"The music industry is more about sucking dick [than the fashion industry]."
Kate Nash is having a bit of a Kanye moment. Her statement is one that many people may dispute. But it doesn't matter how true or false this accusation is, it simply shows how frustrated she is with the music industry's lack of understanding of her want or need to express her true self.
Nash is the brown-haired, vintage dress-wearing pop singer who burst onto the music scene in 2007 with the hit single, Foundations -a song that has become bigger than her face, you know the one that goes, '...my finger tips are holding onto the cracks in our foundation. And I know I should let go but I can't..."
Early in the year, she was axed from her label, Universal following the not-so-positive response to her second album and in the wake of her third album, Girl Talk, which she describes as an explosion of emotions. "I wrote the record in a moment where I was feeling pretty rubbish and I felt like I just threw it all up. I just needed to get it out so I didn't think about it too much. I was so wrapped up in how I was feeling so I was just doing stuff to survive."
The new record was a shock to many (and there has been speculation that it was the reason the label decided to pull the plug) As she prepares to play the Manchester Academy, her hair dresser, Ashley Raine, expresses her first thoughts on the new record: "When I first listened to it, I was like 'Wow, that's different' ...but different is good." Alas, not many agreed with the latter declaration as the album did poorly compared with her previous releases, only peaking at number 84 on the UK chart.
The person on Girl Talk playing bass and screaming lyrics such as "she wants to be my lover but my heart was with another," is very different from the talk singing girl who recorded Foundations. For one, the brown hair has been replaced with black hair and a bold blond strip. In the six years between both projects a lot has happened in her life - the loss of a dear friend; the only story she's willing to vaguely share. She's done a lot of growing up and evolving as her tour manager, Brett Lomas says - some may even say she has completely changed, but she's always been "strong minded and very clear about what she wanted."
She's on a journey and though it doesn't feel like she knows where exactly she's going -which isn't uncommon for twenty-somethings - she seems certain that she wants to make the trip on her own terms. Her mantra is "If you don't want to do something, just say 'no'."
Her terms may not sit well with music executives but her fans are with it. They were stood in the rain at Shepherd's Bush Empire and tonight they are out in it again. When she walks by some scream their love. There is a connection there that outsiders won't comprehend but I understand the general idea of fandom -I once hitchhiked to a Chris Brown concert (don't judge my young mind). It is this bond with her fans that seems to keep her going, they allow her to give more of herself than many would be comfortable giving. Unlike her other famous counterparts she willingly accepts the title of role model. When I ask why, she says plainly "...because of my fan base. I just really care about them."
Since becoming an independent artist, she says their bond has been strengthened - she's grasped the concept many artist fail to, that the fans are your backbone.
When I first arrive at the venue there are 27 fans sat about eating pizza, watching her soundcheck. This is her way of rewarding the girl gang for helping promote the tour. They get to meet her, share hugs, stories and gifts.
The pizza party makes it clear that there is a connection between the two worlds. She knows them, and they know her -well, the parts of herself she shares on records and on social media and in open letters where she pours herself out and is honest -because although she's very open about her feelings, she rarely shares (publicly) the situations that inspire the songs. Her music is her way of "sharing [her] point of view without airing [her] dirty laundry in a cheap way." So as long as she has something to say and the resources to do so - be it independently or on a major, we will continue to hear from Kate Nash.
Click here to view a photo diary from my day with Kate Nash