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Nadine Shah

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The Musician: She’s twenty-something, but is slowly becoming a rage in the UK for her unimaginably powerful voice and sublime smokey poetry that form the core of her post-punk, downcast numbers. Nadine Shah’s music is steeped in anguish with tracks that are frank monologues of all-consuming, disappointing affairs with men. Her songs are haunting pieces teamed with a fierce voice, which ironically, has a calming effect. Nadine will engage with you at a very raw, intimate level—an experience which is almost therapeutic. It’s seldom that a musician can make you feel like that, but Nadine is gifted.
The Music: The Pakistani-Norwegian singer relies heavily on personal experiences to sketch the contours of her tracks. The narrative of her first album, Love Your Dum and Mad stems from the suicides of her two close friends. ‘[The album] was named after the title of a painting by my friend, Matthew Stephens Scott. Matthew died a few years prior to the release of the album and a lot of the songs are for or about him. The album is essentially about the death of two very close friends of mine who took their own lives as of a result of their suffering with mental illness.’ Her bold stance towards talking about mental illness which is an issue that is pervasive, yet hardly spoken about through her music, has reeled in admiration and fans. Her latest album, Fast Food is about a succession of short lived, intense love affairs. ‘Each song is a portrait of someone I have or do love. Sonically, it is a much more energetic and less ethereal album than my first.’
Inspiration: Nina Simone was the backbone for her vocal inspiration. Nadine drifted far away from the typical trills of R&B goddesses like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey to embrace the raw, unpolished vocal appeal that Simone stood for. ‘Simone's was the first voice I remember that really stood out to me; her voice was a class above the rest. She has so much more passion in her voice that sometimes it could sound quite ugly—it wasn't polished or 'perfect'. It encouraged me to be more honest with my vocal delivery and music in general.’



Text Radhika Iyengar


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