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Meet NADINE:And get lost in HER STORY

by Maja Bebber

"I'm not perfect, but I just want to be a light. And lifting people and wearing your heart on your sleeve doesn't make you naive or stupid; it makes you a winner."

Meet NADINE, one to watch now. The London-based singer goes by Nadine Samuels and she recently released her first brilliant EP “HERSTORY.” And we know that she is indeed making history with her own story. Nadine has a knack for creating soft yet powerful tracks such as BlessedDon’t RunSilver Lining2018 and Nathaniel’s Song. And she is sure to be remembered. For her vulnerability, her strength and her storytelling that speak through her carefully curated lyrics. Nadine previously made moves in the girl pop band M.O. and has toured with the likes of Little Mix. 

Join tmrw, as we sit down with Nadine over Zoom and talk about her latest EP, how faith keeps her going, her writing process and more.

Let’s start with talking about HERSTORY, your latest EP that just came out. Can you tell me a bit about the story about your writing progress? And what initially inspired you to write it?

Oh, yeah, so HERSTORY is an EP of five songs. And it’s basically what it says like it’s about past experiences of my life that I loved. I don’t know I love the word HERSTORY. There’s something about it. I just love music and it could have been HISTORY right? But why can’t it be HERSTORY?

It’s a nice play of words I think as well.

Yeah, exactly. And yeah, so I’ve had the songs written. Well, one was obviously since 2018. And a lot of them were written during lockdown. I don’t write the beats and some of them are kind of almost dream songs and all. I’ll just be under the shower or maybe cooking or just minding my business though. The ideas just seem to just kind of write themselves in my head and although a lot of them come from what would seem like a dark place, there’s just always a bit, there’s always hope. And that’s what I want, I think it’s so important in this world, is that hope and that faith and that’s exactly what I’m about and what got me through everything. It’s what I’m writing about, to be honest, it’s that relief, it’s that optimism that light is always there, I hope that doesn’t sound too deep. But that’s what it’s about. There’s plenty more to write and these songs are just scratching the surface. There are multiple songs I could write on each subject but it’s a personal start, it’s the appetizers.

What is your favourite song that you wrote for the EP?

I love Blessed. I don’t want to sound like I love my songs. But I do like my songs. But yeah, I love blessedSilver lining. So actually, I just think especially now it’s been released it just brought back quite a lot of memories for me. And it’s brought back a lot of memories. I feel for that younger version of me at that time. I love her. And I know exactly what she needed. And it’s so interesting to see where I’m at now to compare it to then. Because yeah, it’s quite sad, when I look back on it, but that song means a lot to me. Because it’s so true. Like on that first one, I say 18 to 21 I was singing on, I mean, I’m sure there’s a lot worse things that could be going on in the world than singing at some point in your life but there’s also so much more that happened during that time and it brought stuff back up for me again. I was like yeah, that’s it, young girl. It’ll be okay, good luck, you got this you, you’ve smashed it. You’ve got through things, you should be proud of yourself. So it’s good. It’s quite healing actually to release this EP.

And I think you can inspire so many other people who are going through things with music. That’s what I love about music. And especially as you said now at this time when it’s winter again and you know, everyone is a bit low anyways, it helps. What is something that keeps on giving you hope?

Wow. Oh god, I can say it. Jesus, god. That’s what I’m writing about. Really. I’m just not saying it’s so blatant but that is what’s always helped me, it’s not something you can see. It’s something you just, it’s just there, it‘s magic. I mean, that’s the best part about life. It’s not about anything materialistic. It’s not about going on a shopping spree or going out drinking and although I’ve had those experiences, I haven’t always found the light straightaway. But I’ve had to go through those dark moments that no one could believe that I’ve gone through. But ultimately, it’s always been the thing that you cannot see but you know it’s there, that’s what saved me every time without fail. That silver lining. Honestly, I physically saw a silver lining one day, and that’s exactly where the idea came from. And to me that was God.

