Nina Baker

Bio: I am a flame-haired pianist, singer and songwriter who has an unhealthy obsession with tea and cake! My family are all from London, but I grew up in Norfolk, and now I live in Leamington Spa in the midlands.

I have spent the past two years recording my full debut album ‘Quite Frankly’ which we have just finished. Joining me on the album are Simon Dring on drums, Fredy Solstice on bass, Adam Moore on guitar and Owen Morgan on double bass, who are all from my hometown of Norwich. I have known Simon and Fred for many years, they are the original band for Oli Brown, so bring a heavy blues influence. Adam was a firm recommendation when we were looking for a guitarist, just the complete guitarist, he can play anything in any style. I don’t actually remember how we met Owen! He not only plays double bass but engineered the album, it was great to have him on board whilst he was simultaneously recording his own album with The Lost Levels.

Genre: MY genre is very hard to define, it sits somewhere between pop, rock, jazz, blues, skiffle, folk and classical, and steps further into areas where necessary. The basics are the same though, all piano-lead, the piano is way up front on all of the songs, mostly single vocal, but many layers behind the piano and vocal. A real treat for listeners. I always wanted to make and record music that you could immerse yourselves in, which sounds great in the car and amazing at home with the lights turned off!

Evolution of the initial musical and thematic elements: All of my songs are written in the same way, on the piano in my house, looking out of a window. After I get the structure down, I write the music first, I write lyrics based on personal experiences. This gives a general idea of how the song will be, but all of the songs have evolved. A piano-vocal track becomes a rock anthem, a mainstream pop number becomes very dark indeed. In the studio we spent an awful lot of time on arrangements to produce songs that sound great as instrumentals, very orchestral in construction. All of the tracks have a lot of movement within them from sudden crescendos to incremental changes. This album has taken a lot of time to get right.

Ideas about the album: We are happy with the album. We focussed for months and months on the sonics and on the balance of the album to make it technically polished. With a larger budget, more time, different equipment we could have certainly made improvements, but as an independent album we have done the best we can.

The most important thing is that we have a real ‘listener’s album’, an hour of music that takes you on a definite journey which at points leaves the listener thinking “How did I get here?”. There are waves of emotions throughout and those astute will notice that the first track and last track are complete opposites of each other.

Reception: Much more than we expected! I guess when you are so close to a project you focus on the small things that you are not happy with instead of looking at the overall picture. But the early response to the album has been fantastic.

Preference; live or studio: On the road most definitely! Love performing to new crowds and in different venues, I also like sampling the local tea shops and cake emporiums before a show! But I certainly have a much greater appreciation of the studio environment having made the album at Rockfield, The Church and Abbey Road Studios. I have learnt an awful lot during the making of the album.

Next step; live or studio: First single release is on 4th November 2013, with full album available digitally on 6th January 2014. Look out UK and Europe, in 2014 we are coming to a city near you!

Future plans: I can see a whole year dedicated to performing in 2014. There is nothing that I like to do more than to play to audiences big and small, across the UK and beyond. Looking forward to getting back on the road.

Hopefully it will be good! Things were looking so good at the end of 2012, I was certainly on the crest of a wave with a lot of momentum. But I had a series of personal loss at the beginning of the year, which put us back by 9 months and has made 2013 a very bittersweet year. Hopefully with the new album we start a new chapter and we can continue where we left off. Sometimes you need to face unexpected challenges to give you a greater sense of realism and thankfulness, it has certainly made me even more determined to succeed.

Lyrics, themes and concepts: All of my songs are based on personal experience. I just take moments from my life, whether they be at the same time or at different periods and speak about them openly and honestly. There are some very raw topics in there, a lot of songs which can bring a tear and others which will leave you guessing. Listen to the lyrics.

Composers: Just me, in my little music room, over-looking the garden, with my house-rabbit Boris nibbling my ankles!

Inspirations: My biggest influence at the moment is Frank Turner, who is just the most fabulous live performer. His songs are incredibly catchy, his lyrics are very open and honest and he is so hard working – He has trod all the paths that I am treading and I hope with perseverance I can follow in his footsteps. I have seen him play twice recently and it is a masterclass of technique, showmanship and humility. He worked the crowd into a frenzy but at no point did he seem arrogant, just a fantastic guy making fantastic music. He has made his success the old fashioned way and I like that, I like that a lot!

Preference; cater to the audience or music for its own sake: I make music that I like, which if other people like, or find a warmth from, is success. But having a great album no longer is enough, nor is being a great singer or player. I guess experience has taught me that it is important to engage with your audience and to entertain – Which when you are stuck behind a piano can be quite difficult!! So we take our show very seriously and it is organised with meticulous precision. I spend as much time rehearsing what I do between the songs as I do performing the songs themselves. When you come and see us live, you will see a very polished show, we don’t leave anything to chance.

Greatest Accomplishment: Finishing the album. It could have very easily not made it.

Anything else? Keep an eye on my YouTube channel for the official video of my first single “Single Bed”.

Want to read more about Nina? Visit her Official Website, Youtube Channel, Facebook Page and Twitter!

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