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At the age of ten life seems simple, it's all about running jumping and climbing trees. By eighteen you have discovered the opposite sex, alcohol and nightclubs. By twenty five you are your own person, confident and full of life. Suddenly you hit thirty. You find yourself questioning your choices from the years that have past, feeling slightly left on the shelf, wondering where your life is heading, juggling family and friends and faced with ever aging parents. You are not alone, welcome to 30 years and countinga sideways look at life in your thirties.

Me and a girl called Kate

I have a bit of a confession, there is another woman in my life other than Maz and her name is Kate Nash. For anyone who doesn't know Miss Nash she is a British solo singer and I have been bigging her up for the last few years. She broke into the UK charts a few years ago now and last year she released her second album. I however have been following and raving about her since she first appeared on the scene with her Myspace profile way back in 2007. In short I love her to bits (sorry Maz).  My love for Kate is not something that many people share with me though. Tom in particular doesn’t really get it and I have to admit that her singing voice and vocal style is a real love it or hate it affair. That all said I am firmly in the love it camp and if you are not or have never heard of her then here are my reasons why.

So where do I start? I guess at the begin as they say. Kate is a singer-songwriter/musician. She was born on 6th July 1987 in Brent, London, England and grew up amidst Brit pop culture. She studied Theatre at the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology in South London. She later auditioned at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School but was rejected after falling down a flight of stairs and breaking her foot. During her recovery she was housebound and unable to move, so her mother bought her an electric guitar to cheer her up. She used this time to focus on her song writing. After several gigs, she uploaded her music to MySpace (remember Myspace anyone?) . She went on to find a manager for herself before seeking producers for her music. Her debut release was a single called "Caroline's a Victim" which was produced and recorded in Iceland and released through Moshi Moshi Records in February 2007. The release was limited to 1,000 copies. Due to demand another 1,000 copies were made and sold out.

"Caroline's a Victim" by Kate Nash 2007

Can you Kick it?
Later that year Kate went on to have a UK #2 hit called  "Foundations", followed by the platinum selling UK number 1 album called “Made of Bricks“. She was named Best Female Artist at the 2008 BRIT Awards. Her second studio album, entitled “My Best Friend Is You” was released in April 2010 and spawned her second biggest chart hit to date "Do-Wah-Doo".

Now it is all well and good me going on a about who Kate is and what she has achieved but that doesn’t mean you are going to like. After all I could say she had won a Nobel peace prize for solving world hunger and to be honest you still wouldn’t particularly give a shit. We will forget about all of that then and instead lets take a look (rather a listen) to her music.

I first heard of her by chance on a late night radio show a few years back before anyone had really heard of her and was instantly taken by her beautiful (if somewhat unusual) voice. Kate’s singing style is a bit like an audio version of Marmite in so much that you either love it or hate it. She sings with a very gritty London accent and doesn’t hit every note perfectly but for me that is part of the appeal in this age of Auto-tune one hit wonders. The subjects touched upon in her songs are also somewhat different from the norm. Drawing on her own mundane life Kate sings about ex-boyfriends being full of shit, jumping train barriers, drinking wine, how good she is at swimming, walking past graffiti covered walls and doing crosswords. She paints a picture of beauty in the everyday normality. Add to this the fact that her tunes are very catchy and what is not to love? "Foundations" was the song that really pushed Kate into the public eye and it is still one of my favourites.

"Foundations" by Kate Nash 2007

Come on admit, it will be stuck in your head for days. Despite being incredibly simple (The song is written in C major and uses the three main chords of the key C, F and G as the riff which is used as a simple eight bar ostinato. It follows ABABABCB) it is also incredibly charming. The New York Times said "The song is bright, peppy and mercilessly perceptive." While Pitchfork Media said Kate had a "gift for communicating confusing romance with a keen eye for detail and scene-stealing turns of phrase." The song debuted and peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart for five weeks. It also reached number 7 in Canada and number 16 in the USA Bubbling Under Hot 100.

Kate followed on the back of “Foundations” with three further singles; “Mouthwash”, “Pumpkin Soup” and “Merry Happy” (which she never made a video for which is a shame since it is great song but never got the airplay it should have probably because of it). You can find Mouthwash” and Pumpkin Soup” below for you viewing pleasure. 

