- Words Notion Staff
- Photographer Frank Fieber
Releasing her debut EP last month, breezy indie pop fusionist Nieve Ella talks supporting Dylan, quitting college, playing festivals and more.
Learning to play the guitar in 2020, Nieve Ella’s elegant ascent to internet stardom has been a formidable story. Over the past three years, she’s alerted Britain’s music scene to her zippy indie tracks, which address relatable teen themes with an adolescent allure. Last month, after teasing fans prolifically on TikTok, the multifaceted singer-songwriter released her debut EP ‘Young and Naïve’: a powerful and earnest project filled with breezy production and melody.
Reassuring listeners of their own insecurities and imperfections, the EP’s inward-looking nature makes for a sympathetic listen. Lead single “Glasshouses”, a comparably moody cut from the project, plays out the record with a phone call from a loved one, who adds warmth and nostalgic tendencies. Adversely, “19 In A Week” hits the gut with punchy riffs and crunching drums; Nieve’s catchy hook adds an anthemic quality made for filled stadiums.
Such a sonically versatile debut project places Nieve next to fellow pop heavyweights like Dylan, who she’s supporting on a forthcoming UK tour. From blossoming on TikTok to playing sold out shows, the 19-year-old is effortlessly making a name for herself and there’s no signs of her slowing anytime soon.
Fresh from the EP’s release, we spoke with Nieve about supporting Dylan, quitting college, playing festivals and more.
Hey, congratulations on releasing your debut EP ‘Young & Naive’! How are you feeling about the reception?
It’s a dream come true for sure. Seeing such a positive response to it all this early on is definitely something I didn’t expect. It’s such a cool outcome for me.
Let’s take a dive into this project. I read that it’s mostly inspired by the emotional weight of your adolescence and the lessons you learned along the way. Can you tell me about this?
Yes! I think when I reached the age of 18 I started to feel so protective of my younger self and the things I went through as a child, no matter how minor or major it was. I definitely felt a pressure growing up to “find love” even if that was in myself or with someone else. I think the main lesson I learnt was that there shouldn’t be a time limit on when love should happen. everything is a stepping stone.
Your introductory single “19 in a week” explores the often-unrealistic expectations that are placed on teenagers. What are some personal milestones you’ve managed to overcome despite the pressures you felt as a teen?
Again, the love thing. I feel like every teen wants to be loved but you can’t possibly be loved if you can’t love yourself. as I grew into my later years as a teen, I definitely shut myself off to any kind of new relation just to make sure I fully loved myself and it definitely worked.
I read that you quit college to pursue your music career. Do you remember a ‘light switch’ moment for you, when you realised this was the path you were destined to take? Or has it been more of a slow burn?
I don’t think I ever had a light switch moment to be honest, I always knew deep down that this was where I would be, no matter what capacity it was going to happen in. Joining a music course at college was something I needed for my confidence. I think when I say “I dropped out” it can sound like a negative thing, but it definitely isn’t. I was just learning more on the outside world than in class.
Signing to your first ever record deal at 18, how do you feel about documenting such a pivotal and time in your life? What do you think a younger Nieve would think of your progress?
Signing was something I never ever expected, I didn’t really know what it meant at the time to be honest. I think younger Nieve would be as confused as I still am now, I don’t really understand how it’s all happening, but I just know that it’s the positive feeling I’ve always strived and knew I’d feel one day.
I know that you had been waiting a while to release this project. Were there any challenges along the way compiling it?
I think the only challenge I dealt with and am still dealing with now is my tendency to panic that people won’t like what I’m doing or saying. At the time, no one had heard anything like it from me. Before releasing, it was just me on my bedroom floor; me and my acoustic guitar covering my favourite songs.
You started songwriting at a young age, and first picked up the guitar in 2020. So far you’ve crafted a very unique and transparent style of storytelling, how would you describe your musical style?
I just say how I feel in that exact moment, which is mostly on my bedroom floor or in my bed. I actually seem to write my favourite songs after watching a live video of one of my favourite bands/artists on YouTube which is mainly either Sam Fender or Flyte. Then I just seem to shape whatever I want to say with the feeling on my guitar.
Last year you closed off 2022 with your gripping release “Glasshouses”. Was there any significance in seeing off 2022 with that track in particular?
“Glasshouses” is definitely my most personal song on the EP. The end of the year is always a pretty weird time for me as I lost my dad around that time when I was 10, so having the song come out when it did felt right.
This month you’re going on tour with Dylan, that’s exciting, what tracks off your new EP are you buzzing to play? Do you think you will have space to play any unreleased music in your set?
I’m so excited mostly to play “Blu Shirt Boy” as I wrote it about Harry Styles, and I know a lot of Dylan’s fans are Harries. I’m definitely going to try and squeeze an unreleased song on the set and see what people think!
In the last few weeks, you’ve announced some really exciting live projects such as a slot at All Points East festival, and TRNSMT festival. How does it feel to have these on the horizon?
It feels so amazing as not only do I get to play but, I’ve only been to 2 festivals in my life so I feel like this summer will be the summer I’ve always wished I had from when I was 16. It’s just a dream.
Now that the EP is officially out, what are you excited about moving forward?
I’m just excited to release more and more. I’ve got so much I want t0 say and hopefully people will resonate even more than they already have!