There’s usually something truly special about the artists that manage to break out on a worldwide scale.
Of those select few artists, the beautiful country of Scotland seems to produce some of the best — with Annie Lennox, CHVRCHES, Calvin Harris, and KT Tunstall (to name a few) all hailing from the northernmost region of the UK. Now aiming to join this group of elite Scottish musicians is 23-year-old singer/songwriter Nina Nesbitt.
Now, that’s not to say that Nina is a new artist by any means. The young star has a debut album and eight EPs under her designer belt, but her latest pivot toward the mainstream may prove to be her most successful yet. We first caught wind of Nina Nesbitt late last year with the release of “The Best You Had” — the second single from her forthcoming sophomore album. The song has gone on to become Nina’s most-streamed track on Spotify with a shining 28 million spins, but our favorite Nesbitt track to-date followed a few months later — “Somebody Special.” The single is quickly gaining traction with 18 million Spotify streams and some of the singer’s catchiest hooks yet.
Nina recently embarked on her first headlining US tour following a few weeks on the road with Jake Bugg. She was originally set to open for Clean Bandit, but the group canceled their US tour so their drummer Luke Patterson could undergo foot surgery. We were truly bummed Clean Bandit canceled their tour, but could not contain our excitement when Nina’s headlining show at DC9 hit the calendar.
Admittedly, when we first arrived we weren’t sure what to expect. Crammed within the blood-red walls of DC9 were more pre-teens, teenagers, and parents than we would have ever expected, especially for DC9, but they showed up in hordes and in the end — completely made the show. Nina opened her first ever show in DC with a 7-year old deep-cut track called “Noserings and Shoestrings.” The crowd chimed in immediately during the opening lyrics and didn’t stop until the final notes. It was impressive, captivating, and Nina’s beautiful voice immediately sold us on the night unfolding before us. After playing a handful of her older tunes (which the crowd knew every word to), Nina proceeded to venture into her newer work, which effortlessly demonstrated the development of her sound.
Of the tracks played, we were most drawn to “Empire” and “Colder.” The latter is the singer’s upcoming single and a liberating midtempo track about taking charge and being a cold-hearted queen. While “Empire” is an anthemic, stadium-ready track about maintaining a positive outlook on life after experiencing failure. In her intoxicating accent, the singer joked the song was made to soundtrack athletes scoring goals. We believed it. After playing those two amazing tracks and with guitar in-hand, Nesbitt proceeded to play an amazing cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case Of You.” Just – wow.
Those in the US that missed Nina this time around shouldn’t worry – the singer promises to be back very soon. We’ll surely be among the firsts in the crowd when she does return. If you’re in the UK, rejoice, Nina Nesbitt is on tour through the end of August and tickets are available here.