Get To Know… Nell Mescal

We meet the Irish songwriter ahead of her performance at The Great Escape’s First Fifty!

Hello and welcome to DIY’s introducing feature, Get To Know… getting you a little bit closer to the buzziest new acts that have been catching our eye as of late, and working out what makes them tick.

Recently we’ve met London-based musician Ellie Bleach, Bristol artist Bingo Fury, CVC, rising musician and producer pinkpirate, Houston-born alternative artist d4vd, and now we’re introducing you to Nell Mescal!

As the dark nights start drawing in, it might feel like summer 2023 is a long way off, but don’t get too downtrodden; The Great Escape are here just in time to give us a first taste of what’s to come next year!

As ever, the Brighton fest will be holding its opening ‘do later this week when it takes over East London for its now-annual First Fifty event. Giving fans a chance to see some of new music’s finest six months ahead of the full shebang, they’ll host 50 acts from The Great Escape’s line-up across eight of the capital’s venues on Tuesday 15th November.

As well as featuring a whole host of DIY favourites - including the likes of Grove, Jessica Winter and Witch Fever - we’ll be taking over the Moth Club to bring you a very special evening of new music, with performances from enigmatic party-starters The Dinner Party, Essex-based quartet She’s In Parties, and the spine-tingly songwriter Nell Mescal…

We caught up with the Irish rising star to get to know her a little bit better.

Describe your music to us in the form of a Tinder bio.
Two truths and a lie: I am sad. I am relatable. I am over all my trauma.

What’s your earliest musical memory?
Off the top of my head my earliest musical memory is listening to Mary Chapin Carpenter’s albums and screaming the lyrics to ‘Shut Up and Kiss Me’ when I was about four or five years old.

Who were some artists that inspired you when you were just starting out (and why)?
When I started writing music I was heavily influenced by Birdy; I have every album on CD and would play her music every day in the car. Then I kind of started going back to country music and early Taylor Swift before finding artists like Phoebe Bridgers and Bon Iver. They are all such incredible songwriters and I wanted to write songs that made people feel heard the way I felt when I put those artists on.

You’re originally from Kildare, nearish Dublin! What do you think of the music scene in either place at the moment?
I moved to London right when I turned 18 and had music out so kind of missed out on being immersed in the Irish music scene, but there is much incredible music coming out of Ireland right now, it’s really exciting! I’ve also found so many Irish artists here in London, it’s such a lovely community!

Are there any other artists breaking through at the moment that you take inspiration from?
There are so many! I’m surrounded by so many up and coming artists and friends. Lately I’ve been really inspired by Phoebe Green and Searows. Both artists released incredible albums this year with some of my favourite songs right now - I can’t stop listening.

Who would be your dream collaborator?
This is such a tough one [because] I have so many. I’m gonna say Taylor Swift considering she is currently my screensaver - manifesting that at all times! Although I think if I ever meet Taylor Swift it would just be me sobbing in a corner.

Musically or otherwise, what are you most looking forward to over the next year?
I’m opening for Phoebe Green on her UK tour and I am so excited, it’s going to be so much fun. Also I’m too excited for Christmas already.

If people could take away one thing from your music, what would it be?
It might be a simple answer - and probably very cringey - but that you aren’t alone in what you go through and it’s OK to feel like shit because someone relates. I write things to make myself feel better and when that doesn’t work I just hope that it made someone else feel something, even if it’s just from one line of a song.

You’re going to be playing our First Fifty show this month! What should people expect from your set? Why should they come and check you out?
I can’t wait! I’m playing with my band and they are incredible, so you should expect a set full of me telling bad jokes, oversharing, singing a load of new songs and having a lot of fun with my friends on stage. If you like sad songs about feeling angry at people that hurt you, this is gonna be the best night of your life…

Nell Mescal will play DIY’s First Fifty showcase with The Dinner Party and She’s In Parties at Moth Club on Tuesday 15th November.

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