June 1986: On the very day that The Smiths release their seminal album The Queen Is Dead, The Smiths of Nottingham welcome two new additions to the family. The twin girls grow up to be very different. Katie is sensible, academic and career focused. Nina is a daydreamer. “I was and I probably still am,” laughs the 25-year-old, who developed her talent for singing by mimicking the voices she heard on the radio, including the Spice Girls, Destiny’s Child and Tina Turner.
“I was only really focused on music.” As a teenager, Nina would record songs on her computer but didn’t have the confidence to sing in front of anyone. After hearing a CD of her music, a 6th form teacher introduced her to an inner city recording studio called CRS, a breeding ground for Nottingham hip-hop talent, including Radio 1 and 1Xtra DJ MistaJam and rapper Scorzayzee. “They took me under their wing and developed me,” says Nina.
“It was where my confidence as a performer grew.” Although her style is soulful pop, Nina has featured on numerous hip-hop tracks, including a Radio 1 session with Scorzayzee. Her debut EP, Lonely Heart Club, earned her rave reviews: ‘Definitely one to watch’ (BBC); ‘One of the most exciting new talents in the East Midlands’ (Metro); ‘The voice of angel whispering to God’ (Nottingham Post). Tracks from the EP, including remixes, have been played on BBC 6Music, 1Xtra and Absolute Radio. As well as gigs at the key venues in her home city, including the Royal Concert Hall, Rock City and Nottingham Playhouse, Nina has played shows supporting Alesha Dixon, Belinda Carlisle and Finley Quaye.