By Nina Watson
Born and raised in Zimbabwe, singer/songwriter Nina Watson developed a passion for music and singing from the time she was able to speak. She carried this musical passion with her well into her teens and eventually found herself “across the pond” with the honour of being selected to pursue a BA in Music at the acclaimed Paul McCartney Performing Arts Academy in Liverpool (LIPA). It was there that Nina’s interest in songwriting was nurtured and encouraged by masterclasses from incredible artists like Billy Ocean, Natasha Beddingfield and the man himself, Sir Paul McCartney. As her passion for singing grew with the exposure to the environment and amazing influences in Liverpool, Nina discovered a new love for writing and creating her music and sound.
LIPA provided the ideal opportunity for Nina to explore her sound and who she was as an artist. She had the privilege of singing on the remake of the single, ‘He ain’t heavy he’s my brother’ (originally sung by The Holly’s) in aid of the Hillsborough disaster and it came in at number 1 in the UK charts. Armed with her undergraduate degree, Nina went on to gain her Masters in Popular Music at the Goldsmiths University of London.
Since returning to her Zimbabwe, the place where her heart has always felt most at home, Nina has been writing and collaborating with a number of African producers and musicians. The abundance of creativity, colourful spirit, rhythm, melodies and music from the continent has been a constant source of inspiration for the dark-haired songbird. Her original and unique melodies infused with RnB beats are carried by her warm, soulful voice with rich tones with the ability to captivate you and get you moving and singing along. She also has the ability to silence crowds and reach somewhere deep within you through her more ballad songs and raw lyrics.
Each performance has been unique, with some more nerve wracking than others and despite her quiet confidence, Nina admits to catching a bout of stage fright before performances. “This is something I think never quite goes away and so it shouldn’t. A little bit of adrenaline always keeps you focused, energized and ready to give it your all!” However, with continuous practice, she has learned how to take the pressure off of herself by focusing on having a great time and pursuing her passion.
Nina recently represented Zimbabwe as a contestant and finalist in the Afrimusic Song Contest, one of Africa’s largest song competitions with her soon to be released song ‘Close to me.’ She made her debut performance with some of her new collaborations on the final evening at this years’ Harare International Festival of Arts (HIFA) on the Coco-cola Green Stage.
The exciting news is that Nina will be releasing new singles soon…So keep an eye out but more importantly, an ear, listen to this space!
Originally published in Ndeipi Magazine