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Close-up: An Interview With Nella Cole

Multi-talented artist Nella Cole joins us on Close-up Culture to chat about her new single All Out, female empowerment, dancing with Hailee Steinfeld, and much more.


Q: ‘All Out’ is a real feel-good and empowering hit. Can you tell us your thoughts behind it and what you feel it says about you as an artist?

A: Thanks so much! I think All Out is kind of a perfect intro to who I am as an artist and as a person. When I was writing and recording in LA, I told the producers I wanted to write a party anthem that felt like New York City. New York is my home and a big inspiration to me. In the city, you can step outside with no plan, no set destination and have an adventure. I wanted to write a song that captured that.

Its all about unapologetically living in the moment. I’m also usually the one rallying all of my friends for a night out so the song feels appropriate (laughs).

Q: You mention capturing that New York spirit and I heard you have been filming a music video in Brooklyn for ‘All Out’. What can you reveal about that?

A: I’m super excited about the All Out music video. I got to work with the incredible Hana Haley and she truly made all of my colourful, crazy, badass babe visions come to life.

I don’t want to say too much, but the video is featuring two of my real life friends and I playing dress up, dancing, and running through the streets of BK on one of the hottest nights of the summer!

Q: Can we expect more of the same from your debut EP when it comes out next year?

A: Yes! I think all of the songs are really powerful yet feminine in their own way. I like to describe the EP as “salty and sweet”. I’m also writing and recording new music and exploring different themes everyday. Can’t wait for everyone to hear more in the upcoming year!

Q: I hear you worked with female production team, Lyre, on the EP and main theme of the new project is “empowerment”. What was the atmosphere and mood like putting it together?

A: The Lyre girls are a dream to work with. The mood was like one long sleep over with your best friends where you just talk about everything. We worked super hard on the EP, but it just felt like fun.

I think we all felt fearless when creating this record. Kind of like there was nothing we couldn’t say or do. On the last day of recording we all went out and got tattoos. My first and only so it’s very special to me. A little broken heart because pain is beautiful!

Q: Who have been some of your bigger ‘empowering’ influences from the worlds of music, dance and acting?

A: I think I first became a feminist as a really little kid after seeing Gwen Stefani sing Just A Girl on MTV. I remember being so mesmerized by the song and video and feeling like: ‘wow, if she can do that I can do it too’. Of course now I understand more of what that all means.

Beyoncé was also a huge influence on me while I was growing up – and still is. Also The Power Puff Girls. ‘Nuff said (smiles).

Q: You have worked with huge stars such as Hailee Steinfeld, Zara Larson, Madonna, and Nicki Minaj on dance projects. Do you have any memories or thoughts you can share from working with talents like Hailee?

A: So many! My favourite story is that I almost didn’t get to audition for Hailee because I was late coming from a previous shoot. They were down to the final selection of girls when I got there and they tried to turn me away. I asked them if I could just learn the song/dance for “fun” since I was there anyway. They agreed and I ended up booking the job!

In general, I’ve learned so much through those experiences that I’m very thankful for. When you get to see what goes on behind the scenes you realise that everyone is human, no one can do it all alone, hard work pays off, and being humble and treating others with respect is one of the most important things.

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Photos by Hana Haley

Q: I believe you just finished a run on the off-Broadway show ‘This Ain’t No Disco’. How was that experience?

A: Being a part of This Ain’t No Disco was truly life changing. As a recording artist, I’m used to working mostly solo. Having the opportunity to sing, dance and act on stage every night with a group of incredible artists (turned family) is an unparalleled feeling.

Theatre isn’t something I was actively pursuing before, but since then so many doors have opened up and I am excited to see where it all leads! The ‘disco’ will always have a very special place in my heart.

Q: I believe you recently worked on a feature film starring Natalie Portman. What can you reveal about your experience on that project?

Q: Yes! Things I can reveal:

Vox Lux is in theaters this December!
– I play one of Natalie Portman’s backup dancers.
– Mostly all of the dancers hired were my friends in real life, which was awesome!
– Natalie Portman is the nicest human being ever.

Q: I predict 2019 will be a big year for you. What are your hopes and ambitions for next year?

Thank you! In 2019 I hope to turn my biggest dreams into reality, to kick ass, inspire others to kick ass, and be happy.


Photo credits: Hana Haley

Follow Nella on Instagram

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