Somojo Magazine

Rosie Nimmo

‘lazy and mellow’ 2009
‘home’ 2010

Hi Rosie, how are you? 
Great, thanks.  Pretty busy too.

Which instruments do you play? 
Guitar and harmonica as well as just learning to play piano.

What made you decide to be a solo artist and not want to be in a band? 
I actually started off in a covers blues/rock and soul band as well as being half of a jazz/blues outfit.  However, I had all of these ideas of my own and wanted to be out there performing as myself with my own voice and songs.

Do you work with the same musicians when recording as you do when performing live? 
Yes, they’re fabulous musicians and great friends.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t yet heard you?
Really hard to do this as it is so varied.  It ranges from acoustic singer/songwriter, through jazz and blues with a fair bit of pop thrown in. 
Here are a couple of reviews which show how hard it is to categorise,

‘Listen To Your Own Voice’, an insistent acoustic pop-rocker that nods at blues and New Wave influences and offers a sort of crash course in self-analysis is another example of the range and imagination on offer, whilst the shuffling jazz of ‘Being A Child Again (In The Snow)’ sees her revisiting her youth, echoes here of the stylish vocal elegance of Eddi Reader.  

Home is an especially accomplished collection that is particularly difficult to pigeonhole, and that’s a good thing.

R2  September 2010 Issue.

Rosie Nimmo

Album: Home

Label: Kick My Heels


It's difficult to work out exactly where Rosie Nimmo sits on the acoustic spectrum, part folk, part blues, part Americana, hailing from the troubadour tradition. There's an almost timeless quality to her music. Her keen sense of observation and empathy with events going on around give "Home" a life's highways and byways feel. It's an album that's in no rush to get anywhere, just happy to take in the view and absorb the rich tapestry of the vista. The real trick is to turn that around and take the audience with you to those places; it's a trick Rosie's got off pat’.

See what I mean!?!

What have you been up to recently?
Just finished the new album ‘Home’ and now in the promotion stages before it is launched in October.  Have also played at the Wickerman festival this summer, the Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues festival and my band launched the International Book Festival Party – we had Richard Jobson up dancing to us.  He’s told me he’ll get up and sing ‘into the valley’ with us  next year!

What can your fans look forward to in the next 12 months?
Lots of live performances, more BBC radio play, some collaborative work with other, more established musicians.  Maybe a slot on Jools Holland – that would be interesting!  Some gigs in France for my French fans.

Did you always want to be in a musician/singer when younger?
Nope, changed from being an artist a few years ago although I’ve always loved music and loved to sing.

What music did you listen to while growing up?
Some really old fashioned stuff including Val Doonican (my mother’s favourite) and lots from the sixties and seventies.  Dusty Springfield, James Taylor, Taste, all the great glam rockers, David Bowie, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin.  You name it.

How long have you played your instruments?
Guitar (badly) for many years – just improving on that in the last few years.  Five years on the harmonica – a great influence from Fraser Speirs who plays with Paolo Nutini’s band.

What was your first music making experience?
Probably banging a tin drum as a child.  Actually, I remember I got up at a Butlin’s talent show when I was a little girl and singing a really maudling song ‘Nobody’s Child’ in the totally wrong key for me!  Excruciatingly embarrassing and I didn’t do anything like that again for a very long time.

What is your current equipment?
Blueridge Acoustic Electric Folk size guitar.  All of my harmonicas are Hohner Golden Melodies which are specially set up for me by a fabulous guy called Al Price who hails from the south west of Scotland.  Steck Piano.

Are you self-taught or did you have lessons?
A mixture of both really.  Having piano lessons though.

Rosie Nimmo
Photography by Belinda Love

If you had an unlimited equipment budget what would be on your shopping list?
A Hofner semi acoustic guitar – the old f hole kind.  I know someone who has one but he’s not selling.  Just bought the sweetest piano and it didn’t cost the earth.  Actually, any number of lovely guitars – Jane Sibery plays a beautiful guitar, it may be a customised Taylor.  I also know someone who has a Jimmy Moon guitar for sale which is way out of my budget.  Having said that you can only play one instrument at a time and I love the ones I already have.  I also have a Schechter Diamond series black semi acoustic guitar which has been gigged once!

Do you use the same equipment live as you do when in a studio? 

Do you have a set routine when writing and recording or does it depend on each track and the inspiration? 
Totally individual experience each time. 

Which software/recording process do you use? 
You’d have to ask Marc Pilley, my producer.  I know he uses an iMac but other than that I don’t know.  I do have an old version of Cubase that I play about with sometimes at home.

Would you sign with a major record company? 
It would depend on how much autonomy I would have.

Do you have any new recordings planned? 
Just finished two in two years and am about to start a collaborative piece of work with Marc and a couple of others that might lead to some recording.

