30 seconds interview: Nancy Elizabeth

Nancy Elizabeth by Emily Dennison 3

Manchester-based singer, songwriter and producer Nancy Elizabeth first sprung up during the last great folk revival around seven years ago, armed with a glut of beautifully poetic songs and heart-wrenching vocal harmonies.

Her evocative songwriting and virtuoso vocal timbre has been captured across three celebrated albums for The Leaf Label, the latest of which, Dancing, was released this May.

The album saw Nancy building a cocoon for herself in her tiny Manchester flat, where she stockpiled a vast array of acoustic instruments and began combining them with electronic computer-based production for the first time.

The results brought rave reviews and cemented her support among more leftfield BBC 6 Music DJs including Stuart Maconie and Mark Radcliffe.

Here we spend 30 seconds with Nancy to find out more about her inspiration…

I first started making music because…  
I couldn’t help it! I have always written melodies in my head since I can remember. As I have grown up, I have simply developed the tools to make my melodies make sense and the ability to put my ideas into an ordered fashion. Other than that, I still approach writing music like a toddler might.

I have been making music since…
I was three or four. I saw a set of pans in the kitchen and had to make a drum kit out of them.

My music is… 
Very difficult for me to explain. It’s a mixture of everything I love and a yearning to share my world with others. I play whatever instrument I find before me and use it to inspire new ideas. One thread running through most of my creations is my voice – layered harmonies. I love layering harmonies.

You’ll like me if you listen to…  
What a difficult question! I imagine Kate Bush fans might like me. Erm, gosh I really don’t know. I have no concept of how my music might be perceived. I just make the stuff!

My favourite venue is…  
I once performed in a giant cave underground in Italy called Grotte di Castellana (The Castellana Caves). That made my heart soar – absolutely amazing acoustics. However, I also love The Barbican in London. I played there a few years ago and it was great.

Music is important because…  
It massages people’s ears and also enables people to communicate effectively.

My biggest inspiration is…  
The story of Josei Toda’s life.

My dream collaboration would be…  
Mark Hollis. Without a trace of a doubt. And Chris Watson – I’d love to work with him.

To try me out, listen to my song…  
Ooh, another difficult question! I would want Heart off my recent album Dancing to be the first thing people hear from me.

If I wasn’t making music I’d be…  
Writing a novel, baking bread, dancing lots, spending time with my family and friends.

In 10 years’ time I want to be…
In a room where no one can find me, writing music and doing all the other stuff I mentioned – writing a novel, baking bread etc!

Picture:Emily Dennison

Nancy Elizabeth became the first PRS for Music member to win in our new monthly competition series. Enter our latest competition here to be in with a chance of winning tickets and a travel and hotel budget for the MaMa showcase in Paris.

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