As a classically trained artist who has already shared the stage with the likes of Emma Bunton and Lily Allen, 2016 is Nina Schofield’s year. With her new album due out later this month and the support of several media outlets already behind her, there’s no telling just how far this talented singer-songwriter will go. Gearing up for her busiest few months yet, she kindly agreed to this interview to chat social media, dream shows and favourite songs.
PW: Please introduce yourself.
Nina Schofield: I’m Nina Schofield – a singer-songwriter born in Winchester and loving working in London, Surrey and the rest of the world!
PW: How would you sum up yourself and your music up in a couple of sentences?
NS: Passionate, emotive, determined and hopefully uplifting - and that goes for both my music and me!
PW: Which bands and artists did you grow up listening to and how did they influence you? Have such influences changed over the years?
NS: My mum would put on some amazing records every day whilst I was growing up, so a lot of my early influences were bands like Genesis and Dire Straits. We also really got into Beverley Knights music and Seal which had a massive effect on the amount of soul I put into my own music. Now I listen to literally anything I think has a good melody and a strong hook. Recently I’ve really got into country music after a trip to America so it’ll be interesting to see if that has any effect on my own songs!
PW: When did you first realise you wanted to be a performer? Was there an album you listened to or concert you attended that made you think 'yeah, I want to do that'?
NS: I remember being in the playground and actually realising it was possible to be a performer as an actual job, and it just clicked for me right there and then. Everything I’ve done since then has been a result of that moment where I knew it was the right path for me!
PW: You've performed alongside Emma Bunton - how did that come about?
NS: I worked alongside her on a nationwide advert for Channel 5 which included dancing and singing! I was also her stand-in which was great fun even though I was in heels for 21 hours non-stop!
PW: How did it feel to hit number 1 across Europe with Vintage & Morelli? Did you ever expect it?
NS: I think whenever I set about writing for a new project or working with a new artist I never foresee where the music will end up – I just get excited if I feel the song is a good one, and in this case I really connected with Vintage and Morelli and so the song we created is very special to me. It’s a massive unexpected bonus that the song and his album have done so well!
PW: How did you get involved with World Voice Day?
NS: It seemed like the right fit when the World Voice Day idea came about – they’d heard “Restart” and I was really interested in working with them so instantly it just became the obvious path to go down. I was really excited because I love encouraging others to sing so when I was able to hold a WVD event at Yamaha I loved hearing this choir of children sing my song!
PW: Tell me about your latest track "Imaginary Love" Is there a story behind it?
NS: “Imaginary Love” is about a sociopath I had the misfortune of meeting and being friends with for about 6 months. He was certainly charming on the surface, but when his lies began to unravel, boy did they unravel! I wouldn’t even like to say out loud some of the things he did because they are so awful, but as they say, every cloud has a silver lining and I was able to get this song out of the whole experience. I’m a much wiser person now too!
PW: How easy/hard do you find the song-writing process and who/what most inspires you?
NS: The song-writing process for me is the most fun part and therefore I find it the easiest! With “Imaginary Love” I wrote that idea in a dream and woke myself up to quickly record the idea – that’s happened a few times before when I’m really lucky. Usually I sit down at the piano and start messing around with a few ideas until a song forms, or if I’m working to a brief for another artist or project, I treat it like a 9-5. I love putting real stories into my songs, so no matter what, there’s always an influence from someone’s real life.
PW: How did you find making the video and is being creative in that way something you enjoy?
NS: I loved making the video! I didn’t really eat properly during that day which was the only downside, as I love my food! But overall it was just amazing – it’s like finally seeing the whole project come together from this small melody I once had, and now it’s on screen and there’s a team of amazingly talented individuals helping bring my ideas to life! Jay Parworth, the director, was brilliant and had amazing vision with the song so he created the perfect video for the song.
PW: Would you ever consider directing your own music video or one for someone else?
NS: Potentially yes, but I’d want to study directing a bit first because I’ve never done anything like that before! I do enjoy coming up with ideas though and whenever I listen to songs I can see the visual I would make in my head, so it’s something I’d think about for sure.
PW: Which song, in your opinion, is the greatest ever written and why?
NS: I’m going to go with “Yesterday” by The Beatles. It’s such a good song – it’s so simple but it’s perfectly written and it grabs me emotionally.
PW: Tell me about your album "Shapes". Do you have a favourite track on the collection and if so, which is it and why?
NS: My favourite song on the album is “HIH” which stands for Hoping I’m Healing. I love the direction Jo Pereira went with production wise and I think it’s the most interesting track on the album. That started off as a little piano-vocal and has turned into a big, epic full scale production!
PW: What's been your favourite live performance to date?
NS: I think the recent performances I’ve been doing on tour with Sons of Pitches have been my favourites as they have all had amazing audiences who clearly love music! I’ve started doing this thing where I take a massive selfie with the house lights on which is really good fun too – I can’t wait to keep touring later this year.
PW: If you could play one venue anywhere in the world, which would it be and why?
NS: It would be the 02. It’s in my home country and it’s iconic! That’s my absolute dream.
PW: If you could share a stage with three other bands or artists, who can be living or dead, who would they be and why?
NS: Coldplay – because they’re the best live band in the world. Taylor Swift – because she has so much energy on stage and it looks like a lot of fun! And Imogen Heap - because she is a massive inspiration and a very interesting live performer.
PW: What are your touring/performance plans for the rest of the year? Will you be playing any festivals or just focusing more on your own shows?
NS: I’m focusing on my own shows for the remainder of the year now – there are more dates being added all the time on my website and I’m especially looking forward to getting back on the road with the Sons of Pitches boys in November!
PW: Are there any plans for you to head overseas and perform in Australia or the States?
NS: Yes, I will be heading to America next year for a little while – I’ve been to LA before and I want to go back and soak it in a little more and meet and hopefully work with as many creative people as possible. I love it over there!
PW: What are your thoughts on social media and do you agree that it's a necessary and useful tool for bands and artists today, or do you see it as a double edged sword, so to speak?
NS: It’s definitely necessary because fans and listeners like being that much closer to their favourite bands and artists now. I mean, where else could you directly ask them a question and potentially get a response but on Twitter?
However, I do feel it can be quite distracting and demand a fair bit of time – it is part and parcel of the job now though and I certainly wouldn’t complain about it. I really enjoy speaking with my fans as they are such lovely people! It’s brilliant we are able to do that.
PW: What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
NS: My album will be released on July 22nd so that’s my main focus for now, and then a lot more gigging, writing and working with some very exciting artists on their projects too! It’s going to be a good one!
PW: Finally then, whose career would you most like to emulate and at what point would you be happy to call it a day?
NS: I don’t think I’ll ever call it a day as music if my life, but if I were to look at someone’s career and say ‘yes, that’s amazing’ it would be Seals. He’s legendary and timeless and I don’t see him stopping anytime soon! That’s the kind of artist that continues to inspire me.
To mark the release of her album, Nina’s teamed up with PopWrapped for an exclusive competition - one lucky winner will experience a live performance by Nina in their living room or venue of their choice! Interested? To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is follow PopWrapped on Twitter and tweet us with the hashtag #WinNina. The competition is open to residents of the United Kingdom only, and other T&C’s apply. The closing date is July 20. Good luck!