How much involvement do you have with the arranging and production of the songs when recording? 
Very ‘hands on’ experience for me.  We’ll start with me playing my stuff to Marc and discussing it and how I hear it.  Marc then takes it away and plays about with it, adding his ideas or interpretation of what I’ve said.  We then listen to it again and take it from there.  If it’s not what I’m thinking it doesn’t stay but, more often than not, Marc is completely tuned in to what I want to do with it or to what the music is saying to him.

Is the production side of things something you’d like to get involved more in the future, maybe working with other artists?
See above re collaboration.  At the moment though I’m happy to be doing things the way I do them.

Do you find the process of recording enjoyable and does it get easier the more you do?
I absolutely love it.  I think that’s hugely down to the very positive relationship I have with Marc and the sense of a shared journey that we are on.  He’s completely tuned in to my songs and their meanings.  It gets more focussed but great fun the more I do it – don’t know about easier.  Certainly understand the process a lot more and this is helpful – it means I can add a lot more to the whole mix.

Do you try to capture your ‘live’ sound on recordings or do you think that the ‘live’ sound and recorded sound should be different experiences for your fans?
It depends on the song.  I don’t overuse effects in my songs as for me, I think it can be distracting.  Everyone is different though and there are some songs out there that are hugely enhanced by their effects – thinking David Bowie and suchlike here.

Do you have any favourite tracks on your album? 
Once again it depends on what mood I’m in.  If I’m feeling bolshie it would be ‘Listen to your own voice’, if feeling low or contemplative it would have to be ‘The End’ and if needing to ground myself, ‘Home’.  There’s a rather naughty song called ‘More’ on my first album ‘Lazy and Mellow’- I really like doing this live as it’s such fun.

Do you write songs/tracks only about personal experiences?
Mostly, although I do sometimes look outwards and try to write from a wider perspective.

Do you find song writing easy or difficult? 
Usually it just flows.  Marc told me last year that if songwriting was a wine cave I’d never have to buy a bottle again in my life.

Is there anyone who you would like to collaborate with on writing songs or performing?
See above – Marc Pilley of Hobotalk is one such person.  It would also be magic to perform with some of my all time heroes or heroines.  See next question for who they are.

Who are your favourite songwriters? 
Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Joan Armatrading, James Taylor, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits.  And many more.

Which countries have you gigged in?
Scotland, France and England.

Which countries would be at the top of your list to tour? 
It would be great to tour France –it’s a beautiful country and I speak the language.  I’m not a huge fan of travelling so if time travel existed and you could just be here one minute and somewhere else the next, probably Canada and the States.  Have been to the Czech Republic and it would be fun to gig there too.  Maybe Italy as well.

How do you promote your music and get your music out to new fans?
Via my website, my PR agency Manilla, live performances and the radio plays that I get.

Do you use any websites like ‘Reverbnation’ or ‘Soundclick’?
Haven’t actually properly embrace Reverbnation yet although I think I may have registered with them a year or so ago.  Not Soundclick.  Technology is great but you need to have the time to get to grips with it and I don’t have the time yet.

Do you think such sites and the internet are good tools for independent and unsigned artists?
I think they’re great as you don’t need a lot of backing to get up and running.  What you do need is time (see above) so that would maybe suit people who are time rich.

With all the various websites out there for independent and unsigned artists, is there still something that is missing from them that you think would benefit the lesser-known artists?

How do you relax?
Walking my dog on the beach in all weathers.  Playing guitar.  Practicing piano.  Drinking good wine and eating good food in good company.

What's your best/worst experience at a gig?
Best experience was probably playing support for Eric Bibb earlier this year in the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh.  I think  I enjoyed it so much hugely because my band members were having such a great time too.
Worst – singing ‘nobody’s child’ in the wrong key when a child.  See above.

Do you get nervous before a gig- how do you calm down?
Sometimes I get nervous before the more intimate gigs (never usually a problem with the bigger ones – seems odd to me too!).  I just distract myself with something else to think about.  Oh that and make sure I’m as well prepared as I can be – makes a bid difference if I know I’ve done as much as I can to make it a positive experience.

What else do you do apart from being a singer/songwriter?
I teach a variety of subjects including art and music to adults who have additional support needs.

Would you like to be a full time working musician or are you happy with things as they are?
I’d love to have the time to just devote myself to music but have got a good work/life balance at the moment.

Has your music been used on any film soundtracks?
Not yet.

Is it something you’d like to get involved in if the opportunity came along?
Yes.  Watch this space….

Is there anything you'd like to add?
Hope you all enjoy listening to my music.  Thanks for inviting me to make my contribution to your magazine. 
Best wishes, Rosie

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