Gavin Duffy
11:16 12th June 2007

Kate Nash

Gigwise would just like you to think for the moment back to when you were 19 or maybe you’re 19 now, if you are take a step back and look at your situation. How many of you were touring the UK singing your own songs, working on your own self penned album with producer de jour Paul Epworth, have the world as your oyster, an oyster about to be picked up, sucked out and worn as a beautiful piece of jewellery? The answer to this question should be and probably is no - well as long as you’re not Kate Nash.

Kate Nash is 19 but don’t let that fool you. She is a multi-instrumentalist (keyboards, guitars, even the bodhran) whom writes all her own material, “I write all my own songs, I don’t co-write with anybody”. Her first album is primed and almost ready for the baying hordes, “We are nearly finished so after the festivals we have about a week of recording and mixing to do”. She is on the cusp of something big and beautiful, her journey to here is not just complete luck or some form of gross nepotism but she knows she is still young, “I apply myself to everything but I haven’t been slogging away for 3 years or 4 years, which I know a lot of people do”. She is laying the foundations for a very successful future and everything to this point has been a building block in her young career.

Kate Nash - FoundationsHow she really set herself on the path to here probably really starts with her upbringing, “I was always surrounded by music”. She was born in Dublin and even played bodhran at a young age. She moved to London and her musical education continued learning to play the piano. Her parents have also played a major part in her diverse musical tastes, “My mum and dad just listened to lots of good music in the house and in the car. Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Carole King, a lot of folk, Van Morrison, like Buddy Holly and Elvis, Johnny Cash, so loads of really good old artists and stuff”. These influences go some way to explaining the quite skewed range of sounds to be found in Kate Nash’s music. Growing up the influences became broader and branched more into youth orientated sounds, “When I was growing up, a teenager, I was into more like kind of pop and R ‘n’ B, garage stuff”. Though music has always played a role throughout her life, her talent was almost wrenched away by another lesser art form. 

 â€œI was auditioning for drama school, I really wanted to do that” - luckily for all music lovers, faith intervened and gently pushed her back to the direction of musical immortality (possibly), “I got a rejection letter in the morning from the Bristol Old Vic and then I fell down the stairs in the evening and broke my foot”. The accident allowed her to sit back and in her own infectious London drawl, “It made me less manic”.  She decided she wanted to make a go of becoming a musical artist, “I was like right, I really want to be creative and I want to be on stage performing”. Once she had made the decision, she began the short slog to get where she wanted and needed to be.

While Kate is very young, she has worked hard to get where she is, “I’ve worked really hard and I do work hard at everything I do”. She began trying to get gigs anywhere, even taking a job to fund her dreams, “I got a job in River Island and I was really rubbish”. Once she was able to get some gigs, the rock n roll attitude came bubbling out, “so as I got my first gig, I was like, fuck that I’m not working, ever again”. Once she got her first gig out of the way, she proceeded to blitz everything in sight, “I handed flyers out and brought demos out. I went to open mics”.

Nash produced her own demos, posting them on myspace and managing to get some studio time with an engineer. She began to get a lot of recognition from her demos, “I mean I have people in America and in countries I’ve never been to writing to me and saying I feel it”. Lily Allen was also a very vocal supporter in the early days; putting Kate on her list of must hear music on myspace. It really says something when Lily Allen stops starting fights with the entire world to encourage people to listen to your music. A fact greatly appreciated by Kate, “It’s been a massive help. It put the spotlight on me and she supported me and I think that’s nice”. Ms. Nash was beginning to metamorphosis into a true all round musician as her live shows were also starting to gain recognition.

Kate Nash â€œI just want to communicate my songs to people so I look them in the eye and I explain the story. It’s quite theatrical”. The almost spoken word delivery of her lyrics and her multiple use of instruments make live shows relative unplanned explosions of insanity. She regales the audience with her self-penned ramblings of London, her friends and whatever may have inspired her at any moment of writing her music. This unique style sets her apart from a lot of her peers. Her background in acting gave her a perfect grounding to play live and perform her tales, “I think I’ve always been into naturalistic stuff, about exploring human and being real and I think just about communication with an audience, no matter what kind of performance you are doing”.

Her unique style of song writing, dripping with humour, taking you places and a diverse range of musical styles made Kate Nash a media darling; the press salivated and quickly scurried to find superlatives to bracket Kate with. The press attention can be a problem; “I’ve had loads of paranoia about the album and loads of paranoia about everything. I always want to prove I’m in control and working”. Some unwanted media attention appeared in the form of the famous anonymous rap posted on myspace, LDN Is A Victim, criticising oh so hip London (Nash, Lily Allen and Jack Penate to name a few) plus its more prominent people. This Londoner thinks it wasn’t really anything, “Really it wasn’t really meant to be hurt anyone” but she does think people need to be careful, “I think with stuff like that you have to be careful when you write something like that. Because it can create, it can spur on a lot of things.”

Kate has an old head on young shoulders and a pragmatic attitude to all the press though, “I just have to concentrate on what I think is important. What I think is good or what I think is interesting about music and writing. And then do that and communicate with the people I’m connecting with at the moment and forget about the rest of it”. This old head also becomes apparent when you delve behind her impish features and her sweet voice to find a steely determination and a desire to be respected; “I don’t put myself in the bracket, like a lot of pop singers out there, like a lot of female artists that are literally just singers”. She has a talent and my god, she is not afraid to use it, “I’ve written and that is how it is, I want people to know that”. Yet she never loses sight of how lucky she is, “But I think I just kind of have to relax because I’ve got to enjoy it while it’s happening”.

So that is how we got here, right up till today. Talking to her is a pleasure, she is so far unsullied by the media attention and extreme exposure to the music business. She will meaningfully search for answers to questions and when she agrees with a point she will excitedly reply, when asked about cake, a subject she loves, she will longingly tell Gigwise about a wonderful cake she had eaten recently, “I recently had a really delicious one. It was coconut and banana cake, covered in melted dark chocolate”. Food has never seemed more delicious. 

As for the future, musically all the pieces are about to fall into place. Her final single before her album is ready to go, the beautifully honest, funny and cracked love story, “Foundations” will be released the weekend she will rightfully be embraced by the Glastonbury audience. It is a fabulous taster for the upcoming album. Slower than her previous release, The Streets flavoured, Caroline Is a Victim”, it is another voyage into the beautiful world of Kate Nash. The album is out in September, “I’m really excited, it’s going to be really good, I’m going to be able to finish this album and be happy with it”.

Such are her talents, the hipster indie producer Paul Epworth is on board for the album. Something that proved a learning experience for all involved, “It’s great, I’ve learned a lot from him and he has learned a lot from me”. As for the album, it promises to be a gem considering the people involved, Kate’s almost schizophrenic musical tastes and storybook song writing coupled with Paul Epworth’s enviable back catalogue of production perfection. A match made is some kind of hip musical afterlife. After the album release things are not going to slow down, “I get to travel with it and I think it should be amazing. It will be like a whole new challenge, it’ll be like starting it from scratch again”

During the summer, this Irish born Londoner will lay siege to the festivals. O2, Glasto, Oxegen and T in the Park will bear witness to her talents, something which is slightly exciting her, “Yeah, yeah, I can’t wait. It’s all really kicking off really soon”. After that is anyone’s guess, but she has set herself up to become anything she wants, she has laid the foundations for a very successful career and it couldn’t happen to a nicer person.