As the London snow sets and the snowflakes decorate our window sills, the warmth of ‘Euphoria’, a new single by the up and coming singer/songwriter NINA is all we have to hold on to.
Making my way around Canary Wharf, longing for the rays of sunshine ‘Euphoria’ radiates, I knock on a door, and NINA welcomes me as she gets ready for her photoshoot. Dressed in all white, a tennis skirt with a baggy T-Shirt, hair braided in a slick-back ponytail, with Masego’s “Mystery Lady’ in the background, NINA gets into a character and slays every shot.
In the celebration of the release of ‘Euphoria’, we chat to NINA about how she got where she is today, her sound, and future plans.
Was music/singing/songwriting a big part of your childhood/growing up?
I think my creative side was definitely stimulated during my early childhood. My dad had a cool folk music band when he was my age, so when he had kids, he played his guitar often and we were always singing along, recording ourselves on cassette tapes, writing songs together. The lyrics are hilarious to read now! I have to say I was quite an abstract songwriter back then haha, but I am sure I found out about my passion for music already in that period. When I was a bit older, I joined a youth choir, which gave me a lot, especially vocal training-wise. I started to practice my voice properly and use it regularly. Since then, I have become more serious about singing and my musical career.
What were your musical influences starting out?
Oh, I was definitely influenced more by the commercial acts. I loved the easy-structured pop songs with catchy melodies sang by girl bands and other music icons such as Spice Girls, Britney Spears, or Beyoncé. Later on in my teenage years I sort of turned into a bit of a daydreamer, so from that time I have been totally hooked to ambient sounding electronica that have always taken my mind somewhere up in the clouds haha, especially music from my favourite artists like Moby or Massive Attack. For a long time I have also been a huge fan of indie music and thus I have been strongly influenced by names like Florence and the Machine or Tame Impala. The mixture of all these styles have definitely impacted me on a deep level and inspired me to produce music that sounds similar, since it resonated with me so much. Not only the styles shaped the idea of my future artist persona, they also taught me to always incorporate that emotional experience in music, both melodically and lyrically, as they do themselves.
How did you get started? Could you elaborate on your journey so far?
My songwriting, alongside the search for my sound, started at university. Five years ago I moved to London to study commercial music performance, where one of the first things I learnt was to produce in Logic (a music production software), so that is where I started to write songs and produce them. Playing with chord progressions, different music themes and sounds, either in piano studios or production rooms, I was observing how I like to express myself musically. After some time I found myself comfortable and most genuine with at writing indie pop music, accompanied mostly by live natural instruments such as piano, guitar or acoustic drums. From performing at school, I then started gigging around London, and also began releasing my own songs. So far, I have released six singles, and they were mainly produced in an indie singer-songwriter style, with a melancholically poetic twist/approach to it. This new one, will however sound different!
How would you describe your sound?
I believe the sound of every artist is changing continuously as they produce music, and I feel the same has been for me. As I just mentioned above, the process of me writing indie-pop acoustic music has shifted towards more electronic production. I am therefore currently creating tracks in electro-pop/dream-pop style, and my very first example of that will be the release of ‘Euphoria.’ However, I will never let go of that melancholy in my music, whether it is an electronic or an acoustic-indie sound, that is just inevitably a part of me and will stay there forever haha!
Have you received any piece of advice that you always stick to?
I feel that every upcoming artist should be always conscious about the fact that becoming a musician is a long process and it takes time. In fact, it is totally okay if it actually takes some time. I think the worst thing a creative can do is to put pressure on himself/herself in order to succeed in the shortest time possible. I feel it might not only ruin the spontaneous creative process, but also shatter the actual joy of doing it. Therefore the best piece of advice that I have ever received is to trust the perfect timing of the universe and appreciate the making of music itself, rather than stress about not immediately succeeding in the field.
What are your favourite past releases you’re particularly proud of?
Every release was quite special for me, since each one was slightly different and unique, as it is always lol! A lot of them were recorded during university times when I was collaborating with other students and musicians. However a release that will always stick to my heart is “Heartbeat” (haha). It is a single that was released a year ago, and the whole recording process was especially enjoyable. Since the song’s production consisted only of live instruments, working with all the musicians and engineers made it a truly lovely experience. The feeling of the final release was therefore very exciting, and every time I listen to it I just have to smile!
What was the inspiration behind writing your new single ‘Euphoria’? What did you want the lyrics to represent?
The synth hook in the single, which was actually created first, definitely made me feel that the song should be in connection with something pleasurable, delightful, something that makes everyone feel ecstatic and sentimental. Lyrics came to me very naturally. I was essentially inspired by all the joyful moments in life that we, as humans, enjoy. When the moments finish though, they make us feel nostalgic and somehow we are craving them back. Whether it is the “dancing in dirty Nikes until the morning light,” “having a cigarette with a summer wine alongside the setting sun” or “finding a new summer love” and experiencing everything for the first time again, the lyrics fundamentally represent a unique euphoric feeling that pulls us out of the everyday, and makes the life “worth living,” at least for a moment!
Could you take us through the music video shoot for ‘Euphoria’? Why did you decide you wanted to have your friends in the video?
During the process of songwriting, I had a clear vision in mind that perfectly described the concept of the song. That is why the other euphoric moments mentioned in the lyrics such as “short skirts and my hair untied,” “barefoot driving daddy’s car,” or “open road and music’s loud” made me put my girlfriends into a 90’s car and relive those feelings on camera. Friends are generally an essential part of many beautiful memories that we have, as we often tend to experience them with people around us, therefore I could not imagine not having the girls in the video. In the end, it’s always more fun to share the happiness of these kind of moments with others! Moreover, the freedom you feel when driving a convertible car is just one of a kind, and so you can see us euphorically laughing and enjoying ourselves in the video with the wind in our hair.
What are your plans for the future? Are you planning to work on more music? Which direction are you heading in?
Well, currently I have two other singles planned for release, one with my brother, and later a second one, which will be again accompanied by a music video, yay! I am very excited about all of this, especially so that I can share my new electronic sound with everyone! I am also very eager to create more and continue in this pace of releasing songs often, so once it hits the radios, haha!