Sharing the remedies of her creativity comes naturally to Lady Nade - for the singer-songwriter, artistry is more than just a career choice or pastime, but instead is a lifestyle. A passionate advocate for the holistic connection between music and well-being, the pursuit of healing through song – both communally and within one’s self - found its way to the very heart of her being when she began to use poetry and writing as an antidote to grief. Before long, Lady Nade discovered the unifying power of channelling personal experience in live performance, and has since gone on to establish a loyal community of fans in her hometown of Bristol, England.
With her comfortingly warm brand of Americana, Lady Nade humbly explores life’s many winding paths; her songs are journeys of emotional expression on which listeners are welcomed with open arms. Her latest single, ‘Ain’t One Thing’ - an unashamedly upbeat declaration of all-inclusive love - for example, has captured the hearts of so many that it’s earnt her a nomination for UK Song of the Year at this year’s UK Americana Awards.
Despite live gigs and workshops being central to her work, adapting to pandemic-era performing has allowed Lady Nade to discover another important route to furthering connectivity to her music. “I’ve always challenged access to mobility when it comes to the venues I play, but sometimes disabilities aren’t visual – people have anxieties of crowds or travelling, or some don’t have the money to invest in travelling. So online gigging has been amazing, because it’s allowed differently abled people to listen to my music in their own capacities”.
This willingness to overcome the barriers of connection is effortlessly clear as we chat, her glowing positivity immediately brightening up a dreary January Tuesday. Here she shares why music, community, spirituality - and chickpeas – are vital in her life for My Essentials.
"Music – listening, creating, singing - is essential. I can't see a life without it. If somebody said you're never allowed to listen to music again, I think it’d tear my soul from my body! Music is therapy. I actually lost a family member at a very young age, and I was writing poems as a form of grief. I wasn't aware of it initially, but as I started to turn my poetry into songwriting and share my creativity with my peers, I realised that there was this sort of unspoken connection. As I developed, the grief I was addressing actually helped other people to express what they couldn't themselves. I realised that with my music, I'm leading my fans on a deeper level into this healing from loss, and in turn it helps me too. Grief can be healed when it's shared, because we have someone to validate our feelings. Part of this musical journey has also led me into music workshops. I've worked in hospitals, schools and colleges, and I’ve even gone into intensive care units and played very gentle guitar melodies to children that are like born terminally ill, because of the vibrations. The music is so healing, even for the parents as well. Music just has that power."
"Community to me is essential. I love feeling a sense of community, being able to help and serve others through life's tapestry. Before lockdown, I’d been hosting a night called Lady Sings which ran for 16 months. It was about bringing together and empowering female artists, putting on shows that focussed on gender balance and giving a voice to people that might not ordinarily have that platform. I managed to work with 72 female artists in that time. We’d also bring together emerging artists with established artists and create a connection where there wasn't that element of headline hierarchy lots of gigs have, but was more about sharing the stage together, no matter what level you’re at - that's what community is about. It's about coming together like regardless of class or race and creating a really awesome experience that everyone can enjoy."
"I couldn't live without chickpeas, honestly! They are a godsend. I love hummus and I've experimented with loads of different kinds of like hummus during lockdown, so like butternut squash hummus, lime and walnut hummus. And then I’ve been making like chickpea flour pancakes, because I pair recipes with my songs. What music does for me is the same as food - it brings people together. It helps us - in times of comfort we turn to food, in times of healing we turn to like food, when we've got a cold we use you ginger as a source of fuel and wellbeing."
"My spirituality, definitely, like my higher power and higher purpose. Part of that is making connections - again, it ties in with bringing people together. But you know, I thought about it: my name means ‘hope’ - serving is the purpose of my name, and with that I want to instil hope and faith in people that are struggling, that are going through a troubled time, that feel disconnected from themselves. But also to do the same with people that are happy, to help them have fun and to know themselves. I just love this sort of sense of being able to bring people together as one. My audiences probably don't want to know about my crystal healing and sage burning and new moons, but there is a bit of that! You know, I like to pay attention to the changes and the seasons, and I relate to how as humans we change with the seasons and the tides, especially as women."
"I couldn't live without them. They’re an essential part of my artistry, my development, they keep the spirit of my music alive. It’s my fans, but also music lovers in general - people that are going online and buying and using Bandcamp and streaming and sharing and inviting their friends along to concerts, who are just absolutely love music. They might not actually be music professionals themselves, but they’re investing in the arts and in the music industry; they are in a central part. Because without them there are no live gigs or, you know, my fans have crowdfunded to help me grow from my album and give me access to be able to do things that I wouldn't have been able to do. Even just retweeting and sharing. I have I've had some fans actively tweeting radio stations – it connects straight back to community as well, doesn't it? It all comes hand in hand. It's like a cycle in the nicest way."
Photography by Arthur Walin
Lady Nade's music is available to buy/ stream now on all major platforms.