Five years after her 2014 debut album Peroxide, Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt returns with her highly-awaited sophomore album The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change today (Feb. 1).
Nesbitt, now 24, tells Billboard that she conceived much of The Sun Will Come Up from her Fulham, London bedroom, coming home after studio sessions with other musicians to write for herself late into the night. “At that time, I was a songwriter for other artists, and I missed writing autobiographical songs, alone, for myself,” she says. “So I had a small studio set up that I called ‘Nightwatch Studio,’ and that’s how these songs were written.”
The Sun Will Come Up was more than three years in the making. The result is an iridescent work of pop mastery, showcasing Nesbitt’s proficiency as a songwriter, vocalist and producer.
Stream the new album below, and check out Nesbitt’s exclusive breakdown after the jump.
As the intro track to the album, “Sacred” was the first song I wrote, and it set the tone. “Sacred” is about my life from 19-21 years old. I’d been dropped from a major label after making music for all the wrong reasons, I was single and dating people I probably shouldn’t have, and felt numb to most things. I’d go out drinking and partying 4-5 times a week and completely lost focus on my career. I knew when I got dropped I had to sort it out and turn my life around. I knew I wanted to feel passionate about something again — and this album became that.
“The Moments I’m Missing”
This was the second song I wrote for the album, and has a similar story to “Sacred.” I feel like we live in such a fast-paced world and often forget to take things in. I had quite a rollercoaster journey from 17 years old until now, and after having time off to reflect on it all, I felt like I hadn’t even processed half the stuff that had happened in that time. This song is talking about the moments that are missing from my brain, that I’m recollecting and processing, rather than longing for. It’s probably the most autobiographical song on the album, because it tells the story of my life. It’s also the first song that I produced — I recorded the vocals next to my bed and the whole track is built on samples from different genres. It’s very 2018 bedroom pop.
“The Best You Had”
This is one of my favorites on the album. I wrote this song about a friend’s situation. She had recently been broken up with, and was kind of okay about it…until she found out he had a really attractive new girlfriend. [My friend] then decided she wanted him back and liked him again because of this. It’s a song about an ugly trait that we as humans have, which is jealousy. I think we all secretly hope the person after us isn’t better; that we’re the one they’ll remember as the best. It’s talking about how pride and ego can get confused with how you actually feel about someone. I was really inspired by Alanis Morissette “You Oughta Know” lyrics when writing it. This song ended up on Taylor Swift’s favorite songs playlist. She’s the reason I picked up a guitar. This song has brought a lot of cool things into my life.
One of the last songs I wrote for the album. It’s about watching people younger than me fall in love, and how fearlessly they did. It’s a song about the aftermath of heartbreak and how you become a lot more cautious and careful the next time you meet someone. I wrote the topline for the song with my co-writer Thomas Slinger London whilst he was in the kitchen making his lunch! That was a very inspiring bowl of soup…
“Loyal to Me”
“Loyal To Me” was written for one of my best friends, who was in a bad dating situation. It’s a list of all the warning signs and symptoms that you need to look out for when you fear you may be dating a “fuckboy” (or girl)! The music video was such a fun experience. I decided to take on a challenge with each music video, and for this one, I did ballet pointe. My feet still haven’t recovered. The day this track got released, we had two billboards in New York City’s Times Square, courtesy of Spotify and Apple. That was so surreal!
This is the turning point of the album for me. It is the moment where I’m reminded what I’m worth and who I am. I wrote this song in Nashville on my first-ever writing trip there, and I’m desperate to go back already. I was inspired to write this after getting back with my ex-boyfriend (who is still my boyfriend now!) and realizing what a relationship should be. It felt very natural and effortless and I didn’t feel that horrible anxiety you get when you don’t know if someone likes you back. It was easy and good for me; I realized that’s how it should be.
“Is It Really Me You’re Missing”
My favourite song on the album. This was written in the time where I was just writing for other people and I never expected to keep this song. Whitney Houston’s “Just The Lonely Talking Again” was the inspiration — the lyrics in that song are so conversational and casual, yet so powerful. They really tear through your heart when listening. We wanted to create our own version of that. This is a really special song to me because it got sent to loads of publishers and record labels, and I got an email one night saying Rihanna’s label wanted to put it on hold. She was the first concert I ever went to when I was 12 years old and such a female icon of mine, so I couldn’t believe it! I then found out they have hundreds of songs on hold, but it was still a really cool thing to hear and gave me a confidence boost that I really needed.
