Queens of Music - Nadine Shah

Nadine is a powerhouse of a woman, much respected and much loved here at QoA.  She proves that the multifaceted attributes of a woman can be balanced by being a strong, outspoken badass to being grounded and genuine with loads of love beneath that stunning face.  

Releasing her 4th studio album during lockdown and going through heartbreak to top it all off with the loss of her beloved mother “The Patron Saint of the Misfits”, 2020 proved to be more than a challenge to this Queen. But, she persevered with humour, grace, a big smile on her face and a stunning album in her back pocket.

How did you start in music? 

My granny Lena would babysit me whilst my mum went shopping and she’d play me Shirley Bassey classics. I’d sing them at home in my bedroom and it was only years later my mum realised it was me singing and not the record playing. There was talk of me going on “Stars in Their Eyes”, we even sent in a demo tape. Lucky for me I didn’t make the cut! 

Your performance at the Mercury music prize 2018 was one of the most spine tingling, emotive, badass performances we have ever seen, absolutely blew us away. What performance from a Queen had the same effect on you?

I often rewatch performances of Nina Simone playing Montreux Jazz Festival in 1976. There’s no one else like her. She was an incredible woman, artist and performer. I wish I could have seen her play live, I was born too damn late!

What is a Queen, in your eyes?

Exceptional women. Kind women. Behind the scenes women. The underdogs and fighters. 

How important is music to you, what advice would you give to any Queens out there wishing to begin a career in music?

It’s the one constant in my life, something I never tire of. It has brought me good friends and shaped a life I only dreamt about as a child. It keeps my mind open and active. For anyone wanting to be a musician, go for it. Most importantly do it for yourself, if you love what you make then you’ll find contentment. Trying to please others will drive you mad and suck out all the joy from music making. 

Who is the most inspirational Queen in your life?

My Mother recently passed away, she was my best friend and teacher. She was the Patron Saint of Misfits. Full of grace and cool as fuck. I try my best to be more like her. She’s the most inspirational Queen in my life. 

Nadine's album 'Kitchen Sink' which has been on repeat at the QoA offices, is available now

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