Broad Notes w/ Nick Broadhurst
Turning ‘gibberish’ into a groundswell, Nick Broadhurst writes powerful songs that deliver emotion directly to the listener. We had a chance to ask him about his process, his inspirations and who he may want to share the stage with (his answer may come as a surprise).
SB (StarBeat): Start-Up: How did you get started in music?
NB (Nick Broadhurst): I was given a flute at school when I was 9 and immediately felt a strong pull to playing instruments. But the flute wasn’t ‘cool’ enough so I convinced the bandmaster to let me have a go on the sax, and never looked back. The feeling of playing jazz solos and getting lost in the moment was magical for an 11 year old, and that feeling is still what makes me keep coming back. It wasn’t until I started playing piano just 5 years ago now that I finally found that missing part of me as a vocalist.
I literally found my voice.
SB: Pen to Paper: What is your songwriting process like?
NB: Every track I have released has been a pretty effortless process. The songs just come to me in a matter of minutes. For me it is never planned. I just have to show up at the piano and see what comes out. If an idea really moves me, whether it be through happiness or tears, I know I am onto something and tend to follow the feeling of the song. It normally starts with the whole song being sketched out in Logic Pro with just vocal and piano, then I start playing with structure until I have the basics nailed such as verse, chorus and bridge. The lyrics at this stage are total gibberish. I just sing sounds that fit the length of each phrase. And lastly, I tend to sit down and write lyrics for about an hour.
There tends to be a key word or phrase that stands out during the ‘gibberish’ phase of putting the song together. I feel into that key word or phrase and develop a story which then allows the lyrics to flow. Some songs I produce about 90% of the way, while others I will take a basic template to my producer (Scott Horscroft on my first album) and work them together if I know he has a skillset better suited to the production. It’s a very organic process which I thoroughly enjoy.
SB: Transmission: What message would you like your music to portray?
NB: My music has always been simply sharing my most vulnerable moments with the listener. I am not sure there is a particular message, rather more a feeling. When I write a song I am transported into a state of what feels to me like… love. You know that feeling when you get goosebumps and lose track of time? That’s the feeling I want listeners to walk away with, while being open enough for them to create a message that feels true to them in that moment.
SB: Origins: Are there any artists you are particularly inspired by?
NB: So many! I would have to say my greatest influence has been Thom Yorke. He is so unapologetically Thom. And his voice is just sublime. Songs like Weird Fishes literally inspired me to start singing well into my music career. I don’t know how I didn’t sing before my solo career. It’s who I am now on so many levels. Other artists who have made me want to be more with my music would be James Blake, Chris Martin, SOHN and Daniel Johns. They are all artists who have created careers doing it their way, which is what makes them so great. But now as I slip more and more into being a producer and taking control of my sound, I totally geek out on doing binge research sessions on certain producers like Brian Eno, George Martin, Paul Epworth and Rick Rubin. They are my new superheroes.
SB: New Release: Can you tell us a bit about your powerful music video ‘Ever Wondered’?
NB: This song has quite a different tone to every other song on the album. It’s not as intimately personal but more a song for the world. The instrumentation is really stripped back to just a NORD Synth, vocal and some atmospherics to round it out. So with such a lean song, I wanted the music video to really have a single point of focus, which is where the idea for using faces from all over the world came from. I was actually working on another music video for Open Wide with cinematographer Ben Mac when we realised the concept of faces was not working, but I knew it was perfect for Ever Wondered and we made the switch. It worked straight away. These faces have me totally spellbound. You hear the song, but you really ‘see’ them at the same time.
SB: Manifest: Do you have any dream venue or duet partner?
NB: Ever since I heard ‘Stay’ by Mikky Ekko and Rihanna, the thought of partnering with a female vocalist has been top of mind. I actually wrote Open Wide as a duet but decided it worked better solo. If I had to pick a dream duet partner I would most definitely say Rihanna. Not so much for her level of fame, but more for her tone and seductiveness. I think the play between masculine and feminine is super fascinating in music and can’t wait to have that perfect duet song to materialise. That said I also think male duets are rarely done but can be so powerful. Someone like Daniel Johns would be a dream because we are such different people and I would love to play with that tension in a song. As for venues, I am actually creating my own dome show where I wrap the audience in 3-dimensional imagery, perfect sound, dance and aromatherapy. I want to create the world’s first multisensory live concert.
Nick on Social: