Now wrapped up in what is turning out to be a meteoric rise to fame, including a top-two debut chart single, Kate Nash is fast becoming the it-girl of the nation’s indie scene, but how did it happen and who is the girl behind the grooves?
Kate Nash was born in Dublin on July 6, 1987.
Though acting became her main passion at high school, Kate’s earliest introduction to culture came when she learned to play the bodhran – an Irish frame drum.
“My first musical experience was some folky music in Ireland.
“We used to go and see ceilidh bands, people like Shannon Shannon. My mum was into all of them.
“My mum and dad just listened to lots of good music in the house and in the car. Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Carole King, a lot of folk, Van Morrison, Buddy Holly and Elvis, Johnny Cash, so loads of really good old artists and stuff.”
“Then she introduced me to music like Janis Joplin and the Beatles and at 14/15 I was into garage and R ‘n’ B.”
She later moved with her family to Harrow, in north west London and her musical education continued, as she learned to play the piano and got into more bands.
“Now I really love people like Regina Spektor, Feist and Joanna Newsom.
“Regina’s is the most inspiring stuff, I really love it. She is so honest and everything that she was writing was what I was thinking.”
Growing up, Kate attended St John Fisher Primary School until 1998 and then St Joan of Arc School in Rickmanswoth until 2003.
It was a year earlier, aged 15, that other music talents were first put to the test when she was requried to write songs for her GCSE in music.
The results certainly did the trick. Then 16, Kate’s creativity earned a place on a two-year course at the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology on the other side of the Thames, in Croydon, south London.
But despite catching the song-writing bug, it was acting that remained her first passion and, as her college life approached its end, she set about looking for her next step.
“When I was young it was all about the music for me. I thought I was just going to do that at college.
“Then I just decided to do acting almost out of the blue and then it totally took over.
“It became everything I wanted and I only wanted to explore it further, get educated and get parts.”
After leaving college aged 18, Kate took the bold decision to have a gap year before deciding what her next step would be.
Amongst other locations, Kate travelled to Bristol – one of her favourite cities – to audition at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
The trial didn’t go to plan and in March 2006, Kate got a rejection letter in the post.
And on the very same day, it was an odd piece of fate that, quite literally, set her on her way.
“I was on a gap year and I was auditioning for drama school and trying to be an actress and I didn’t get into anywhere that I wanted to get into.
“I had one kind of fateful day when I got my rejection letter and [while at the cinema to watch Brokeback Mountain] I tripped down the stairs – literally all the way down – I hit the bottom and broke my foot.
“And then I had three weeks off of not being able to walk or get out of the house and so I really started taking my song writing more seriously.”
She then decided to book a gig to showcase her material at her local bar in Harrow in April 2006.
“I got a job in River Island and I was really rubbish, so as I got my first gig, I was like, fuck that I’m not working, ever again.
“I handed flyers out and brought demos out. I went to open mics.”
That show – and several following gigs in London – went well, and Kate followed them up by taking advantage of a fine piece of 21st-century technology, in Myspace.
“Myspace has been really important. I think it’s just the tool of our generation.
“I just kind of put up four songs and it started with just friends and family, friends of friends.”
Thanks to the website she gained widespread support for her material and even managed to find herself a manager and an engineer and keep in regular touch with what became the bands other two founder members, guitarist Jay Malhotra (guitarist who also records as Neely O’Hara and is in Fortress Forever!) and drummer Elliot Andrews, who once drummed for the Maccabees.
Among Kate’s early supporters was fellow Londoner Lily Allen. In her blog, Allen described the singer as “the next big thing.”
Kate released her debut single Caroline’s A Victim in February 2007, through independent record label Moshi Moshi.
The 7-inch vinyl release, which also included Birds, was limited to just 1,000 copies and attracted the attention of satellite music channels.
It was so successful that in March 2007, Kate earned a record deal with Fiction Records, which is part of Polydor.
She then made further strides forward by filming the rather colourful and funny video for Foundations, directed by Kinga Burza.
More plaudits followed when an unknown rapper produced a song called LDN Is A Victim on MySpace in an apparent parody of Kate’s matieral and the London scene at large.
Meanwhile, Kate gained more live experience by supporting Get Cape Wear Cape Fly on his UK tour and heading off on two of her own headline tours, which also took in the main summer festivals, including Glastonbury in June 2007.
One of the highlights of the surprise tour came at rush hour on a Friday night when the band’s van broke down on the motorway outside Cardiff, prompting an SOS call to Radio One presenter Scott Mills.
No sooner had Scott passed on an appeal for help to listeners, no fewer than five Good Samaritans had pulled up to get the band out of the jam and to the show on time.
The whirlwind week that started with Kate played to at least 1,000 fans on the Park Stage at Glastonbury ended with her grabbing second place in the UK charts with Foundations – her debut CD single. She retained that placing a week later.
In true Kate fashion, she announced to millions of Radio One listeners that she would be celebrating the chart placing…with a simple game of Laserquest with close friends.
Now following up on that success with more live dates and festival appearances (joined on tour with talented violinist Mei-Ling), Kate is also putting the finishing touches to her self-titled album, which is being produced by Paul Epworth and is due for release on August 6.
Follow-up single, Mouthwash, will also follow later this summer.