Q&A: Nina Nesbitt Might Be The Britney Spears of our Generation

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Already off to an impressive start to 2018, which includes numerous sold-out tour dates and amassing upwards of 100 million streams to date, Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt is just getting started. Nesbitt’s vibrant voice is derived from her musical influences Britney Spears and Whitney Houston, and her rapid growth as an artist only further contributes to her confident classic pop style. Her flair for catchy pop and R&B blended with her own confessional songwriting has gathered fans such as Chloe Grace Moretz and Taylor Swift, who included ‘The Best You Had’ on her “Favorite Songs Playlist.”

Earlier this year, Nina Nesbitt partnered with Spotify for their Louder Together program to record the first ever collaborative Spotify Single Original called “Psychopath” with fellow Ones To Watch Sasha Sloan and Charlotte Lawrence

Fresh off her summer tour supporting Jesse McCartney, Nina released a brand new single, “Loyal To Me,” which was inspired by the “independent-women spirit of the 90s and is a self-help to dating.” She plans on releasing a full-length album in early 2019.

Ones to Watch recently chatted with Nina Nesbitt to chat about her musical journey, Spotify’s Louder Together program, post-tour plans, and more. Read more below and be sure to catch the rising songstress on her upcoming fall tour with MAX:

10/4, Neumos, Seattle, WA
10/5, Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver, BC
10/6, Hawthorne Theater, Portland, OR
10/9, Holy Diver, Sacramento, CA
10/10, Slim’s, San Francisco, CA
10/11, Voodoo Room @ House of Blues, San Diego, CA
10/12, The Observatory, Santa Ana, CA
10/13, El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
10/16, The Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix, AZ
10/17, Sunshine Theater, Albuquerque, NM
10/19, The Complex, Salt Lake City, UT
10/20, Bluebird Theater, Denver, CO
10/23, Scoot Inn, Austin, TX
10/24, Bronze Peacock @ House of Blues, Houston, TX
10/25, Cambridge Room @ House of Blues, Dallas, TX
10/26, Voodoo Lounge @ Harrah’s Kansas City, Kansas City, MO
10/27, Delmar Hall, St. Louis, MO

OTW: Let’s start from the very beginning. Why music? What made you realize music was path you wanted to pursue?

NN: It’s something I have loved doing ever since I was a kid. I was the only child–I had a lot of spare time by myself, and so my parents often times encouraged me to do something that I enjoy and that is creative. I did a lot of art, story writing, and music. Music was my favorite thing out of all the creative arts. Eventually, I put my stories into music and so I started songwriting. It’s something I never thought I could do as a career but I really enjoyed it. Suddenly, one day, I ended up doing it as a career I guess and earning a living from it, and it kind of just stuck.

OTW: How have you grown musically and personally since you’ve released your first EP “Live Take” in 2011?

NN: I’m from a little small village in Scotland, which is very far from the music industry and anything else, so the only opportunity I had was to buy an acoustic guitar and put my music out that way. There were no studios or really any other artists that I could work with. I really liked acoustic music and once I got signed, I moved to London. I feel like the move was key to my sound and style changing and just overall growing as a person. Coming from a small place to one of the biggest cities in the world is a culture shock. You have to grow up. You get to know a lot of different characters as people, and you figure out how things work a bit more. I think that’s what personally matured me. And musically, I had the chance to collaborate with so many amazing people like writers and other artists that have influenced my music. I have a studio set up as well where I produced “The Moment I’m Missing.” I wrote all of the new album there.

OTW: Which of your songs took the longest to write and why?

NN: “The Best You Had.” I had the lyrics, “It’s crazy that you’re moving on so fast but baby it’s okay if I am still the best you had,” in my notebook for a good six months. I was really pleased with that line but kept trying to get it into a song. It means a lot to me. Those lyrics have been in about five different songs that never came out. I kept persevering with it and one day, I was in the studio with my friend Jordan, who I write quite a lot with, and we played these chords, and the song literally wrote itself within twenty minutes. I’m glad I kept trying to better it because I wasn’t happy with it before. It was a nightmare to write but in the end, it was actually one of the easiest songs.

OTW: What has it been like supporting the Jesse McCartney tour?

NN: Great! So many different audiences from what I’m used to playing to. I wasn’t familiar with his music until before the tour.  All my friends absolutely love him, but I never had Nickelodeon as a kid so I never knew about him. He’s great. He knows how to work the stage. He’s so lovely.

OTW: Do you have any traditions you like to do pre-show/on tour?

NN: I try to stay healthy but in America, it’s impossible because you have so much space here. Like sometimes the drive is 10 hours some days and the only thing available is fast food, so I’m just enjoying being unhealthy. My tour ritual for this tour is to enjoy food and eat as much as I can.

OTW: Most memorable moment from your music career so far?

NN: There’s quite a lot of different memorable moments especially because I’ve been doing this for about six to seven years. I would have to say playing to ten thousand people at festivals – that’s something I’ll never forget. “The Best You Had” got over 30 million streams, which is a really crazy number to me. It was so unexpected. I signed an independent deal with a label, a very casual record deal, just to put out songs that I like, and then suddenly I had over 30 million streams, I’m on a billboard in Times Square with Spotify, and all these things just happened so fast which I’m so grateful for. I feel like a lot of times you only get one shot as an artist and so I feel blessed.

OTW: What’s a city you’d like to someday perform in?

NN: Tokyo. I’m obsessed with Japan and I’ve never been. I’ve been to Hong Kong. I’m really obsessed with Asian culture because it’s so different from British culture. I’ve heard from other artists that go there just have the most amazing time.

OTW: We love your recent release “The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change.” What does that song mean to you?

NN: That song was released because it was on a TV show, Life Sentence. That one is part of a collection of songs and represent a journey from start to finish. For example, “The Moments I’m Missing” is the intro track, and it’s about losing yourself and feeling lost. The middle point is “Somebody Special” because you feel like you’ve found your worth again and remember who you are. The last one is “Sun Will Come up, The Seasons Will Change,” and it sums up the whole album for me as a concept and represents the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m hoping people listen to it and take what they want from it. It’s also the message I keep with me in life. Nothing is permanent. Whatever you’re going through whether it’s really shit or really great, don’t take anything for granted. Don’t think your life will be like this forever. If you’re having a bad day, just remember things keep changing all the time.

OTW: What is the first thing you’re going to do once you return home post-tour?

NN: Give my dog a big hug. I’m also shooting a new music video the day I get back.

OTW: Wow! Can you tell us about that?

NN: Yes! I’m really excited for the video I’m shooting because I think it’s going to be something people won’t expect.

OTW: We can’t wait to see it. “Psychopath” was the first ever collaborative single from Spotify’s ‘Louder Together’ program. What was it like being a part of that with Sasha Sloan and Charlotte Lawrence?

NN: It was great! I’ve never actually collaborated with other female artists before and I think like for so long, we’ve been conditioned to think that other females are competition – don’t work with them, don’t support them. And it’s like come on, we can all have space here to put out music. I think Spotify has done given girls a platform, especially girls in pop. They put you on so many playlists to get your streams up, which means more people come to the gigs, and it really helps. This collaboration was really cool because I’m a big fan of both of them and Sasha is an amazing song writer and Charlotte is an amazing new artist. It’s cool to get in a room with like-minded females that also do pop and understand what we do on a daily basis.

OTW: Who are some of your Ones to Watch artists?

NN: So later this summer, I will be touring with Lewis Capaldi, who I think is amazing. He’s Scottish. He’s great. I think he’s going to do really well and everyone should check him out.

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