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Nadine Shah – Getting To Know You: It’s a no to small hands and yoga, yes to Nick Cave and musicals

South Shields songwriter is the latest artist to take our questionnaire

Inspired by her brother’s work as a documentary maker, Nadine Shah’s latest album, ‘Holiday Destination’, is a piece of work influenced by the Calais refugee crisis, the on-going Syrian civil war and the rise of nationalism, as well as topics of mental health, which she’s always given a voice to. She also hates tapping and yoga, and refuses to die – literally, she’s not up for it.

The best piece of advice you’ve been given
I met Nancy Sinatra at a radio show I was doing once; she gave me some life changing advice. I can’t remember what it was.

Your favourite word
‘Precipitation’.

Your pet-hate
People that tap. Not tap dancing – I like that.

If you could only eat one food forever, it would be
Steamed dumplings.

The worst job you’ve had
Makeup counter. They made me wear their makeup brand and insisted on putting the makeup on me. I looked like a pantomime dame.

The film you can quote the most of
Withnail and I.

Favourite place in the world
Istanbul. It is (well, was but is sadly changing) the perfect balance of east meets west.

Your style icon
Patti Smith.

The one song you wished you’d written
‘Into My Arms’ by Nick Cave.

The most famous person you’ve met
John Cale. I played a show with him earlier this year and he was just as cool as you’d hope him to be.

Listen to Nadine Shah – a recent guest on our Midnight Chats podcast

The thing you’d rescue from a burning building
My doll, Katrin.

Your guilty pleasure
Musicals.

Your first big extravagance
I love cooking and bought a knife for nearly £200.

The worst present you’ve received
A minion cuddly toy (the little one not even one of the big ones that dance) from an ex-boyfriend for my 30th birthday. We broke up a few hours later.

The characteristic you most like about yourself
I’m pretty generous I think.

Your hidden talent
Rapping.

Your favourite item of clothing
Presently it’s this blue shirt/jacket thing. It’s got loads of secret pockets.

Your biggest disappointment
Not being able to do cartwheels.

The celebrity that pisses you off the most even though you’ve never met them
Peter Kay.

Your biggest fear
Dying. I’m not up for it.

The best book in the world
The Brother Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

People’s biggest misconception about you
That I’m lazy.

Who would play you in a film of your life?
My brother Ricky Shah. He’s an actor and looks a lot like me but is about a foot taller and a bit hairier… and a bloke.

What is success to you?
Knowing I stuck to my guns and not having regrets.

What talent do you wish you had?
To do cartwheels.

How would you choose to die
I’m not dying.

What is the most overrated thing in the world?
Yoga.

What, if anything, would you change about your physical appearance?
I’d like to have a bigger arse.

What’s your biggest turn-off?
Small hands.

What would you tell your 15-year-old self?
To finish art school and not drop out.

Your best piece of advice for others?
If you think you may have a mental illness then don’t be ashamed to talk about it. People are a lot kinder and more understanding than you may think.

There are loads more Getting To Know You answers in our series, from the likes of Marianne Faithful, Noodle from Gorillaz and Erol Alkan – check them out here.

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