I’d describe “Love Letter” as “Loyal To Me”’s little sister. It’s an ode to ‘90s R&B and is a feel-good, empowering song. I can’t wait to play this one live, as I feel like it’ll go down really well. I wrote this with Fraser T Smith (Adele, Stormzy, Britney) and Jin Jin (Jess Glynne) and am a huge fan of both of them. This one got a great reaction at my album playback, and all the fans’ faces lit up, which was really cool to see. The middle eight is my favourite part of the song and makes me feel really powerful listening to it! It’s quite upbeat for me and I think I’ll definitely consider doing more of this in future.
I originally wrote this song with a TV sync in mind, thinking the chorus could soundtrack some sort of sporting event. I wrote this one in my bedroom, and as I was writing it I felt like it became more of a personal story of career ambition, so I decided to tailor it to me. It’s not supposed to come across as cocky or arrogant, it’s more a mantra of self-belief. It’s the motivational track amongst more vulnerable ones.
Probably one of the most personal tracks on the record. I wrote it after finding out one of my best friends was pregnant. We were 21 or 22 at the time and I remember realizing at this moment that our youth was fading from us, and we were moving into early adulthood. We’ve always been a really close group of 12 girls, and it was a time when we were all going off in different directions. Exciting, but also nerve-wracking. It’s really cool to see how we are all happy with the different paths we’ve chosen, and I think this song is quite empowering because it’s saying whatever you choose to do as a woman, it’s your choice and it’s okay.
“Things I Say When You Sleep”
This one is about my current relationship and all the intricacies of it. I wrote it about when my boyfriend and I were getting back together when I was 21. I think getting back with an ex is quite a risky thing, and neither of us really knew what was happening or what it was going to become. I knew I had feelings I wanted to express, but because I’d hurt him in the past, I had to be so sure of how I felt before saying anything. That’s where the “when you sleep” element comes in; it’s me telling him how I feel and getting what I want to say off my chest, but him being asleep and having no idea I’ve said it. I think it also reflects on two opposites coming together and working really well because of it.
Written in 2014 after our first breakup, “Last December” was never intended for this record. It’s a song that reminisces on all the amazing, memorable parts of the relationship. I always thought back positively on my relationship with him and I think that’s quite rare. It’s always been a fan favorite and I got so many messages begging me to record it, so it was originally going to be a secret track, but we all loved it so much when I recorded it that I put it on the official track list. It follows “Things I Say When You Sleep” perfectly, because it’s about the same relationship.
“The Sun Will Come Up, the Seasons Will Change”
I always knew this would be the last song on the album. It perfectly sums up the journey of it for me. I wrote the lyrics whilst wandering around Parsons Green [in London], and by the pool at my gym. I always feel really inspired by water, which is where some of the artwork inspiration came from. The title is to remind you that whatever you’re going through isn’t going to be permanent. It’s something I’ll always live by and I think it offers comfort and reassurance during difficult times.
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES
02/23 – Dallas, TX – House Of Blues Cambridge Room
02/24 – Austin, TX – Antone’s
02/26 – Atlanta, GA – Vinyl
02/27 – Nashville, TN – The High Watt
03/01 – Washington, DC – Union Stage
03/02 – New York, NY – Le Poisson Rouge
03/05 – Boston, MA – Great Scott
03/06 – Philadelphia, PA – Voltage Lounge
03/07 – Uncasville, CT – Wolf Den @ Mohegan Sun
03/09 – Toronto, ON – Velvet Underground
03/11 – Chicago, IL – Schubas Tavern
03/12 – St. Paul, MN – Amsterdam Bar & Hall
03/13 – Milwaukee, WI – Back Room @ Colectivo
03/15 – Denver, CO – Lost Lake Lounge
03/16 – Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
03/19 – Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy
03/20 – San Francisco, CA – Swedish American Hall
03/23 – Portland, OR – Holocene
03/24 – Seattle, WA – Columbia City Theater