Having been blown away by The Apple Tree EP back in May - remind yourself of our verdict here - we made it our mission to find out more about half Scottish, half Swedish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt and, with the release of her first single through Island Records next month in the form of 'Boy', now seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Ed Sheeran and Example may have their detractors, but they deserve a pat on the back for their role in Nina Nesbitt's rapid rise over the past year. Both artists were suitably impressed by her acoustic talents to invite her to tour with them; Example after he heard her take on his track 'Stay Awake' and Sheeran when he brought Nina on stage for a duet last September. Over 1m hits on her YouTube channel followed, as did radio support, a first headline tour and the not insignificant matter of signing to BMG Chrysalis & Universal Island Records.
TMF sat down with Nina ahead of a busy month, with both the release of 'Boy' and both a seven-date UK tour and a six-date Scotland tour, to find out more about someone we feel you'll start to hear a lot more of in the coming months.
What's your earliest musical memory?
I don't really have one, because I started doing music before I even can remember! My first performance memory would be the last year of primary school, singing 'Beautiful' by Christina Aguilera in front of my school. I enjoyed it so much, and that's why I started to want performing.
You want to describe your music to a stranger on the street, who do you compare yourself to?
A lot of people say 'the female Ed Sheeran but I think it's more kind of early Ellie Goulding days, when it was just her and a guitar. I've been influenced by lots of different artists, so I think that's made my sound what it is. I don't think there's one person that you compare it to but I guess Eva Cassidy, Joni Mitchell - female singer-songwriter-wise. Then I'm into rock music, like Nirvana and AC/DC and stuff. So some of the guitar stuff we try and make sound quite rock sounding, so it's got that kind of vibe through that. Then other recent artists I guess I like - Ben Howard, Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding and Lana Del Rey, I like her stuff. So yeah it's all just quite a mixture really.
You are going to live on a desert island for a year, which three albums do you take with you?
Adele, 21. For Emma (Forever Ago) by Bon Iver. I would actually be so depressed with those two albums! I'd probably just take Now whatever for a bit of party music.
Everyone has a defining music moment, one that lives on in the memory, what is yours?
The craziest thing I've done was I think my tenth gig, when things started getting exciting. One of the radio producers in Scotland had a free slot at a gig called Clyde 1 Live, a big radio event at the SECC Arena - its like 10,000 people. And I was really new to gigging. Although I'd been writing for a while, the licensing laws hadn't allowed me to go to venues. So I'd just started gigging and he was like, "I've got a slot, we love the music, do you want to come do it?". And I was kind of like "erm, yeah!" That was only last September, it was mental. I'll never forget that moment. I wouldn't say it was a defining moment but it's a moment I'll never forget.
What is the best gig you've ever been to and why?
Bon Iver, last Christmas. I always loved his music but no one has actually made me cry. I went to his concert and I was an absolute blubbering mess by the end! It was really embarrassing, but amazing. It was at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh so it was a really grand venue as well.
How was the recording process of your debut EP The Apple Tree? Any lessons learnt for the debut album?
With The Apple Tree we only had five days do it, so it was very in-and-out kind of thing, it wasn't a long process. It all kind of came together quite quickly but there are some tracks on it that I would have wanted to produce differently looking back. But I think the more you record, the more you learn what your sound is. But I loved recording that, and for the album I'm definitely taking a lot of time. It's one track a week at the moment, just trying to get it absolutely right because obviously that album's going to stay with me for the rest of my life and I don't want to regret anything on it. So I'm just making sure it's how I want it before I say it's done.
How would you sell your new single 'Boy' to us?
I'd say it's different to The Apple Tree. It's kind of just to get the music out there, I'm not looking for massive success. And I wanted to do something different so it's a really good single to be able to experiment on. I didn't have to think about structure so much, I just listened to what I liked, like the guitar stuff to make it a bit more rocky. So I did that, and it's done well so far with the video and stuff on YouTube, which is cool. Hopefully it's a sign of more to come!
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I have absolutely no idea. I don't really like to plan things too much, but preferably touring the world and maybe on my second or third album. Third album, hopefully!
If we were to look at your MP3 player, what is the most embarrassing track or album that we'd find?
I went through a faze of liking Cascada, I don't know if that's a bit embarrassing! There was a song called 'Another You' it was kind of an alternative track on the album. I used to sing that one at talent shows as well when I was younger.
What can we expect from your upcoming UK tour?
You can expect me with lots of instruments that you've not seen me play before. Which includes electric guitar, some drums and some pedal which makes my voice go funny, which is exciting. So yeah it's kind of different from what I've done before and I want to do something that no one else is doing at the moment. Hopefully it works and doesn't sound ridiculous! It's a bit different than the last one but I don't have a band yet, so it's just me at the moment.
What's next for Nina Nesbitt?
Next will be another single after Christmas, probably another tour and then the album which is very exciting. Some European dates as well before Christmas, and also supporting Rizzle Kicks on a few dates before Christmas which will be cool. They're funny guys.
Nina Nesbitt's tour starts on October 9th in Glasgow. 'Boy' is out on October 15th through Island Records. For more information, visit Nina's Twitter @ninanesbitt or her official website - www.ninanesbittmusic.com