Wicked Women Wednesdays: Nina Bardette

Nina Bardette.. a wonderful young woman with a talent for captivating her audience; transporting them to a place far far from here. I'm thinking trees, mountains, snow... Nina calls it home, I call it the idyllic landscape of Poland.

Sitting in the summer sun enjoying lunch in the courtyards of Covent Garden, I had the pleasure of delving into the life of the intriguing Nina Bardette, a London singer songwriter. Born into a Polish family in Rochdale, Nina is a beautiful juxtaposition, breaking the mould and creating new music, an amalgamation of pop culture, cinematic sounds and traditional Polish Folk.

Though English born, Nina has taken plenty of inspiration from her heritage. Nina's eyes light up as she deliberates her love of Polish culture, and how her roots have influenced her artistic style. "It was a lightbulb moment," she enthuses, "I was creating a more cinematic sound, but I have always identified with the Polish culture I had been surrounded by my whole life.. exploring and delving into my roots made me tap into something, something important to me."

Nina and I met on a course in East London at the British Academy of New Music. In a class of talented and driven people, Nina stood out for her haunting and rather eerie vocals. Her voice can move any audience, and along with her stylistic elements, she captivates anyone who's ears and eyes are nearby.

Something that is so amazingly refreshing about Nina Bardette is how far she has gone to ensure her music is authentic. She travels to Poland regularly to connect with her roots, bringing back more creatives with her each time to join her on her artistic journey. Her band members are all internationally acclaimed Polish highlander musicians, "undiscovered diamonds in the rough," she calls them. She is quite right, going to a Nina Bardette gig is a full experience that transports you straight to the hills of Poland. Not only has Nina created chart worthy music that immerses you in Polish culture, but going to a gig is a full sensory experience, with full Polish dress, instruments and decor.

Smiling away as Nina elaborates on her musical journey, I ask her how else she had experienced Polish culture growing up as a second generation British citizen in Lancashire. "Dance!" she beams, "I love traditional Polish dancing! As a teenager I joined a dance group in Manchester called Polonez Dance Group! I still dance, I just performed with Karolinka London on the 30th April, I love it." She goes on to show me photos of her on stage dancing in a group, grinning from ear to ear, it is obviously something that she adores.

It is so inspirational to find someone who will go to such lengths to create such a captivating display for their audience. Speaking with Nina, I want to delve into how she develops the visual style that has become her identity. "I am working with an amazing bespoke tailor and designer, her name is Dara Ford," she informs me.

As we discuss her clothing attire on stage, we enter into a different subject. "When I am on stage, I gain confidence. I delve into myself, I have an Armour on, I am fearless," Nina begins. "I become who I am when I am on stage because music is my escapism."

Nina lives by her favourite quote, 'she believed she could, so she did.' - R. S. Grey

This beautiful and talented individual, like so many other women (and men) in society has her fair share of insecurities. Nina is a minority in the music industry being 'plus size'. "We are becoming more accessible in culture, more accepting of different shapes and sizes," Nina reflects, "But we haven't mastered things like advertisement. We still need to change our perception of beauty in young girls eyes. As long as we have the term 'plus size' we still have much to learn."

Nina deliberates that she has her demons but adds that "they won't stop me." She is a strong character, and says she has her family to thank for it. "I am so proud to be from my family. I am proud that I share the same views, and I am proud of my culture. I want my children to know about their Polish roots one day." She goes on and begins to smile from ear to ear, and it's infectious! "My family are all role models, my mum and my dad, the people who brought me up, and my Grandma. My Grandma is fearless! She is 90, she has lived through wars, spoken to every type of person. She is full of advice. She told me to follow my dream. She's my best friend, she is so funny, I'd love to be like her.. I really look to her."

Meeting Nina, it's easy to see why she is so proud of her family. They have raised a grounded, loving and warm woman who firmly believes that "if you're not happy, fight for it." She has such a strength yet she is extremely humble. I am in awe, how rare is it to find someone who knows what they want and earns it with hard work?

"I want to be inspiring," she says to me, as she quietly considers her future. "I mean, I admire a lot of people, strong women particularly. I grew up on Aretha Franklin and Eva Cassidy. I really like Adele, she really paved the way, she refused to conform. Regarding my music, if someone gets taken on a journey, that is all I can ask for."

With her music already featured on films and the recent release of her dynamic and unique sound on her first EP, Spears and Swords, it is clear that the future for Nina Bardette is bright. Her talent for creating emotive and haunting popular music with threads and veins of Polish folklore is gold dust that's fast being recognised in the music industry.

Is there any advice Nina would give to her younger self? She cringes and beams, responding "I would say to believe in yourself more, to be kinder to yourself and to have less carbs!" We both laugh and begin to pack our things as the sun goes down. Nina glances over and adds "To be honest, I have no regrets, I believe in myself now."

 To conclude, I ask Nina what feminism means to her. "I knew you would ask me that!" she chuckles. "Feminism is simple. It is a woman being in control of her own life and being happy with it." I think Nina is bang on there, don't you?

All photos by Nick Savy

If you want to check out Nina Bardette for her next performance, get your tickets now before they sell out. It will be a wonderful experience that will tantalize and excite you, I can assure you of that. She will be performing at the Hideaway on the evening of Thursday 26th May.

Buy your tickets HERE. 

Buy Nina Bardette's EP. Spears and Swords HERE.

Until then, I will leave you with a little something special from Nina,

Sweet Escape - Nina Bardette

D x

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