Last week on Twitter. Singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt, the new pop sensation, tweets that she was on her way to Brighton to sign a few things in the local HMV and to sing a few songs. It's her debut album (Peroxide) release week and she celebrates with a few HMV stops in the country. What follows is a very eventful afternoon, a guerilla sign-in session, and an acoustic set outside Churchill Square. Not a carefully planned instore gig, like most of the new artists on the circuit. Just Nina, her guitar and her fans, singing outside a shopping centre.
Nina is the ideal musician of the social media generation. She's omnipresent on Twitter and Tumblr, asking for her followers for their opinion on what the next single from Peroxide should be. She uses Instagram a lot, asking her fans to send her their own selfies, a nod to her most recent single. The lyrics are the new anthem for generation y:
Taking pictures of myself, self selfNina, who started her career by singing one of her songs to Ed Sheeran during an encounter (which is how she got the gig opening for his tour) knows how to capture her audience: Nina is a teen who talks to her peers, and is a master of social media, creating a unique bond with her fans. A few months ago while promoting Stay Out (her second single), she stopped by and offered a free beach gig in Brighton, using Facebook to organise a give away contest with prizes such as EP's, the jacket she wore in the video or a lunch with her before her more formal Brighton gig at The Haunt.
Guess I'm reaching out to be assured
All I wanted was to be adored
Now you're telling me I'm vain, vain, vain
But you don't feel my pain, pain, pain
The girl who started to gain an audience by uploading her songs on YouTube a little less than three years ago, at 17, created and uploaded her own video for The People, the Peroxide's piano-driven bonus track, this Monday.
That's the fascinating thing about Nina Nesbitt: besides being an excellent singer and story-teller, she could be your best friend or your little sister. She's approachable. And she seems to do what she wants, instead of sticking to a conventional promo schedule sent by her label. It's exciting to see a major label like Universal give free rein to one of their upcoming artists. It's great time to realise mainstream music marketing isn't all about going on TV and doing meaningless ads, especially with "the millenials", who know more about social media presence than young adults ever will (sad, but true).
The youngsters consume music, yes, but they want a bond, they want to be a part of something special, more than a marketed artist doing big corporate tours before a debut album. They want someone they can relate to, someone who can use the same codes, someone real and genuine. They mix indie and mainstream and don't care about boxes and labels, as long as it talks to them. The Nina Nesbitt persona is real and genuine. She sings heartbreaks, she sings angst, she sings about young people life (her own life). She talks to both dreamy teenagers and indie lovers who love her fresh, delicate pop-songs. She quietly goes on tour and headlines London's Brixton Academy. The cult following she gained among Ed Sheeran and indie fans, and her arty "girl-next-door" image helped way more than an aggressive marketing. Indie, creative marketing mixed with the financial help and exposure of a major? The winning combination for Nina, and surely an inspirational path for future artists and labels.