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Nottingham Castle

Interview: Nina Smith

12 July 10 interview: Paul Klotschkow
photos: Charlotte Hueso

“The organiser of the event interrupted my set halfway through to ask if anyone had ordered a sausage cob“

With the kind of voice that can make grown men cry, Nina Smith is one of the latest talents to come out of Big Trev’s Community Recording Studios in St Anns. She fuses traditional songwriting with a hip-hop edge, collaborating with rappers and beatboxers to make something more interesting than the standard female singer-songwriter fare…

What’s your relationship with Nottingham?
More lovers than friends - it’s like I’m married to this city. I want a divorce from it but don’t fancy stumping up the money for the settlement.
How and why did you start making music?
I enjoyed singing from an early age, I wasn’t particularly that good at it; my dad used to say I sing out of my nose. But I wanted to be good at it and passed a demo onto a teacher at
school. He introduced me to CRS studios, where I met producer Nick Stez and music manager Big Trev.

Tell us about some of the people you have collaborated with…
Collaborations are the main thing I enjoy doing - it’s great practice. The first one I ever did was for C-Mone; I felt so lucky to be featured on her album as she’s so well respected. My latest feature is for ScorZayZee and his new album. It’s a secret though, so don’t tell anybody...

Is there anyone you would just love to work with?
Florence and the Machine. Even if I shook a tambourine in one of her songs, I would embrace it fully!

You’re playing the LeftLion stage at Splendour this year. Looking forward to it?
Of course. I’m going to look at it as a round-off gig, as I’m back in the studio now and I plan on touring and promoting, hopefully, on a larger scale next year. But this event will be
fantastic for experience and local exposure.

What can we expect from your set?
This particular set will be acoustic, with some old songs, some new ones and a cover thrown in there somewhere as well. If Motormouf is available I might call him in to bring the hip-hop to the pop.

Ever get nervous when playing live?
I do, so a vodka and coke is always close by to calm me down. If that doesn’t work I move to the whisky.

What do you enjoy about playing live?
Meeting new people, although its one of the hardest things to do for me at events because adrenaline and nerves turns me into a potato. I become lifeless and unsociable, it’s not until after the performance that I can relax and talk rubbish with strangers.

And what is the worst thing about playing live?
Sticky floors, tripping hazards, and stalkers.

What's been your most enjoyable gig so far?
Definitely at the Shaws bar for last year’s Hockley Hustle. So many people turned up it was crazy. I couldn’t even get through the audience to the stage. Overwhelming!

Have you had any nightmare performances?
Not so much a nightmare performance, but more of a funny one. It was at a community hall in Sherwood. The organiser of the event interrupted my set halfway through to ask the audience if anyone had ordered a sausage cob. It was so funny.

Tell us something that you have never told anyone before...
Me and my twin sister Katie ran away when we were little, but it was too cold so we went back home. Our parents didn’t even notice we had gone.

Nina Smith plays at Breakdown at the Rescue Rooms on Saturday 19 June and on the LeftLion stage at Splendour on Saturday 24 July

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