Artist Interviews

Q&A: Nerina Pallot

By | Published on Friday 2 September 2011

Nerina Pallot

Brought up in Jersey, singer-songwriter Nerina Pallot released her debut album ‘Dear Frustrated Superstar’ via Polydor in 2003, though made more of a breakthrough in 2005 with its sequel ‘Fires’.

Despite working with songwriters including Linda Perry while preparing a third full-lengther, Nerina opted for only self-penned songs on 2009 LP ‘The Graduate’, which came out via Nerina’s own label Idaho. Breaks from recording have seen Nerina tour with Ray LaMontagne, James Blunt and Sheryl Crow. Meanwhile she and her Grammy-nominated husband Andrew share co-credits on the title track from Kylie Minogue’s most recent LP, ‘Aphrodite’.

After a prodigal return to Polydor, Nerina released her latest album, ‘Year Of The Wolf’, earlier this year. She will embark on a headlining tour of the British Isles at the Jersey Opera House on 16 Sep. Meanwhile, Nerina put her spin on our Same Six.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
My parents came home from an auction one day with a piano they’d bought for £50. They’d gone to buy a sofa, apparently, but my Dad had other ideas.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Without a doubt, being pregnant with my son, Wolfie. From the particular songs I chose to record, to the actual speed of the recording process because the clock was ticking the closer I got to giving birth! I had to get as much of the album done before I was out of the loop for a few weeks.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
It really depends on the kind of song. Sometimes it’s as simple as vocal and instrument done in one go and one take (like ‘If I Lost You Now’ on the new album) and sometimes it’s many attempts at recording the same song in different ways until it’s right. My song ‘Everybody’s Gone To War’ was recorded about four times until I was happy with the final version. For me it’s about presenting the song in its best possible light. The song should always, always come first.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
As a kid, I was massively influenced by Kate Bush and Elton John, and people like Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder and Carole King. Then I got obsessed with Steely Dan, plus all the pop that was going on during my growing up in the 80s and 90s, so Madonna, Kylie, Prince, U2, Nirvana and Beck, I guess. But at heart, my first choice is the music that was made before I was born, I don’t know why exactly apart from that it’s generally amazing, and maybe because that’s what my mum was listening to around the house while I was growing up.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Maybe cherry pick from all four albums. I don’t think that I have one album that completely sums up who I am musically, because I am into so many different styles.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
I’ve just come back from my first trip to Brazil doing music and it was a complete blast. I love going to new countries to promote my music, it’s so inspiring. I came back with about 20 records by people I’d never heard of before and have just been immersing myself in loads of new music I would never have found out about over here. It’s brilliant. So more of that work-related travel, I hope. While I was pregnant and during the early months of my son’s life, my travel was curtailed a bit, and I love travelling because it’s so inspiring. I feel that next year I would like to take a few months out to travel to South America again, maybe India, maybe the US, do a bit of music in each place and start writing for another album. I need to do something different, I don’t think I’ve really challenged myself over the course of four albums and I’d like to shake things up a bit.