It’s so inspiring because I’m having those conversations with a lot of people either if they believe in God or the universe. I need something to believe in because I am not religious but I believe in the universe and I believe the universe gives you signs to keep going and they are always hidden somewhere, like you hear a song or you overhear a conversation and I believe that it always means something and it always kind of directs you in the right direction. You can’t get through life if you don’t believe in at least something I think.

I feel like you get through society but maybe not life. They are two different things, society and life. I wouldn’t survive without any faith or hope. I need it.

I agree. Let‘s talk a bit about the start of your music career. How did your journey begin?

Well, I’ve always wanted to be a singer since I was young. I’ve always had these big dreams I’d watch on the TV. I remember I said to my mum, I’m also going to do that. And I was young. I think I was like seven maybe. I remember stopping everybody sitting on the chair. That’s what I’m gonna do, that’s what I’m gonna do. So I always had that and to be discovered on YouTube like Jessie J times and I was watching all those people on YouTube and my friend, funnily enough, posted a video of me singing and put it on YouTube and I was just singing and an A&R from Sony came across it and it just started from there really. I just had some experiences. I learned a lot. So at times, I still feel new to this game, to this industry. But one thing I’ve never lost throughout it is my gift and my ability to express my right. My writing has just come on leaps and bounds since then. I think the more I’ve gone through the better my writing has gotten.

What would you say are some particular influences or experiences that shaped your musical sound and style?

Just life. Just, yeah, everything, I’ve been through a lot emotionally and without any of that I wouldn’t be able to write the songs that I’ve written. Life is one big experience for everyone. Isn’t it? I’m sure. Not everybody can write though. Everyone’s got a story to tell, you know.

What’s your favourite part about storytelling? So what’s something that you want to give people with your music and with your lyrics?

Like we said earlier, like that hope that lifts. That pat that I’ve always had on the back from God just to say listen, like cry, do what you need to do to get through it, but you will get through it. You’re not alone. I think that is a statement. It sounds so simple, but that is so important. I don’t ever want anybody to feel alone because I know what that’s like. And the thought of anybody and I mean, anyone I don’t care who you are, like somebody to feel alone. I think it’s the worst thing and I hope that this music just lets people know that you’re not. That there’s more, there is good, there’s hope. Like good will come and I will say well, the dark is there but it’s just about balance like being with it. And yeah, because you can have both. It sounds so cheesy, but it’s true. You can have both, but I do believe that you can stay in the light more once you’ve maybe learned how. Maybe one day something just clicks for people. Maybe not for everybody, but you can stay in the light more than you do in the dark. It just depends on how you look at it, everything’s perspective.

How do collaborations with other artists contribute to your creative process?

Oh, I haven’t got any features on my EP, but I’ve worked with a great producer called Knox Brown. He’s done some of the Stormzy stuff. Jess Glynne. A great one is Ebenezer he is a real one in the industry he’s had my back a lot, and he’s done a lot for me. He’s lovely, and so talented. Oh, and as I said, I haven’t had any features yet, but I’ve always wanted to work with Labyrinth. I think Labyrinth is amazing. Timberland. I love Raye, she’s sick. Yeah, I’d love to work with her. And her sister Abby. She’s so good. I love Leigh. Little Mix Leigh, she’s brilliant. Yeah, there are always people the list goes on.

And do you have any collaborations planned?

Not as of yet but you know, a girl can dream and I’m sure I’m on the right path to that. So they will be coming and when they do, you’ll be the first to know.

I’m excited! Can you tell me a bit about the process of your songwriting?

I have all these songs I’ve not written but I already have the idea of it. My ideas just come to me like in my dreams and I’ll wake up in the night and just start recording it or just going on about my day and they’ll literally write themselves and we’ll record them and sometimes we don’t come back to them for months. And I’m like, oh, that’s good. But I’ve got so many recordings on my phone that are saved as the idea and then I’ll put Nadine next to it if I think it’s for me right now, on my phone. I’ve got so many songs that I need to write still. I always want to make sure that I get it all out whatever I’m trying to say, I need to make sure I try to get as much out as I can in one song because I’m better at explaining things through songs. There’s just so much more that emotion will get out in a song. So it’s like a healing thing for me.

Do you have any lyrics that are your favourite ones that you’ve ever written?

