29th September | SouthBank

Featured image: Guy Bellingham

My meeting with Nadine Gingell, AKA Lady Nade, felt half-interview and half an enlightening life-coaching session. I didn’t have to ask a thing before advice and stories started flowing from the self-assured, Bristolian singer-songwriter.

Nadine confessed she kind of “fell” into music, but since living a shy childhood, she has been determined to create a community where she can help others as she was once helped herself: “Growing up, I wouldn’t have had the confidence unless it was for the people I had helping me, so I know how important it is to open myself up and help others, and it gives me a greater sense of purpose.” It quickly became clear that giving back to her fans and creating a musical hub is Nadine’s main priority.

Her social media group, Lady Nade + Friends, provides exactly that, but her alter ego, Lady Nade, presents an opportunity for her to feed more personal motivations too. “I perform because I want to have a sense of feeling wanted and be validated. But that doesn’t mean that I have to be confident; that just means that I’m longing to feel appreciated.” Oddly though, her alias has conjured up awkward difficulties in the past: “People hear ‘Lady’ and they think royalty so I have had people coming up to me at the end of my show really taken aback because what they get is a strong Bristolian accent. I think people like to stereotype.”

Nadine conveyed other ways in which prejudice affects the music industry when I questioned what decade she would choose to go back to: “Being a dual-heritage woman right now, times are good for me. There are more opportunities, more women’s rights and there’s less racism. And it’s being acknowledged. There’s still loads of shit going on, but it’s a really good time for me to be alive. I would have struggled way back and I can only see things getting better for women in music.”

Whilst it may be getting better, there is still a need for us to come together, and Safe Place is a record that reinforces this community ideology: “With this album, I wanted to create a feeling of safety at my shows. I want my music to be a vehicle for people to express themselves. No matter who you are or where you are, you can come down to my gigs and you won’t be judged.” With such a down-to-earth and open personality, it is unsurprising to me that her plan is working: “I get people coming up to my shows and going ‘I had to call my ex because your song made me think about a few things and I hadn’t spoken to them in 8 months’ or ‘I’ve just lost someone and that song was so important, thank you.’”

This community of people helping and validating each other recognises and pays homage to her purpose, yet, understandably at times, she feels the frustrations of doing it all herself: “Thinking about the next ten years, I would like to see growth. I want to spend more time on creating than working like a dog.” Having just been chosen by English Folk Expo to participate in an Artist Development Programme, it seems like it’s only a matter of time until this deservedly happens.

I gained so many ideas from Nadine, whether it was her self-imposed ‘writing a song a week for a year’ challenge which amounted to having fifteen songs for her album, or the all-important skill exchange. This is how, she explained, she has been able to release a video a month, with videographer and photographer, Agatha Jackson. Her September video for As Soon As I Can (Fixed On You) features psychedelic colours and trippy layered headshots, a wonderfully intoxicating interpretation of her expressive, hypnotic sound.

Nadine’s Safe Place tour begins at SouthBank Centre on Sunday 29th September, where her eclectic sounds of soul, folk, jazz and pop will warm familiar hearts and new. Join the community.

See the video for ‘As Soon As I Can (Fixed On You) here: