Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl

As much as we think women have advanced they haven’t. It is a story like musician/actress Kate Nash’s which really rams that home.

The music industry is like a meat grinder for female artists. They in no way have equal footing or are treated like their male counterparts. Many a young female artist has been abused, mishandled and squeezed for all she is worth and then discarded like garbage. Brit Kate Nash is a name you can add to that already sizable list.

At the young age of 18 she was already a pop princess. Emerging on the music scene back in 2005 by putting songs up on MySpace, she gained momentum quickly by 2007 with the release of her debut album Made of Bricks and singles like “Foundation” and “Mouthwash”. She was deemed the darling of British music and worldwide tours and awards followed.

Just as quickly as she reached the top, she fell and fell hard. On her second album, Nash decided to go in a different direction and be more punk than pop; it did not sell well and her label dropped her.

Still not completely jaded, she decided to release her third album, Girl Talk, in 2013. It was an independent release through Have 10p Records. The music was even more punk and heavier than her previous release. As it did not sell well, Nash, under a new manager, began to tour heavily to get her music out there and, well, in plain English, to earn some cash.

Just when it felt like she might be carving out her own niche as she was able to get gigs at Coachella and Lollapalooza, she found out her manager, Gary Marella, had been stealing money from her and she was nearly bankrupt.

It was one bad thing after another for Kate Nash. All this would have broken a weaker person, but she has forged on. Her strength has been rewarded as she earned a role on the series Glow and released her fourth album, Yesterday Was Forever, in 2018. It was completely funded by her fans via Kickstarter.

It was during this time that director Amy Goldstein followed Kate Nash around to make this documentary. While I was vaguely familiar with her music, due to this film I feel like I really got to know and understand Nash.

What becomes painfully clear is how the music industry just uses female artists and does not really value their contribution or respect their talent. They just work them hard so they can make some money off of them then move on to the next young, hot thing. Respect has to be paid to Nash as a woman and an artist. She does not give up. Even when she is practically homeless. A true artist she uses what she is feeling to make music.

As a feminist, she continues to fight for women’s rights in the music industry and the world at large. Someone who threw her support behind Russian band Pussy Riot when members were jailed, Nash has never been a shrinking violet or resigned herself to do as she is told. She has a brain and wants to use it. There is also a heart there which wants to give as she is shown mentoring young girls who are interested in music. Encouraging them to never be discouraged and to use their voices for singing or whatever they choose.

We get a level of honesty here which we don’t often. Plenty of pop stars have made this type of film. But you can be sure that Beyonce, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber did not allow such intimate and raw footage to be taken of them. The camera is not turned off when she is breaking down crying or packing her clothes in garbage bags because she can no longer afford the rent at the place she is living. No Hollywood style happy ending happens here. After 90 minutes things are not tied up in a bow. We just see an artist who is continuing to struggle to do what she loves.

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