When celebrities hang out in the Bustle office, we want to give them the chance to leave their mark. Literally. So we hand them a pen, a piece of paper, a few questions, and ask them to get creative. The rest is up to them. This time, Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt is leaving her mark in the Bustle Booth.
Singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt has been a self-starter from the very beginning, but her second album, The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change (out now) is more personal than ever. After spending years writing songs for Jessie Ware, The Shires, and other artists, Nesbitt is back in her own voice on these new songs — and it's thanks in part to how she turned a major rejection into a source of inspiration.
"I started [the album] at a time where I'd been dropped from a major label," Nesbitt explains when she stops by Bustle's New York studio recently. Back in 2016, Nesbitt was let go by Island Records, her label for the previous several years. Worried that nobody else would work with her, she decided to take matters into her own hands. "'I'm going to teach myself production so that I can make music and I can put it out if I want to,'" she recalls thinking.
At her home studio in London, Nesbitt got to work — but not, initially, on her own music. "I [...] started songwriting for other artists on site," she says. Over the course of a few years, she penned tracks for artists like Olivia Holt and Jessie Ware, along with "a bunch of DJs and UK people," she says now. That line of work not only helped Nesbitt hone her skills as a songwriter and producer, but allowed her to find inspiration for her own new songs. As much as she enjoys working on earworms meant for other artists, Nesbitt tells me she was glad that those collaborations enriched her creative process and gave her ideas for what to do next for herself.
"A lot of the album actually came through thinking I was writing for someone else, like "Loyal To Me" which is the '90s inspired one," she says, referencing one track off the record. "It sort of just freed up the way that I was writing. So half of [the process] was like, really personal in my room, in my home studio, and the other half was writing pop songs [for other people] — and then I kept them."
Those songs became the basis of The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change, which is the culmination of years' worth of work from Nesbitt. Even back when she was a teenager, she was uploading songs to Youtube to garner reactions and see if her talent was worth pursuing. You can find some of those videos online, and even though they were filmed years ago, Nesbitt doesn't mind. "It's nice for people to see the journey," she explains. "We're all human at the end of the day; we're all constantly evolving and growing, and I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of."
The musician is truly always looking to move forward and develop as an artist; while at Bustle, she even mentions off-hand that she's been researching the writers and producers of Ariana Grande's latest album thank u, next, looking for some new collaborators and industry contacts. Right now, though, she's mostly focused on her first headlining tour of the U.S., currently underway.
"I'm really excited for people to hear the new songs live," she says. "We're playing quite a few songs I haven't played before. I'm playing a song called 'Love Letter,' which I think the fans have been demanding to be the next single. So I'm excited to see how that goes down, and I think it give me an idea of like what my next move should be."
To hear even more from Nesbitt, check out her funny, super relatable answers to the Bustle Booth questionnaire below.