"Mouthwash" by Kate Nash 2007

"Pumpkin Soup" by Kate Nash 2007

One of my favourite songs from Kate’s first album is “Nicest thing”. She never released it as a single though. Like most of Kate’s songs it is simple, charming and catchy but it paints a beautiful picture of being in love. Full of beautiful images and clever lyrics it has a pallet rich in the pain of longing to be loved we have all felt. Like I said there is no official video but someone did make this rather charming animation to accompany the song. 

"Nicest thing" by Kate Nash 2007 

Kate’s second album “My best friend is you” was released in 2010 (little known fact - the album was originally going to be called Crayon Full Of Colour). The album met with positive reviews with one critic stating it was "both indie and universal" and calling the album "rather daring". The sound was described as completely different from her debut album and having a "Girl Group" sound, taking influence from Motown stars such as Diana Ross and The Supremes. Kate explained that maturity is the reason for the change in musical style. "Do-Wah-Doo" was the first single from the album. This was followed by "Kiss that grrl" and "Later on". All three can be found below. 

 "Do-Wah-Doo" by Kate Nash 2010

"Kiss that grrl" by Kate Nash 2010

"Later on" by Kate Nash 2010

Stairway to heaven
Back when I first discovered upon Kate she was still playing gigs in pubs and trying to pull in fans with her Myspace page (remember Myspace? N one?). You typed her name into Google and got pretty much nothing and so it wasn’t until she finally burst into the charts with her hit “Foundations” almost a year later that I got to see just what she looked like and how she performed.

It was certainly worth the wait. Not only did I discover that she was stunningly beautiful with her kooky dress sense and flame red hair but she also carried herself with a carefree irrelevance and joviality.

Of course being a pretty face and being able to blast out a catchy tune is one thing but being someone of principle and actually having something to say is another (well at least in my book and since I believe my readers are equally of substance I am guessing dear reader that the same holds true for you too). There are plenty of pop stars out there who are mass produced by the industry, all quantity and no quality. While bubblegum pop might be fine for some I like a bit more to chew on and swallow.

Whenever I have heard her talk in interviews she has presented herself as an intelligent forthright woman who you could have a deep meaningful conversation with and then drink pints down the local pub with over a game of pool. She is honest to a fault and is more than happy to talk about her dislike of other celebrities who are churned out by the pop machine. She is a woman of passion and principles and for me that only adds to her beauty. Don’t just take my word for it, here are a few interviews with Kate for you to judge for yourself.

Kate Nash interview - Virgin Mobile Bites  

Kate Nash interview - Rock am Ring 2010 

Keep an eye her body language, how open and frank she is. Nothing seems rehearsed, polished or playing to an image created by some PR expert. It is all from the top of her head straight from the heart.  If anything she looks a bit uncomfortable in the spotlight (more on that later).  

Sunshine on a rainy day
The final thing I love about Kate is that she keeps it real (ooooh how 90’s). She initial broke out by clever use of her Myspace page (Myspace. Anyone? Anyone at all?) which she setup and ran herself rather than being some mass market record company publicity stunt. Ever since then she has stayed true to her fans continuing to run her social network sites like Facebook herself (with a little help from her sister) and filling them with diary like blog posts, endless pictures of her posing with fans and special recordings of songs and videos which are never released into the charts. Kate is also a fellow blogger user and you can find her own blog called My Ignorant Youth here. She presents herself in a very raw and open manor with her post often being very personal and honest as apposed to the usual “buy my new album now” in your face status updates that a lot of celebrities throw out. I can’t imagine Beyonce positing pictures of herself on her website drunk after a gig or laughing at a huge dildo! Her fans seem genuinely important to her and to that end she is always offering up free tickets to gigs, asking them to design art work for promotional materials and seeking out their opinions on her music. Add to this the fact that she seems to spend most of her time recommending other bands that she is into or books she has read rather than promoting her own self interests and you get the picture of a real person who just happens to be famous rather than a fame monster out to amass the highest number of hits or fans possible.

As you can tell I have a lot of time for Kate and I think she is an excellent role model for how the music industry and celebrities as a whole can be. But that said no one is perfect and I must admit that I don’t like her new haircut much. Sorry Kate.

So that then is the many reasons why I love Kate Nash so much and think that you should too. Okay, if you are into hardcore gangster rap or heavy rave then her songs are probably not going to be your cup of tea but that aside as a celebrity she is someone to be admired. Warm, kind, approachable, down to earth and passionate about her fans, her beliefs and her music. If only our charts were filled with more like her. 

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