An Interview With: Nadia Rose

Being made to wait around in a downpour isn’t often worth it, but when you’re waiting to interview Nadia Rose, one of the UK rap scene’s fastest rising – and best sounding – stars, it’s more bearable. Inside her trailer, Nadia’s DJ, stage dancers and personal beatboxer sit on sofas in the corner, chatting and laughing, whilst she’s still pacing with the seemingly limitless energy she displayed a few minutes previously on stage.

Rewind half an hour, the sun is shining and Nadia Rose is swiftly convincing a rather large crowd that she’s one of the best MCs around. “The set was brilliant, the sun came out for us and everything!” Nadia enthuses, just as happy and bouncy in person as she is when performing. “We did Bestival last year and we had a late slot at Shy FX’s Party On The Moon” she explains, “so coming in early on the main stage I was a bit sceptical, thinking ‘are they gonna match it?’ But they came out, they came out in numbers!”

“Bestival both times has been incredible,” she continues “I’ll play the small stage or the main one, I’ll do both, I’ll do these and the other ones!” Will she be sticking around for the rest of the festival? “Yeah pretty much, in the rain, we’ve got some umbrellas so we should be fine, but I’ve got my legs out so I’m not sure. We all thought it’d be sunny.” When asked who she’s sticking around for, Nadia pauses, before replying “A Tribe Called Quest will be really sick, who else? Oh, I really wanna see Dizzee, his trailer’s next door to me so we’re neighbours. We met in the studio a couple of years ago but we haven’t seen each other since. It’ll be nice to rekindle if he remembers me. I’m just gonna go around and wherever the vibes are at, I’ll be at.”

One of the things that brought Nadia Rose to a lot of people’s attention was her placing fifth in the BBC’s Sound of 2017. “It was definitely helpful, being on the shortlist” she explains, “if people didn’t think I was credible before then it really made them stop and think ‘maybe she is…’ It really showed in the different slots I was getting, a lot more main stages, it was great.” Grime’s current popularity may have helped as well, but it’s a mixed blessing. “I don’t feel like I’m grime, but for some reason when people aren’t familiar with something they have to put it with something that they are familiar with. It’s a shame, but I’m always screaming what I am, I’m just me.”

You can check out our full Bestival review here, including a review of Nadia Rose’s storming main stage set.

Interview by Jake Hawkes

Photo by Jordan Hughes