MySpace brings singer stardom
British singer Kate Nash's popularity could be partly ascribed to the social networking website MySpace.music Updated: Dec 20, 2007 11:41 IST
The phrase shot to stardom could have been invented for Kate Nash, a British singer whose rise is partly down to the social networking website MySpace. Less than two years ago she was working in a clothes store, living with her parents, and had never played a concert.
Last week the red-haired 20-year-old who has been described as the new Lily Allen was the de facto headliner at France's most prestigious talent-spotting music fest, the Transmusicales.
"It's scary and complicated and you feel like you're treading on eggshells all the time, but you have to believe in what you do," Nash told AFP in her distinctive London twang.
But as she downed a shot of vanilla flavoured rum in a shabby, beer-stained bar opposite the concert hall shortly to be packed with rapturous Nash fans, she seemed remarkably relaxed.
"I did my first ever gig on April 13, 2006," she said, adding that from that point on she knew what she wanted to do. "I quit River Island," she said, referring to the clothes shop where she had been working. "I put myself on Myspace, did open mikes, anything to help me get gigs."
Although Nash has railed at being labelled part of a 'Myspace generation,' she concedes the site played a big role in helping engineer her meteoric rise to stardom.
"My manager contacted me through Myspace, and Moshi Moshi did too," she said of the record label that released her debut album Made of Bricks this summer. The website was also useful as a way of helping develop her profile as a musician in the "real" world. "It's not just an Internet thing. It's about reality, helping me to meet new people."
Nash said she made a conscious decision to sing using her real north London accent - she hails from Harrow - when she was around 17.
"I had been trying to write songs since I was about 14, but I think I was trying too hard, sounding a bit American. Then after I heard bands like the Buzzcocks, I realised you don't need to try to be clever or funny. You should just use your own language," she said.
"Being British today is part of the mainstream. It's acceptable for British people to be and sound British." Now hailed by many in her native country as the latest saviour of British pop music, she has support from both a record company and a respected producer - Paul Epworth, who has worked with Babyshambles, latest project of British pop's enfant terrible Pete Doherty, as well as Bloc Party and The Rakes and says she can "do whatever I want."
But might access to high technology and record industry gloss actually prove a problem for an artist whose attraction comes in large part from a deliberately 'home made' sound?
"It's true you don't want to overdo it. I like a lot of lo-fi stuff. Certainly with the album that's just come out, I didn't want to make it over produced," she says.
And as a new international pop sensation, is she still finding the time and inspiration to write new songs?
Made of Bricks abounds with bitter-sweet tales of young girls and useless boyfriends going out, getting drunk and leading aimless lives in suburban England. But recent posts on Nash's Myspace site suggest this is a life she herself no longer lives.
"We got to stay in the Hilton in Paris in a suite which was huge. It had like a living room and everything," reads one entry, while another refers to, "ordering quite a lot of room service." But Nash insists that despite the new whirlwind lifestyle, her creative juices are flowing as freely as ever.
"I've written some new songs, which are really exciting," she said. "I make sure I find the time. I have my laptop with me. I make notes in dressing rooms, on the road, wherever I can. You have to adapt to your environment."