MISSBISH Artist On Our Radar | Blending Genres and Pushing Pop with Nina Nesbitt

Author: Diandra Barsalou / Photos: Valine Brana
11.09 / MB Series

Scotland born Nina Nesbitt has had three top 40 singles, collaborated with artists from Ed Sheeran and Example to Jessie Ware, owns her own label, and has reached a maturity in her youth that comes from harnessing the creativity that can come from catalytic, life defining moments in our 20s. Her sound is a cross-genre pop blend that weaves inspiration from everything "except heavy metal." Nina has announced the release of her new album, “The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change” on February 1, 2019, and promises more obvious pop influences led by singles that have reached over 100 million streams, collectively.

No stranger to life on the road, (Nina has toured since her early career in 2012) the songstress has just returned to the U.K. after touring extensively in the U.S. , where she has become known for witty instagram captions and cool girl style, as well as her sound. Below, Nina gets personal on her new image and logo, pushing pop, and how to survive constant jet-setting.

Your sound is more than just "pop," it's beautiful and complex. What are some other genres that you are inspired by or draw from?
Why thank you! I love pop music, I love r&b for the melodies and rhythm, I love acoustic music for the guitar and piano playing, I love rap music for the storytelling, I think I’m inspired by almost every genre except heavy metal. I definitely stay true to where I’ve come from (pop and acoustic) but draw from these other genres in my writing.

What drew you to use imagery of the lotus flower as your logo?
The lotus represents beautiful things can still grow from dark places and I feel like this is a visual that sums up making the new album. I was in a pretty bad place, where the best way to describe how I felt was being trapped underwater and not being able to get out. Through perseverance, I finally managed to break through the surface again and get myself back together. I used to sit and do a lot of artwork when I was feeling down and was always drawn to water and flowers so it felt like a natural choice. I feel like the lotus is an underdog, who silently grows in the dark and one day just appears really strong above the water. It’s also just a really beautiful flower so it makes me happy to see it!

Tell us a little bit about the latest single, "Somebody Special."
"Somebody Special" is the turning point in the album where you realize what you’re worth again. It’s the happiest song on the album and definitely draws from pop, acoustic and r&b. I wrote it in Nashville and kinda just wrote it as a random pop song that turned personal and I ended up wanting to keep it. It’s definitely a feel good track.

Tell us about the evolution of your "look," oftentimes when artists go through a metamorphosis, it comes from a greater creative place. Did changing your look have anything to do with maturing as an artist and if so, how?
Yeah definitely, I feel like a lot of people have that coming of age haircut! Cutting my hair off was a really liberating feeling, I felt great for months after it. I wanted to mature as an artist and changing my look felt like a good way to match the music. I also couldn’t be bothered getting my roots done anymore, it took almost 4 hours every month.

How do you approach songwriting when it's for your own music versus writing with or for other musicians?
I have two different ways of writing. If I’m purposely writing for me I like writing alone at home with my lyric book and home studio. Then I’ll either finish the song there or I’ll take it in to a session with a handful of people I like to work with. If I’m writing for other people I love getting in a room with producers and other writers and just having fun with it. You go through a lot of bad songs to find that great one and then perhaps I’ll like it so much I’ll keep it for me or maybe I don’t feel connected to the lyrics and we’ll pitch it. You never know what is going to come out of a session!

You've been playing a lot more in North America - what are some tips and tricks you use while jet-setting so far from home in London?
I’m still getting used to it really, it’s my first time out here. It’s pretty impossible to stay healthy driving round in a car because the only food on offer is McDonald’s but I think once you’ve got your own bus it’s a lot easier. My favorite thing to do is actually get out and about and have a look around at the places I’m visiting. So many times you can go places for a gig and feel like you haven’t even seen them so I think it’s really important to try and take in the culture/try the food, etc.

What would your dream collaboration be?
I’d love to collaborate with Max Martin. I think he is a pop music genius and always really ahead of the game. I also love the collaborations that Calvin Harris does with artists.

What are you listening to right now?
I’m listening to a lot of 50s music and a quite a lot of country too. I love listening to completely different genres to me because I think you can take inspiration from them quite easily. A lot of pop music right now sounds similar so I’m trying to think a bit more outside the box to get new ideas going.

What does MISSBISH mean to you and who is your main bish?
I work with LOADS of females in my team which I love. My main bish would be my manager as she is one of the strongest women I know and doesn’t take shit from anyone. I also loved doing the first Spotify collaboration with two other upcoming female artists, Sasha Sloan and Charlotte Lawrence. I hadn’t written with many other female artists before so this was a new experience and was really cool as we were definitely all on the same page in terms of music style, etc.