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North-East born indie singer-songwriter Nadine Shah returns to Sage Gateshead after a breakthrough 2015/16 which saw the rapid success of her album Fast Food, sell out shows, an appearance at Glastonbury in 2015, supporting Bryan Ferry at 2016’s Mouth of the Tyne Festival and becoming a darling of BBC 6 Music.
For most of us, 2016 was a tumultuous and ugly year – one steeped in political chaos and an air of uncertainty. For Nadine Shah, these headlines had been a big part of her life for years, and Holiday Destination – her brilliant and compelling third album out on 1965 Records – sees her stepping out of the shadow of the complicated relationships she examined on her second album Fast Food and taking account of the world at large.
“So on this one trip to the States,” Shah recalls, “I’m taken to the other side of the airport in this room where everyone in the room has brown skin – and they’re all looking at me like ‘what are you doing here?!’ I just made this joke, I just said – ‘oh, I’m Pakistani.’ And then everyone started to laugh. But it’s just like – that’s totally about a rise in nationalism that I’m seeing. It’s completely terrifying. Even on Twitter I’ve had people telling me ‘oh, go back to where you’ve come from’ – and I’m like what? South Shields? It’s a proper identity crisis for me. I’m a second-generation immigrant – I was born in England, I’m very English – proper English, mate!” she jokes, before adding “but I’m also culturally Muslim.”
Whereas some artists may stumble in putting their agenda across, Nadine Shah does not falter – whether it’s the confidence exuded in the one-two punch of ‘2016’ and ‘Out the Way’, or the emotional and heartfelt vocal turns on ‘Mother Fighter’ and ‘Jolly Sailor’, this is Nadine using her exceptional voice to put her inner workings in perspective and the world’s problems on trial in one of 2017’s most crucial albums.