I have been speaking with Nina Smith…
about her new single, Run Out, and how it came together. The Nottingham artist discusses the scene there and recommends some artists to check out; if, given the chance, the artist she'd like to support – I ask if any more material will be coming and what we might expect going forward.
Smith talks about the music she grew up around; what advice she would give artists coming through; if she finds time to unwind; gaining success on the iTunes chart – she tells me what she wants to achieve before the end of this year.
Hi, Nina. How are you? How has your week been?
Ya know what; this week has been great. I’ve just come back from the beach on my first trip to Wales. I feel refreshed.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a singer-songwriter from Nottingham. I’ve been writing and recording for about eight years but properly working full-time at it for the last five years.
This new music is taken from my debut album (due to be released later this autumn).
Run Out is your new single. Can you recall when it came together and what inspired it?
The song itself discusses my personal relationship breakdowns with family or friends; with certain individuals I’ve spent a lot of time with trying to help and fix. But, I’ve found that it wasn’t returned when I’m in trouble - and that’s where the notion comes from of ‘running out’ of my life at bad moments.
You signed a production deal with Yoad Nevo. How important was that moment? Did that change your career in a lot of different ways?
It complexity changed my career, yes. I’ve written three albums with Yoad; two of which were for other artists. The first commission I got through Yoad was writing for Ukrainian Popstar Tina Karol. She’s a multi-platinum and extremely talented artist who I have a lot of respect for. So, to be working with that calibre of artist provided me with all the confidence tools I needed for my own record.
Your latest E.P. has reached number-four in the iTunes RnB Chart. How did that make you feel hearing the news?!
I think I was actually on stage at the time playing a show for iluvlive in London when I heard the news. It was quite surreal to be honest as It already knocked me back finding out it reached the top-twenty. I still think it’s crazy when I think about it.
Nottingham is where you are based. Is there a pretty active and varied music scene up there right now?
It’s a vibe! There’s plenty of Notts. expats to talk about; the obvious being Jake Bugg and Sleaford Mods. But, I’ve always been fans of Ady Suleiman, Rob Green; Joel Baker, Georgie; Ronika and Liam Bailey. There’s actually so many more I could mention.
Do you recall the artists you grew up listening to? Which musicians inspired you to write your own stuff?
I remember, one Christmas in the ‘90s, begging my mum and dad for a C.D. player. We had a cassette player, but all of the cassettes were old and didn’t interest me. When I finally got one, I bought a NOW That’s What I Call Music! C.D. and fell madly in love with two songs on there. One was George Michael’s Jesus to a Child and 2pac’s California Love. I would listen to the songs over and over again in my room, much to the annoyance of my parents.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I release my debut album, White Feather, in autumn (2018). It’s an album that has taken me three years to record and is ten years in the making. Everything I do will be centred in trying to get this new music heard. I hope to play a few more special gigs and share this music to my fans.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
For me, this year has a few key moments. But, just last month, I played Splendour Festival which is a local. It was pretty incredible. It’s a 25,000-capacity festival, so the main stage was overwhelming when looking out to at least 10,000 faces. Me and the band made sure we made the most of the experience and just had so much fun.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I think Anderson .Paak. I’ve hung out with him and his band a few times and they have the most amount of fun. They are so, so talented but then have such crazy times after the shows. He’s one cool dude!
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I’d say that it’s all about the songs. Anyone can wear a sh*t-load of make-up, put on a bangin’ outfit and sing a song that’s manufactured to fit the times…but, writing a good, timeless song (successful or not) that people can relate to and feel the emotion from is a gift that is unreplaceable.
IN THIS PHOTO: Betsey Bircumshaw
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Well…funny you ask. I’ve just launched a youth record label actually called First Light. There are six amazingly talented artists I’ve signed. Check out www.firstlightlabel.com.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I don’t ‘give’ myself enough time off. I think that’s part of my problem. But, I’m slowly learning to have days off away from my laptop. So far, I’ve had a four-day break (last week) and I feel like a new woman.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Ya know what; an artist I love at the minute is Jordan Rakai - Nerve
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