Kate Nash has a knack for churning out ear worms about life’s easiest moments. However the British pop star’s twisty profession these final 15 years has been something however uncomplicated. In 2007, her debut album Made from Bricks topped the charts and hit track “Foundations” turned the de facto selection for MySpace profile songs. When Nash’s second album failed to achieve the identical industrial success three years later, she was unceremoniously dropped by her label. All of a sudden, Nash discovered herself alone, bankrupt, and deserted by a neighborhood that had as soon as put her on a pedestal.
However Nash is just not one to ask, why me? “You may get again up after they’ve kicked you down,” she tells me now. “Simply be good to individuals, and also you’ll all the time have mates that enable you when shit will get onerous.” She agreed to take part in a documentary about her expertise, landed gigs at Coachella and Lollapalooza, and finally secured a job in Netflix’s hit feminine wrestling dramedy Glow. As she continued to forge her personal future—one outdoors the confines of what she calls a “scary and alienating” music trade—Nash was secretly writing about rejection, resilience, and, in the end, studying to like your self once more.
Fifteen years later, these deeply private songs make up the rating for Solely Gold, an off-Broadway fairytale musical about forbidden romance. The music and lyrics are all by Nash, who additionally stars within the present; story and ebook are by Andy Blankenbuehler (Within the Heights, Hamilton, Bandstand) and Ted Malawer (Every part Stunning Occurs at Evening). “I’m so honored to have such gifted individuals working with my music,” Nash says. “I really like collaboration.”
Beneath, the singer-songwriter opens up about transitioning from pop to musicals, navigating new inventive fields, and why she believes it’s all the time “okay to make errors.”
Solely Gold is enjoyable and kooky, the last word antidote for the previous couple of years. When did you first give you the concept?
Andy [Blankenbuehler] approached me 12 years in the past and informed me he needed to make a musical with my music. I had no thought what that basically meant, however we talked about his thought over dinner. We linked instantly. Through the years, the story has modified a lot however its core message is similar. I began assembly him each time I used to be in New York Metropolis for reveals, and finally began making journeys for the musical particularly. I’ve realized a lot as a songwriter. I actually get pleasure from writing for characters and for a narrative, as a result of it simply retains every part recent. There’s extra to attract from. By way of unique imaginative and prescient, I had no thought what to anticipate, however the prologue all the time felt like what our present was actually about: a narrative about coronary heart. We’ve got tried to place that on the forefront of the present. We all the time stated we by no means needed the relationships to really feel tied up neatly in a bow, however to really feel difficult and messy, very similar to actual life.
How does engaged on a musical differ from writing an album?
The perfect half has been assembly so many implausible individuals and artists. I’m continuously impressed and laughing at work. I feel engaged on a musical is the last word inventive collaboration. So many parts must fall into place to make magic occur. I by no means labored with dancers till Solely Gold, and I’m now sure that musicians and dancers ought to all the time be mates. The way in which dancers give life to music actually touches me. It’s so inspiring. I’m blown away every single day by everybody in our present.
Has it been a steep studying curve?
The toughest half was managing outdoors stress and stress, discovering stillness and breath, and specializing in what’s essential. Coming again to the essence of the story is crucial factor. It was extraordinarily onerous being away from my canines for therefore lengthy and adjusting to life in New York. Working six days every week with rehearsals throughout tech and previews was most likely essentially the most difficult time. You learn the way a lot you possibly can push your physique and in addition when you possibly can’t.
What’s been your greatest takeaway since getting into this new inventive area?
I realized that it’s nonetheless doable to fall into previous habits even when you’re 35. Self-confidence takes fixed administration and new experiences will all the time shake that up. I realized that I can tackle new challenges and that I’ve my very own course of. It’s essential I belief that and belief myself.
What different musicals encourage you?
Musical theatre was by no means actually my world, however I’ve made an effort to see musicals over time to know the world I’m working in. I feel the very fact I’m an outsider is a energy in our present. Cabaret is my favourite musical, it’s such an iconic present, I noticed Emma Stone and Alan Cumming in a model a number of years in the past and cherished it.
Solely Gold options a mixture of new music and hits from previous information. How did you resolve which songs to incorporate?
It’s thrilling to see your music given new life. For instance, some individuals will hear songs like “Nicest Factor” or “Mouthwash” for the primary time after they see Solely Gold, as an alternative of figuring out it’s true origin. I feel it’s so cool when stuff like that occurs. It provides the music an entire totally different life. I really like what has been performed with “Mouthwash” within the present. It’s very surreal to look at. Andy selected songs he needed to choreograph to. I might ship him music and he had playlists of previous songs. Typically we would have liked to inform a extra literal story or I wanted to put in writing a brand new track for a selected second, like “Break up in Half,” “Paris Attract,” and “Bones & Mud.” These songs don’t exist anyplace else besides within the present, and that’s fairly thrilling.
You’ve talked about feeling such as you by no means slot in with the music trade. Has that formed you as an artist?
I bought dropped by my file label, and I feel the media was sort of classist after I first began releasing music. I don’t have well-known individuals in my household and I don’t come from a wealthy background. My mum is a nurse and my household is Irish and from Dartford [in England]. My grandad was a ebook keeper and a boxer. Once I moved again dwelling, my mother and father couldn’t assist me the best way they needed to or the best way a few of my wealthy mates can get assist after they’re going via one thing. That actually opened my eyes to how totally different the music trade is for individuals from working class backgrounds. Cash is thrown round in a ridiculous approach and that’s scary and alienating while you don’t come from cash.
What recommendation would you give to somebody navigating the music trade?
Oh God, I feel the atmosphere adjustments continuously, so I by no means know what recommendation to offer that will be related. Each time I launch an album, I’m coping with a distinct world. Don’t take heed to those who say you have to “discover your sound” and chuck you in a room with a ton of various producers and high liners that write for each different artist. That’s uninteresting. Don’t lose what makes you distinctive. You’ve a sound, that’s why somebody is attempting to revenue from you. Do not forget that the individuals from the trade are enterprise relationships. Hold strict boundaries in place.
I might encourage individuals to search out their inventive household, as a result of that will probably be with you for all times, relatively than simply while you’re worthwhile. You received’t all the time be sizzling shit. Just one individual that was working with me throughout my first file remains to be in my life, and naturally it’s a musician. That claims every part. I might additionally say restrict your social media use. It’s making the world a fucked up place and making individuals dumb and extra egotistical. Artwork is just not about sitting fairly. Discover inventive allies, inventive companions, collaborators. I don’t assume artwork is a solo journey. Take dangers, say no when it feels mistaken, don’t signal a administration contract, get a very good lawyer, and play a ton of reveals. Throw paint on the wall and belief your intestine. Your head isn’t pondering straight. It’s okay to make errors. You may get again up after they’ve kicked you down. Simply be good to individuals and also you’ll all the time have mates that enable you when shit will get onerous.
This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.
Rose is a Senior Editor at ELLE overseeing options and tasks about ladies’s points. She is an achieved and compassionate storyteller and editor who excels in acquiring unique interviews and unearthing compelling options.