Teen star Nina Nesbitt is the apple of Scotland’s musical eye

With a cloud of blonde hair and bright red lip gloss, Nina Nesbitt looks like pretty much any other teenager you’d see hanging around outside Topshop slurping a slushy.

But standing excitedly outside the STV reception sign, it’s the guitar case by her side that quickly gives the game away for this slender teen. It’s only six months old but is already sporting labels from gigs in Paris, Oslo, Munich, Dublin and Amsterdam.

Its owner is the Scottish teenager tipped as being the next big thing on the British music scene having already shared the stage with both Ed Sheeran and rapper Example.

Her latest release The Apple Tree has made it straight to the number one spot on the iTunes singer-songwriter chart and with an impressive gig line-up set for this year, 17-year-old Nina is clearly an artist in hot demand.

Ahead of her performance in Glasgow’s King Tuts this Thursday, Nina popped into the STV studios to give us a taste of her singing talent and to tell us more about her journey so far.

Nina said: "I’d been doing a few gigs over the summer and putting some of my own stuff up on Youtube and he (Ed Sheeran) was doing a radio gig in September for Forth One.

"I really liked his music so I went along and there were about 15 people there I think, so it was like a really unplugged, kind of intimate gig and I was just asking him if he had any advice for upcoming singer song writers.  

"He was like ‘Oh, do you play guitar?’ and I was like ‘yeah, yeah’ so he gave me his guitar and said ‘play me a song then’ so I did.

It would seem that Mr Sheeran liked what he heard as Nina went on to support him in his UK and Europe tours launching the young starlet into the music limelight.  

Rapper Example then saw Nina’s cover of Stay Awake online and asked her to support him on his December tour. Since then she’s toured again with both artists, no small feat considering it was only a year ago that Nina was playing and writing songs in her bedroom.

As Nina says: "I’m travelling a lot at the moment so I kind of write wherever I am but I write best when I’m in my room at home. I’ve got a little mini studio and that’s where I produce all my stuff.

"I’d been singing for a long time and writing songs since I was about ten, so I’d been writing a long time as well. I guess I wasn’t that confident in going out to play live. So last May I did a gig in Manchester. That was my first one and I just kept doing more. 

"Ed and Example supporting me really gave me a good opportunity and gave me good experience to develop as an artist. I’ve been gigging for a year exactly, but I think that the experience that I’ve had has made up for lost time."

Proving that friends in high places can really do wonders, Nina’s debut EP The Apple Tree has already reached the number one spot on the iTunes singer-songwriter chart and went to number six on the main charts.

Nina still sounds completely in awe herself as she remembers it. She says: "Somehow it crept into the official top 40, I’m not really sure how but it was really cool. I wasn’t expecting that at all so I’m pretty chuffed.

"I just put it out, it’s totally independent. I created my own label and put it out. I wasn’t really interested in selling it or anything, I just wanted to get it out there to as many people as possible. My fans are really great, I’ve got a really supportive fan base and I guess they just shared it and it spread through word of mouth."

Like a massive online game of successful Chinese whispers, Nina’s songs have been picked up by surges of media outlets and fans including Radio One’s Fearne Cotton.

Nina’s whirlwind entry into the music scene looks set to continue with a long string of festival tours and gigs lined up including plans to support Owl City in London, but she is still anxious to insist that Scotland has a strong music scene too and is keen to send a message of support to others like her.

As Nina explains: "Electric Circus in Edinburgh is where I played my first few gigs and yeah, I think it’s great.

"I’m really supportive of more upcoming singer songwriters so I’d just say don’t listen to what anybody says to you because I remember a year ago when people were saying ‘well you can’t sing’ or ‘you’re never going to do very well’ and this year has actually gone really well.

"So I think just believe in yourself, don’t listen to other people and enjoy what you do."

It's advice that has certainly worked for Nina and her fans (known affectionately as Nessies) will be pleased to know that there’s still plenty of space on her guitar case for the many more labels that are likely to come her way.

Nina Nesbitt’s EP The Apple Tree is available online and more information on her tour dates can be found on her website.

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