Review: Nina Nesbitt at Union Stage

Before taking the stage, Nina Nesbitt let the crowd’s anticipation build as her band played an extended intro to the chorus of “Somebody Special.” When she finally appeared, she confidently strutted onto the stage with a huge grin on her face. She was met with sheer delight as she teased the crowd and sang, “that I’m somebody special,” and set the tone for the evening. Nesbitt released her debut album, “The Sun Will Come up, The Seasons Will Change,” only a month ago and her stop in DC was part of Nesbitt’s first proper headlining tour. But you never would have guessed that —the crowd knew the words to every song and Nesbitt owned the stage.

She moved swiftly but also took her time throughout the set, transitioning from slower songs and then launching into upbeat tracks. Her presence was hypnotizing, even in quiet moments, and she made each song feel like its own singular moment. She danced, played guitar and keys, and showcased her incredibly powerful vocals. Her voice especially soared as the venue quieted and she played a stripped down rendition of “Things I Say When You Sleep,” a song about saying things to someone while their sleeping because you’re too afraid to say it to them when they’re awake. She then launched straight into “Love Letter” a fast-paced track reminiscent of Destiny’s Child and had the crowd dancing. Nesbitt was also candid with the crowd, telling stories of past relationships, personal failures, and Instagram stalking an ex’s new girlfriend. All while maintaining a charming sense of humor.

Nesbitt’s natural ability to connect is what makes her an incredible artist, a captivating performer, and a great songwriter and storyteller. It’s also the reason she made everyone in the crowd feel so special that evening. Nina Nesbitt is someone you want to root for, someone you want to be friends with, someone you want to hang out with, and someone you can picture playing on massive stages someday. If you have the chance to see her live, do it. She won’t be playing small venues for long.

All photos by Cina Nguyen.

For a full list of Nina Nesbitt’s tour dates click here.