Nina Nastasia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Nina Nastasia
Nina Nastasia (crop).jpg
Background information
Born (1966-05-13) May 13, 1966 (age 55)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active1999–present
Associated actsJim White

Nina Maria Nastasia[1] (/nəˈstɑːziə/ nuh-stAH-ssee-uh;[2] born May 13, 1966)[3] is an American folk singer-songwriter. A native of Los Angeles, she first came to prominence in New York City in 2000 after Radio 1 disc jockey John Peel began giving her debut album, Dogs, airplay. The album earned Nastasia a cult following, and was re-released in 2004.[4] Her fifth studio album release, You Follow Me (2007), was a collaboration with Australian drummer Jim White of Dirty Three.

As of 2020, Nastasia has released a total of six studio albums, each produced by Steve Albini. Her musical style has been described as folk and country-influenced with neo-Gothic overtones,[5][6] often featuring sparse acoustic guitar accompanied by string arrangements.


Nina Nastasia was born and raised in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California and is of Calabrian-Italian and Irish descent.[7] As a child, she studied piano and often wrote short stories, but has said she had no aspirations of becoming a professional musician.[2]

She began writing songs in 1993,[8] and released her first album, Dogs, in 2000. Only 1,500 copies of the album were initially pressed, with Nastasia putting together the album packaging herself in her apartment. Nastasia sold them at her shows, quickly selling all of them. By the end of the year 2000, the album was out of print. Famed DJ John Peel took notice of the album (calling it "astonishing") after having been given a copy by Steve Albini. Peel began playing songs from it frequently on his radio show on BBC Radio 1.[2] The album helped earn Nastasia a cult following.[9]

Nastasia performing in Italy, 2007

Nastasia has released six albums, one in collaboration with Jim White. Her first album, Dogs, was initially released in 2000 on Socialist Records. Her subsequent albums, The Blackened Air (2002) and Run to Ruin (2003), were released on indie label Touch and Go Records, which also re-released Dogs in 2004, followed by a national tour; in CMJ, music journalist Kara Zuaro reviewed a live show promoting Run to Ruin, noting: "Nastasia hearkens back to a time when chamber music was a performed as a pastime for the players, rather than a spectator sport for the blue -blooded. When an audience applauds her live performances, she and her congenial New York City-based orchestra, minus the singing saw player who left to join the circus, turn to smile at each other."[10]

In 2006, On Leaving was released on Fat Cat Records. In 2007, an album on which she collaborated with Jim White entitled You Follow Me was released through Fat Cat. All of Nastasia's albums to date were recorded by Steve Albini, who has ardently praised her music in a number of interviews. Nastasia subsequently recorded six sessions for late BBC disc jockey John Peel's show.[2] The last one was recorded with the help of Tuvan throat singing group Huun-Huur-Tu. Two of Nastasia's songs were included in Peel's annual Festive Fifty: "Ugly Face" (ranked 4th in 2002) and "You, Her & Me" (ranked 13th in 2003).[11]

A 7-inch single, titled "What She Doesn't Know" was released on February 25, 2008. The single featured the title track, along with the song "Your Red Nose". Both tracks were recorded by Steve Albini during the On Leaving sessions. Nastasia has called the single "a good complement to You Follow Me".[12] A solo American and European tour coincided with the release of the single. The single "Cry, Cry, Baby" was released on May 10, 2010, internationally and May 18 in the US.[13] Her sixth studio album, Outlaster, followed on June 7, 2010.[14]

Nastasia disappeared from the public eye for several years.[4] In September 2017, she performed at the Electrical Audio 20th anniversary party at The Hideout Block Party in Chicago, Illinois.[15] On December 14, 2018,[16] she released the non-album single "Handmade Card".[17] In October 2020, Nastasia issued a statement for her fans on Bandcamp which read: "I've been away for a long while now, but I just finished recording a new album with Steve Albini. I'm going to be working hard over the next few months to get those songs out to you and many more in the near future."[18]

Musical style[edit]

Nastasia's music has been noted by journalists and critics for blending elements of folk and Americana,[19] with Gothic overtones.[4] Her music has been likened to that of Tom Waits, Devendra Banhart, Neko Case, and Cat Power.[19] Her songs prominently feature acoustic guitar, often with various string arrangements accompanying, including cello, violin, and viola.[20][21]


Nastasia has stated in interviews that she knows little of musical history, and had not originally intended to become a musician.[2] She has commented that she is a fan of films, particularly horror films.[22]




  • "What She Doesn't Know" (2008)
  • "Cry, Cry, Baby" b/w "Our Gang" (promo)(2010)
  • "You Can Take Your Time" b/w "One Turned In" (2010)
  • "Handmade Card" (2018)


