Their respective singles – Capaldi’s spine-tingling Grace and Nesbitt’s electro pop banger Loyal To Me – are both on the coveted Radio 1 Playlist and racking up huge numbers on streaming services.
Twenty-two-year-old Capaldi’s rapid rise in the last 18 months has been a phenomenon, selling 50,000 headline show tickets across three headline tours while amassing over 200 million streams.
Nesbitt’s star is most definitely rising too, racking up over 100 million streams herself, including two million for her latest single Loyal To Me in its first two weeks alone. The 24-year-old is fresh off a US tour and recently was the only UK artist featured on the launch of Spotify’s Louder Together, a programme bringing artists together to collaborate on an original Spotify Singles song in the spirit of community, empowerment and inspiration.
Ahead of what could be the new music tour of the year, the pair discuss their mutual fandom, touring, dancing and duets.
You’re touring together, but you’re both big fans of the other’s work too, right?
Lewis: For me, this tour sums it all up. About three or four years ago I was buying tickets to Nina Nesbitt shows as a fan. I’ve always rated her music and thought she was brilliant. Now I get to do a six-week tour with someone I’ve been a fan of. That sums up how mental the last 18 months of my life have been.
Her new stuff is incredible too, she’s absolutely smashing it out the park with everything she’s doing and I get to watch her play every night. That’s the best bit, seeing someone who you love performing every night for free! Me and her have wrote a couple of songs together now too. It’s mental.
Nina: It’s really flattering to hear that Lewis was a fan of my music. He told me he entered a competition to support me a few years ago and didn’t win, which we laugh about now, but the fact that he’s gone on to do what he’s doing now is amazing. He’s incredibly talented and he’s really blowing up everywhere just through people being able to stream his music. We’re both from small towns in West Lothian, so it’s really great that we can be heard and get our music out there to people.
You’ve already dueted with each other at TRNSMT and more recently at a Nordoff Robbins show in London. What was that like?
Lewis: It’s so cool to be able to get up and perform with her. Any chance I get to write with her, sing with her or tour with her, I’ll jump at the opportunity as she’s so, so talented. I feel very lucky to work with someone like her on a weekly basis.
I’m not very good at singing onstage with people though, that’s the thing. I can’t do eye contact onstage, as when I sing it’s not a pretty affair. My face looks like Sloth from The Goonies. Nina’s getting into the performance and looking at the side of my face every time, but she’s teaching me as we go. Apparently, I’m getting better but I still need to work on it! We’ll get there eventually.
Nina: I’d just came back from touring in America where I had to be doing a duet as part of the show and they obviously wanted the big dramatic performance, so I was used to it by then. Lewis hasn’t been playing shows for that long, so he wasn’t all that comfortable with it initially, but I’ve been encouraging him with what I’ve learned about doing it.
We’re singing love songs, so you need to be looking at each other. It’s all about that big American production, but I don’t think it’s in a Scottish person’s nature to do that.
Going onstage with Lewis at TRNSMT was awesome. He’s brought a really big crowd and it went down really well. Then I was doing a show for Nordoff Robbins in London and he was kind enough to come down to do one of my songs off the new album with me, which really meant a lot. I really love performing with him, as it always just feels so natural.
Lewis, you do a dance routine, including pole-dancing, in the video for Grace and Nina dances in the Loyal To Me video. Are you having a virtual dance-off?
Lewis: They’re similar in that we’re both dancing but very different in execution I think. Maybe we can do some hybrid dance routine at some point.
Although my music is quite emotional, I’m very much a light individual. I don’t take myself too seriously. I still can’t believe the label let me do it, to be honest. People seem to like it though. I think of you follow me on twitter or have ever met me, it’s what you’d expect me to do. I want to get that across.
There’s a time and place for sincerity and that’s in the music, not the videos. I think nowadays it’s very much a song-based landscape, where it’s all about the songs and people don’t have to be invested in who you are to like your music. So, for me, I just want to get across as much as possible that I’m here for a laugh. I love playing music and I’m having a great time touring it, but at the end of the day, I’m here for a good time. Especially these days when everything is so serious, I think it’s important to give the folk that are letting me have this life a good laugh too.
You’ve got a full UK and European tour together ahead of you? You must be excited?
Nina: I’m so looking forward to having six weeks of dates to play with Lewis. The whole tour is really exciting and I’m really happy to be doing it with him.
Lewis: I’m really excited about the whole tour as it’s the biggest one I’ve done yet. Growing up, even the idea of doing a support slot would have blown me away. I played Oporto on my first UK tour in September last year, which was great, so it’s really exciting to be moving up another level this time and to see that people are up for coming to see us again.
Lewis Capaldi and Nina Nesbitt play at O2 Academy Leeds on November 7. www.lewiscapaldi.com www.ninanesbittmusic.com