Hi Nell, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Better now that I’m in the countryside! I spent all of lockdown in my Manhattan apartment, and it was pretty intense after awhile. Right now there’s a heatwave in the city, so we managed to escape for some fresh air.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “These Changes”?
I recorded this during lockdown, performing my vocals and guitars in my apartment — I had to start again every time a siren went by! — and getting my band to record their bits in Scotland and London. I think if we didn’t know each other so well as a band, and if we hadn’t played so many shows together, it would have felt less organic than it ended up being. The title sort of reflects what is happening in music right now, with everyone working remotely, in that respect.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Marriage can be really hard, and especially these past few months have been challenging not just for me, but for a lot of people I know. 2020 is a year we’ll ever forget, right? The song is about when things have changed irrevocably in a relationship, when things are really really hard, and what to do when you feel that separated and unhappy.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
I wanted to get across the idea that there are different voices that sway me when I’m trying to make a decision — there’s the super optimist and the horrible pessimist, the angel and the black swan. Then there’s the real “me” in the center, caught between it all and trying to be true to myself. I wanted to use a backdrop of New York City, the town where I was born and raised. I moved back here this year, after being in London for a decade, and it’s a place that is really meaningful for me, since it’s so familiar.
The single comes off your new album The Collection – what’s the story behind the title?
I know, it sounds a bit like a meeting of mafioso godfathers, lol! It’s a collection of my radio singles — 21 in all. I didn’t want to call it a “Best Of” because that sounds like I’m over-the-hill, and actually I feel like I’m finally hitting my stride as a songwriter.
What made you want to release a sort of an anthology album this time around?
When my 20th single went on radio this spring, it was such a lovely round number, I thought it would be time to pop a cork and celebrate a bit. I’m not one to ever listen back to songs I’ve released — I listen obsessively when I’m working on them in the studio, but once they’re done I never go back, so it was interesting to listen to them as a whole and relive the moments of my life again, like postcards from places I was and things I was going through.
How was the recording and re-writing process?
Everything was different because of COVID. I wrote the song over FaceTime with a songwriter in Nashville, Jeff Cohen. To record it, I took an acoustic engineering class and got myself a home studio, so I could still work during lockdown, and I was able to map out the songs in Logic Pro and record my parts myself, and then send it to London to be mixed.
What was the selection process for the songs? Did you based them on any particular element or sound?
The songs are the radio singles that went on the BBC Radio 2 playlist – and we’ve used the radio mixes so some of them have never been released in this form before.
What else is happening next in Nell Bryden’s world?
Well, I just found out that my latest single “These Changes” went on the playlist today, so I’m on Cloud 9! I spent the morning writing a new song called “Brooklyn Bridge” to celebrate.
‘These Changes’ is out now. The Collection’ is out September 4th via 157 Records.