Nadine Shah: Glasgow Music Walking Tours Guest Blog
Like the majority of her peers, Geordie indie diva Nadine Shah has keenly felt the lack of touring activity through the national lockdowns. But while she hasn’t been doing the job she was born for, she has experienced some key life events on the pandemic rollercoaster – not least leaving London, moving back home to Newcastle, caring for and then losing her mother to cancer, moving back down south to Ramsgate and getting married.
Having come through all of that, she now has her sights set on finally returning to gigging. Ahead of supporting Suede on their Coming Up tour in November, she will headline her own show at the Edinburgh International Festival – one of only two concerts where she will play her latest album, Kitchen Sink in its entirety.
We were chuffed to chat with this talented and entertaining musician, who is as down-to-earth offstage as she is charismatic onstage, as she regaled us with her thoughts…
On her current album, Kitchen Sink
I never talk about my work like this ever I promise you…but I was so proud of this album. It’s my favourite and there was just so much excitement about the album in my whole team and among my family and my friends, so it was just devastating that we couldn’t take it on the road. But not gigging has been a bit of a blessing to me the past year, because I’ve had time to be still and to grieve.
On moving back home
Financially it was pretty crippling. I don’t know if other musicians are the same as me but I financially live in the moment – I can spend this because I’ve got this gig coming up – and suddenly there was nothing in the diary and it was a really terrifying prospect. The obvious choice was to go back home and I got to spend time with my lovely mother.
On artistic lockdown
I felt a lack of purpose last year ’cos it’s what I do – not that it defines us, but it’s my job and I miss doing it. I’m just chomping at the bit to get out and play again. Independent venues have really suffered in the last year but those venues are vital for bands who are coming up. And they’re vital for me as a music fan to go and watch these exciting bands because it’s something that keeps me alive! The arts have really been so neglected, and a lot of us are very, very angry. But luckily we can put that anger into making music, so I’m expecting a few angry albums coming out sometime soon as well. But I’m mainly very, very excited.
On performing at the Edinburgh Festival
Edinburgh Festival is going to be a real treat, I’ve not been before ever. I’m going to play the album in full, possibly in running order, and there may be an encore of some of the hits at the end, some of the songs that we really enjoy playing live. This might be the last opportunity that we get to play this album in full because now I’ve got to make a new album.
On preparing to play live again
I have been pretty static during this past year. I’ve done a lot of sitting down. I was watching back a few of my past live performances and they are physically quite strenuous. I’m always dancing about, I’m always running about and I tend to give it every fibre of my being onstage, so I’m going to have to get on a treadmill or something in preparation to be able to do a whole show.
On what to expect from her show
I think it’s going to be super emotional, a lot of this album especially – there’s two songs about my mother on the album which will probably be a really emotional thing to perform live so I’ll just try to control that. I think the excitement over-rides that. There are serious subjects tackled but I always feel I have to add a bit of light in between the songs and I will talk a lot and I will be jovial – not to distract from what the songs are about but I don’t want it to be too dour for everyone who is there. And I want to talk to people because I don’t want anyone to leave a gig feeling downtrodden, I want you to leave feeling hopeful.
Nadine Shah plays Edinburgh Park on 18 Aug