MY interview this weekend is with Nina Luna...
who has been telling me about her new song, Out of My Hands, and what it is all about. I ask what sort of music is important to her and whether the U.S. artist will come and play in the U.K. at some point – she highlights a few albums that mean a lot to her.
Luna talks about playing in small clubs when she studied in New York; when music came into her life and whether there is a standout memory from her career so far – she selects a great modern track to end the interview with.
Hi, Nina. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m doing well, thanks! It’s been a good week so far.
What is the weather like where you are? Do the conditions inspire songwriting at all?
It finally feels like spring! I haven’t written any new songs in the last few days but the warmth and sunshine certainly helps with inspiring me to get out of bed in the morning and tackle current creative projects. I’ve been waking up with a vague sense of excitement about the future.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a singer-songwriter who makes Pop music that sometimes leans towards folk or R&B or Electro - depending on my mood. I write, record; produce and mix all of my music myself.
What is your new single, Out of My Hands, about and what inspired it?
I wrote this song during a recent relationship when I wanted so badly for it to work out but I realized that whatever was going to happen would happen and I just had to go with it. It was both heartbreaking and freeing. I pictured standing out in big, flat open country and feeling this intense sense of surrender. On my Southwest tour last month, I was able to actually capture this vision with photos and film that I’m now using for the single artwork and footage for the single’s music video.
When did music come into your life? Which artists turned your head?
I feel as though music has always been at the forefront of my consciousness. I’ve loved music since I was very little. I knew all the words to all the songs in the Disney movies. Growing up, I was very inspired by powerful female vocalists like Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera…and I loved listening to top-40 radio.
How important was it playing small clubs in New York when you were at university?
It was a really good learning experience. It gave me a thicker skin. I played to a lot of mostly empty rooms. When I was younger I think part of me still thought that I might ‘get discovered’ just by performing - and it made me realize that in reality it was going to take a lot more work than that.
How do you think your music has changed and evolved since the earliest days?
When I first started making music in high-school, it was much more singer-songwriter acoustic, even slightly Americana. I was listening to artists like Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz, writing songs on acoustic guitar and that influenced the music I made. During my time at NYU, I was exposed to more R&B, Electronic and Hip-Hop, which inspired me to start writing on keyboard and incorporating elements of those genres into my new music. I’d say, right now, I’m at a point where I’m combining all of the above into my songwriting and production style - and it’s probably the most unique music I’ve made yet.
Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?
I remember the Monday after I’d released my first Nina Luna single, Blaze, I woke up early to a text from a friend saying “Check this out, your new song is on Spotify’s Weekly Buzz playlist and already has 10k plays!”. That was a great ‘I can’t believe this is happening’ feeling.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
If I can listen to an album all the way through and not get bored or skip a track, and also connect with it emotionally, then that’s pretty rare and special. I feel that way about Lorde’s Melodrama album. The subtleties of the songwriting and production and the way each part lead into the next and took you through this story was super inspiring to me. Beyoncé’s Lemonade album is another one where I could listen over and over and find new things in it to learn from or study. My third one is Florence + The Machine’s first album, Lungs. Florence created this other magical, haunting world with the imagery in her lyrics and her vocal delivery and I was totally hooked. The songs are Rock songs in a way but they come off as so much more than that.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Ooh, that’s a tough one. I think I’d either like to open for someone quite serious and legendary like Patti Smith or Bob Dylan…or else a really fun, current band like LANY or The 1975. As for my rider, I think I’d want my green room situation to be like a calming meditation spa space with candles and coconut water and stuff. Maybe some high-end tequila on hand as well.
What are your other plans regarding gigs/touring?
Nothing set in stone yet but look out for dates in L.A. and N.Y.C. later this summer.
Might you come to the U.K. to play at some point?
I would love to! I’ve been trying to figure out the right time and way to do it, but I’ll keep you updated (winks).
Is there any advice you’d give to upcoming artists?
Keep improving, keep working hard; keep aiming higher, don’t take any of it too seriously.
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Honestly, when I’m working on my own music as I have been recently, during the periods of time when I’m mainly recording and producing, I don’t listen to much new music. I kind of go into a hole for a bit and I feel rather out of touch with what’s new.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Being an independent artist, I’ve found you really have to manage your time properly. Over the past few months, I’ve been more intentional about giving myself time to not think about my work at all. To unwind, I usually go out for a walk, meditate or do yoga; cook and watch Netflix.
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).
when the party’s over by Billie Eilish. I know everyone, everywhere is already playing it but it’s just so good and it’s stuck in my head
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