Having alerted the UK music scene to her magic with her recent single ‘Self Care’, Nina Cobham shares her soothing new single ‘What Is This?’
Charting a journey through lilting beats paired with bossa nova melodies, Nina’s vocal - smokey and soulful - dances deftly between English and Spanish, as the 21-year-old continues to showcase her exceptional range and the weighty simplicity of her storytelling.
Feeling like eavesdropping on an intimate studio setting, ‘What Is This?’ - produced by Frankie Scoca - arrives alongside an intimate video, amplifying the song's compelling lyrics and snapshots of summer memories, with behind-the-scenes moments of making ‘What Is This?’.
Speaking about her new single, Nina explains,
“What is This?” is about seeing someone while they’re also seeing someone else (without realising & the other person not knowing) while not being the kind of person that has the patience for casual dating, or getting to know someone else for the sake of it to try to suss out whether it's a match (i.e “trial and error”). It’s about wanting something more meaningful, without being confused about what it is, and knowing you don’t have to force that with someone who’s meant to be there.” “Writing it felt like the process of detachment to the situation, honestly like writing something from an outside perspective on a scenario. From the situation turning you into someone else for a minute to wondering why you’re acting like that over a person you don’t even really like as a person and going, “go get on with it because I’m actually not attached to you” “For a long time, Spanish artists have incorporated bits of English into their music, whereas in England it feels like maybe people have only been receptive to things like that very recently. But if the music is good then it translates beyond the language.”
‘Self Care’ was Nina’s first release since 2021’s debut EP ‘what colour does this feel like?’, which includes the most well-known in her oeuvre, single ‘Interested’, currently sitting at over five million streams and personally curated on playlists by two of Nina’s childhood heroes - Demi Lovato and Christina Aguilera.
Completely devoted to her craft, for Cobham there was “no Plan B” other than music since her teens. While her classmates were shirking their GCSE revision for less productive distractions, she had her guitar confiscated in order to force her to concentrate. Around this time, Cobham had also begun to upload early demos to SoundCloud. However, when she went back to Spain that summer, the old friends and relatives she’d grown up with had a bone to pick.
“They made a joke about how I only make songs for my English family and not for them,” she explains. “It was a joke, but it had definitely come from somewhere. Because of that, when I got back I wanted to include them because some of them are from an older generation that doesn’t speak English. That was the point when things changed.”
With one foot steeped in the Spanish language that she grew up around, having spent a period of her formative years in a small mountain town absorbing the country’s rich lexicon and culture; Nina is now exacting her focus on 2022 and beyond. With more music arriving soon, her broad-reaching, bilingual storytelling feels like the natural next step for UK alternative pop.