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Kate Nash

Kate Nash

Kate Nash

Show time: Sunday 9 July - 4.40pm - 5.15pm

Allow for a little rewind of the clock. Nash, a BRIT school graduate, first started writing pop music in these very streets aged 15. Those songs went on to inform her #1 record and Brit-Award gleaning debut ‘Made Of Bricks’, produced by Paul Epworth and led by the charge of hit single ‘Foundations’.

That was a very, very different time. In 2007, Nash was 20. MySpace was still influential. Lily Allen, Nash’s most famous champion, was the coolest girl in Britain. “There were things I achieved that I felt nothing about so I got quite depressed,” remembers Kate, with a calm perspective now at the age of 28. “I was living my dream but I didn’t feel happy. I sold out Hammersmith Apollo and my reaction was the same as it would be if I’d just eaten a slice of toast. I recognised that was wrong and I felt guilt, but I didn’t know what I was doing". As any 20-year-old would, she completely rebelled, changing tack on album two, acutely aware of the sexism behind the scenes of the industry. “I was very angry, bitter and insecure,” she recalls. Hiring Suede’s Bernard Butler, she made the Phil Spector-meets-Kathleen Hanna album ‘My Best Friend Is You’ (2010).

Being famous was something I was never attracted to. I ran away from it because I hated the way I thought about myself. It drove my OCD weirder". She needed to leave Britain, reconcile the angst and find that ray of sunshine again. Where better than in California where she’d initially travelled to in 2011 to make ‘Girl Talk’? pleasantly surprising circumstances led her to befriending and living with likeminded new creatives where she found herself hoodwinked by LA’s charms. 

In terms of finding her current sound though, that was going to take more time. Kate had already signed a publishing deal with Warner Chappell after – again somewhat karmically – a rep saw her Coachella set in 2014. ‘Girl Talk’ was a tough battle, released independently, with self-funded tours. It was worth it, especially following the clincher of a new lease of life via this deal, but it didn’t make it any more clear as to what Nash should do next. Recognising she needed to give herself some credit and a little TLC, she deflected from her own career and began working on sessions with some of the best upcoming songwriters, writing for other people (including Rita Ora who she penned 2015 single ‘Poison’ for). It was at a castle in the South of France where she’d been invited to write, eat cheese and drink wine for a few days, that she finally met a producer she realised she wanted to work with on her own stuff again. “I needed to find the right people for me to make pop with, people who could let me have my personality. It had been a while,” she explains.

Having spotted one new collaborator she then returned to LA, taking a clichéd leaf out of Jack Kerouac’s book or Cheryl Strayed in 'Wild', embarking upon road trips to Area 51, Big Sur and San Francisco for songwriting inspiration, furthering this epic road of re-discovery. For the first time since she was a teenager, Nash could write observational pop without any pressure. Nobody was waiting for her to deliver them, other than herself. During that process she unwittingly readied her mind for pop stardom once more. 

Speaking on her return from California to London, she explains “I came back from LA for my dad’s 60th, we had this barbecue, it was pouring with rain and everyone sat outside with their coats on. I love that about Britain". The resilience of London is her spirit animal, in a sense. "In Britain, in the summer you let go of the stuff on your shoulders and go, ‘Forget it, I’m gonna get on this banana boat, Go crazyyyyy!’”.

Kate also gave her thoughts on how the rules in the music industry have changed, stating "The rules have changed. It didn’t work to be a female pop star like me in the past because I confused people. Now it doesn’t matter. Kids who wear Nirvana t-shirts listen to Drake. I don’t need to fit into a box,” she smiles.

In terms of Nash's path, she's still ironing some of the big questions out but she's doing so while armed with all the materials and songs she needs. There'll be more music, there'll be more shows. "I'm not disappearing again," she says, patient, poised, happy to let fate make the next move.