  • 2001 "I Will Never Marry", on the compilation album Comes with a Smile, Volume 3 – Pretty Together
  • 2005 "The Matter (of Our Discussion)", on the Boom Bip album Blue Eyed in the Red Room (Lex)
  • 2005 "Bird of Cuzco", song on John Peel: A Tribute compilation (WEA)
  • 2009 "Repulsion", on the compilation album Black and White, given free with issue No. 12 of Esopus[23]
  • 2010 "Outside the Haus Tambaran", "Sand Reflection" and "Final Call" from the David Corter album Didgeridoo Dimensions[24]
  • 2018 "The Poisoner" on the Daniel Knox album Chasescene[25]

Band members[edit]

  • Nina Nastasia, vocals and guitars
  • Steven Beck, piano (Run to Ruin, On Leaving)
  • Jay Bellerose, drums (The Blackened Air, On Leaving, Outlaster)
  • Paul Bryan, bass, orchestral arrangements (Outlaster)
  • Joshua Carlebach, accordion (Dogs, The Blackened Air, Run to Ruin)
  • Oto Carillo, French horn (Outlaster)
  • Stephen Day, cello (Dogs, The Blackened Air, Run to Ruin, Outlaster)
  • Kennan Gudjonsson, piano (Dogs)
  • Anne Mette Iversen, double bass (Run to Ruin)
  • Juliann Klopotic, violin (Dogs)
  • Rubin Kodheli, cello (On Leaving)
  • Gerry Leonard, guitar, mandolin (Dogs, The Blackened Air, Run to Ruin)
  • June Matayoshi, oboe, English horn (Outlaster)
  • Gonzalo Muñoz, saw (Dogs, The Blackened Air)
  • Jeff Parker, guitar (Outlaster)
  • Dave Richards, bass (Dogs, The Blackened Air, Run to Ruin)
  • Jason Stein, bass clarinet (Outlaster)
  • Matt Szemela, violin (Outlaster)
  • Amie Weiss, violin (Outlaster)
  • Jim White, drums (Run to Ruin, On Leaving, You Follow Me)
  • Dylan Willemsa, viola, violin (The Blackened Air, Run to Ruin, On Leaving)
  • Peter Yanowitz, drums (Dogs)
  • Lev 'Ljova' Zhurbin, viola (Outlaster)


  1. ^ Elster, Robert J.; Tyndall, Amy (2008). International Who's Who in Popular Music 2008 (10th ed.). London, England: Routledge. p. 373. ISBN 978-1-857-43454-5.
  2. ^ a b c d e "N is for...Nina Nastasia". John Peel Archive. YouTube. September 30, 2013. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  3. ^ "Nina M. Nastasia, Born 05/13/1966 in Los Angeles County". California Birth Index. California Vital Records and Statistics. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Seven Haunted Ladies of Folk Noir". Bandcamp Daily. November 18, 2016. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  5. ^ Spin Staff (September 14, 2007). "Nina Nastasia and Jim White, 'You Follow Me'". Spin. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  6. ^ Rogers, Andy. "Nina Nastasia". BBC. Keeping it Peel. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  7. ^ Pedder, Alan (April 6, 2012). "nine things you never knew about nina nastasia". Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 15, 2008. Retrieved May 6, 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Murray, Robin (March 31, 2012). "Nina Nastasia Album Preview". Clash. Clash Music. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  10. ^ Zuaro, Kara (July 2003). "Rise to Ruin". CMJ. Best New Music: 45 – via Google Books. open access
  11. ^ Nina Nastasia's page at BBC's John Peel website Access date: October 13, 2010.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 6, 2008. Retrieved January 26, 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Cry, Cry, Baby" press release information Archived April 27, 2012, at WebCite Access date: March 29, 2010.
  14. ^ Incoming: Nina Nastasia release information Archived April 27, 2012, at WebCite Access date: March 29, 2010.
  15. ^ "The Hideout Block Party: Electrical Audio 20th Anniversary". The Hideout Chicago. Archived from the original on February 14, 2018. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  16. ^ "Handmade Card | Nina Nastasia". Bandcamp. December 14, 2018. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  17. ^ Beer, David (January 5, 2019). "Nina Nastasia: Handmade Card – Single Review". Louder Than War. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  18. ^ "Nina Nastasia's Community". Bandcamp. October 11, 2020. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  19. ^ a b Weingarten, Christopher R. (June 2, 2003). "Nina Nastasia". CMJ. Reviews: 6 – via Google Books. open access
  20. ^ Crock, Jason (June 29, 2010). "Nina Nastasia: Outlaster". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  21. ^ "Nina Nastasia". Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  22. ^ Snapes, Laura (June 16, 2010), "I Want To Live Forever: Nina Nastasia Interviewed", The Quietus
  23. ^ ESOPUS #12 CD: BLACK AND WHITE LYRICS/CREDITS, Retrieved 2010-11-13.
    Note: "Repulsion" listed down bottom of the page, as track 11.
  24. ^ "Nina Nastasia / Credits / AllMusic". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  25. ^ Composer Daniel Knox shares a delightful couplet of new tracks, 'Anna14' and 'The Poisoner' (feat. Nina Nastasia) Retrieved January 2, 2019

External links[edit]