Strawberry-haired songstress Kate Nash might be riding high in her native Britain right now, thanks to her whimsical, chart-topping Made of Bricks debut and its sing-along flagship single "Foundations." But only two years ago, the future was looking fairly bleak. Nash had carefully honed her stage chops at a London performing arts academy, even scripted her own short film and a full-length play. Naturally, she thought she'd be a shoo-in at the swank Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. But she was way off the mark.
"Drama schools are really difficult places to get in," she now understands. "They usually accept only 12 people a year, and some people end up auditioning three years in a row and then finally getting in somewhere. But I really wanted to be there."
In one 24-hour period, her dreams literally fell apart. First, she was horrified to receive a Dear Jane letter from said college.
"This was the fickle, fateful day," she says, sighing. "And I hate how you'll concentrate everything, and then in one line, you'll know the truth. So I didn't tell anyone about my rejection letter and just carried on. I stormed off and went to the cinema, and I ended up watching Brokeback Mountain, all by myself. Happy, happy times.
"And in the evening, I was gonna go see a play, but I literally fell from the top of my stairs."
It was a few hours later when Nash realized what had actually occurred: She'd broken her foot, and would require not only a leg cast but several weeks of bed rest to recuperate.
And therein hangs the tale. Confined to her parents' house, she was presented with an amp and electric guitar by her sympathetic family, and she promptly began writing songs in earnest. She'd played piano as a kid, toyed with an acoustic six-string. But the wry, conversational vignettes she came up with proved the perfect Vic-less solution: Laptop-tracked meldings of her dramatic ear and a lo-fi melodic sensibility, they'd earn public acclaim via self-booked club gigs and in the star-making arena of MySpace ( la one of her chief supporters, Lily Allen).
After only one concert, Nash was convinced. She phoned her straight-job boss and boldly declared, ""I'm very sorry, but opportunities have arisen that are steps in the right direction toward my career.' And I never went back one show had given me the idea that this would be my life."
From then on, Nash was fearless. To the point where Bricks (on Fiction/Geffen) comes stickered with a "Parental Advisory: Explicit Content" warning, for Cockney-salted vernacular in ditties like "Dickhead," penned about a female bully she endured in high school. And she's unusually proud of this fact.
"I'm like Eminem!" Nash says, cackling. "And I am quite frank. I don't like to be crude and I don't say things just to be shocking, but I do swear. And I love singing "Dickhead' it makes people in the audience go "Hey, waidaminnut! Am I the one being a dickhead?'"