often *laughs*. It’s really weird because I can feel the tears coming, and as they rise up my body and hit the bottom of my chin it just stops. It’s as if something goes “nope, we’re not going to go there”. So when I’m sad I listen to Destiny’s Child, and then I instantly feel like a bad bitch and I’m ready to take on whatever it is. 

TB: The music video visually represents the song’s ideology with you trying to run away from your problems with your inner demons following you and trying to hold on for dear life. With you playing both main roles, what was one of the funniest things that happened on set? 

NN: I did the shoot with my best friend Sophie as we weirdly have the same figure, so I asked her to be my body double. It was such a laugh on the day as I had to keep pretending to be a creep in the back of the car while she was being me and driving the car. She was like “I have to drive home now and all I’m going to do is think of you in the back of the car jumping out at me” *laughs*. 

Also I’ve never worn contacts before, so I was struggling getting them out of my eyes after the shoot and I was having these visions of being stuck with white eyes forever *laughs*. 

TB: Both the music videos for these two new singles are so visually charged and show two very different sides of you. I know you’re a huge Taylor Swift fan so I have to ask… are there any easter eggs hidden that reference the new record that fans should look out for? 

NN: Yeah, there are! Specifically with the ‘Summer Fling’ music video, there are a lot of easter eggs in that one. I don’t want to give anything away as such, but I have said that the music video was inspired by the Swedish Midsomer, so they can take from that as they will.

TB: Between ‘The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change’ and this new record, you also worked on a collaboration with NOTD called ’Cry Dancing’. Did writing and releasing that feel like a portal song into this new chapter? 

NN: I’ve always looked at my collaborations as seperate things, which is what I kinda like about it because when you’re doing an album campaign everything has to be apart of a theme. So it’s kinda nice to just break away and do something else. But I loved doing ‘Cry Dancing’ with NOTD. A lot of people have said that it sounds like the little sister to ‘Life’s A Bitch’, which I think there is definitely parallels there. 

TB: Now let’s talk about your innovative quarantine videos. Because ‘Best You Had’ is one of my favourite songs of yours, and who knew I needed Drew Barrymore’s scream in the song so badly? 

NN: *Laughs* who knew! I lost the plot a little bit in quarantine, and I did a lot of weird videos sampling random household things and Drew Barrymore’s scream. I guess it kept me occupied *laughs*.

TB: Was there a song you tried to do a video for that just didn’t work? 

NN: I did try do a cover of ‘WAP’ by Cardi B, and then I was like “No, this can never see the light of day. I’ve gone too far with it” *laughs*. Some things should not be touched, and ‘WAP’ is one of them. 

TB: I also need to see a full cover of you doing Christina Aguilera ‘Dirrty’. Please do that on the next tour!

NN: There have been a few people who have mentioned that one! Maybe I do need to look into it. I did ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears on the last tour, so maybe Christina can be my new cover. 

‘Life’s A Bitch (L.A.B) is out now!