The delightful sounds of Nina Baker hit my inbox quite some time ago now and I’ve been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to get this interview out there to you. Unfortunately there was a minor hindrance which caused a substantial delay but thankfully Nina is now absolutely fine and is returning to music as though nothing ever happened – though I’m sure she’ll use her experience as inspiration for a new tune or two… So, finally, here’s an introduction to the effortlessly talented Nina Baker;
Please introduce yourselves, who are you and what do you do?
Hello! I am Nina Baker and I am a pianist, singer and songwriter from the UK. Born and bred in Norfolk, I reside these days in Warwickshire on a farm and write and record songs in my barn. It can be a challenge to mute out the sheep on occasions!
When did you first take an interest in music? Who was your first great inspiration?
I started music theatre at a very young age but it wasn’t until I was 14 that I took an interest in writing music. I started learning the piano, passed all my grades, taught piano for a while and then was talked into doing a gig in a local bar. I didn’t realise at this point that 5 years on and now this is what I would be doing, day in day out – Weird!
My first inspiration was my grandmother who was an incredible singer, coupled with the stacks of Motown records that were piled in my parents house. I wish I was blessed with a booming voice like Franklin!
How would you describe your sound? Who would you liken yourself too? (Modesty not required)
Like an angry Kate Bush or Alanis Morissette on a Wurlitzer. I get compared to Regina Spektor and Tori Amos a lot, which can only be a good thing. I think that the headline writers have settled on me being “Classical Pop” which basically means that I can play anything really, as long as it has a piano in it (which is fortunate as this is all I can play!)
What would be ‘living the dream’ for you?
Doing exactly what I am doing now, but without the monkey work. 100% of what I have achieved has been done independently by myself and one other person. It would be nice not to have to do the research and admin and be able to focus more on the music.
Mercury Music Prize would be nice also!
Has music always been your greatest love? If not, what else really excites you?
Tea and cake is always high on the list but music is my one true passion. It is a bitter-sweet relationship, the one that I will not stop pushing for and the one that has not given me a day off in 5 years, but it is the one that hurts the most when things don’t pan out as you had planned. I had a car crash in March of this year just as I was about to go into Europe. 3 months on, still in some discomfort, I am performing again. Having 3 months off the radar has been like starting from scratch. It’s tough.
Who is making the music that brings the biggest smile to your face?
Go Primitive, a rock band from Rugby I think are the best live band on the circuit at the moment. There is nothing better than a tight band and they are tight like a tiger!
Where should we be looking to find new artists?
In your local music venues, pubs, small festivals. I am a traditionalist. I find it hard to listen to the radio or watch social media. I get tired seeing the same faces again and again being pushed by the big agencies. Money still talks in this industry and unless you have an amount of backing you are not going to get “the push”. It would be nice if the public were able to make their own decisions rather than having their preference spoon-fed to them.
What are you hoping to achieve with your music?
I want to be remembered as great song writer and someone who has done it “her way” – Self funded, self produced, self promoted – It would be an achievement to be recognised for this. If people like the music, engage with it and it stays with them through certain times happy or sad then that is success for me.
Why do you think we care so much about music?
There are pockets of people who love music for what it is, without the pomp and ceremony and not governed by public relations and money. I have been fortunate to meet some of them, Mark Morriss is a great example. He really does not have to make music or perform anymore, but he just wants to. In the same way that there are artists out there doing it for the love, we appreciate fans who follow it for the love and people talking about it for the love. In my ideological world this is what the industry should be driven by and I thank you all for showing an interest in me.
What can we expect to hear from you in 2015? Where can we see you live?
After a very late start to 2015… I have a number of festivals throughout the summer, looking to tour in the Autumn and who knows, maybe a couple of music videos before the end of the year, we shall see…
Anything you’d like to add?
My album ‘Quite Frankly‘ is out now, give it a spin, heck download a copy!