Oh, that’s a good question. I think Blessed stands out to me. “Oh, ’cause this feeling is the realest. No stress because. I didn’t know how blessed I was.”Because I know when I wrote this, I was feeling it. I was feeling what I was singing about. As I was writing this feeling is a really large field and everything so yeah, that song, like I said that song wrote itself as well. I wrote that song in an hour. I wrote Blessed and Don’t Run on the same day. Just in my dad’s room where I was staying at the time. That was a brutal day but I got two great songs. I knew they’d be my singles as well.

How do you write your songs? Is it a stream of consciousness?

Yeah, that’s it. Stream of consciousness. That’s a good way to say it. It is that. It is just a bit mental but that is the case. I don’t overthink anything. They just write themselves and if they don’t, or parts of the songs don’t write themselves, I’ll come back to them, and until then, I don’t force it, I always just let it do its thing because I know that it will write itself in the end.

And do you have any artists whose storytelling you’re inspired by?

I mean, I used to be Beyonce’s number-one fan. I mean, I still love her. But I think it’s important to be inspired by yourself and stop looking for inspiration when it comes to your art. I inspire myself, my story inspires me, and that’s what I’m writing about. And I think that’s so important to not lose that and to just write your truth, I don’t want to ever start to think I’ve got to write about certain things or do certain music to appeal in a certain way to people. Does that make any sense? I’m trying to say, I am gonna always be true, true to my art, what I’m trying to say and whoever resonates with that, that’s brilliant. If I can help one person, I’ve won.

How do you maintain authenticity and original in an industry that can often emphasize trends and commercial success?

Although I want to be successful, I know that isn’t always the answer. It’s not necessarily the primary reason for what I do. I’m genuinely doing it because I care about people. I understand what it’s like to feel awful. So, why wouldn’t I use my gift or my story to uplift others? That’s the most important thing. Success and everything that comes with it, well, don’t get me wrong, it’s significant. But being a good person and keeping your heart pure is the key. That’s it. Anything could happen tomorrow, so make it count. Don’t just stick to what others want; follow your heart, your truth. Don’t ever feel pressured into doing something that you know isn’t great or doesn’t align with your soul. Ignoring yourself can lead to quite a dark place.

That’s a nice sentiment. Let’s talk about live shows. How do you normally prepare for live shows and what do you enjoy most about it?

I haven’t done a live show yet, but I’m excited because once I do, I think I’m going to do great. I love seeing live performances. I can’t wait to connect with people in that sense. I have something lined up this weekend, but I’m going to keep that a bit mysterious. I’m not entirely sure if I’m allowed to talk about it. It’s going to be my first live session, and it’s for a charity called War Child. They raise money for children affected by wars around the world, which aligns completely with me as an artist. When I was asked to participate, it was very last-minute. I was asked just this week to be a part of it. I’m excited to raise money for the charity by singing my songs. It’s going to be a great experience. So, that’ll be my first live performance, and I don’t think there will be a big audience. I might have a film crew and other staff there, but it’s one of the first things I’m doing.

Whereabouts in London is it?

North London.

And while we’re talking about charities, are there any causes that you support? Honestly, the current one I’m engaged in is at the top of my list: children. I haven’t delved deeply into that area, but it’s certainly something I’m committed to. I want to contribute in any way possible to help.

Let’s talk a bit about the future. Are there any projects or goals that you are excited about in your musical career?

Touring would be incredible—just to connect, to meet more people, that feeling of connection. Of course, continuing to write more music is at the core. Essentially, being and everything else that comes with it is a bonus. I can’t say I’ve ever experienced complete success in anything, so I suppose whatever comes with it will come. That doesn’t sound too boring, right? Just good and exciting things ahead. Yeah, whatever accompanies it, I’ll embrace it. Essentially, I’ll just follow the flow of it all, keep releasing music, and let’s see where it takes me.

And lastly, what do you want to be remembered for?

Being pure. I’m not perfect, but I just want to be a light. And yeah, I’ve said it before, but lifting people and wearing your heart on your sleeve doesn’t make you naive or stupid; it makes you a winner.

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