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Nick Cave shares advice on confidence to hopeful teenage singer

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Nick Cave has responded to a hopeful teenage singer who was looking for advice on confidence.

17-year-old Eugenio from Rome, Italy spoke about his lack of confidence in his singing for his band’s forthcoming EP and asked the Bad Seeds singer on his Red Hand Files blog whether he should wait until he creates something he is 100 per cent proud of or just record and publish what they already have.

“I don’t know if I want to record and publish an EP that I’ve been working on with a band with some friends of mine and that I’m very proud of for what regards the instrumental part,” began the fan’s message. “But I know that my singing could be better and that I could wait a little bit more to create something I’m 100 per cent proud of, but still I don’t want to wait anymore because we have the chance of recording in a great studio and I don’t want to slow down the process. What should I do?”

Cave went on to explain that he became a singer, not because he was talented and shared how he was often referred to as the ‘unmusical’ one in his friend group, but because he had the “tenacity to stand up in front of people, replete with nothing but lack and swagger, and blithely step into the condemnation of those who had the misfortune to hear me.”

Nick Cave and his band The Birthday Party on stage at the Versuchfeld in Hamburg, Germany. June 26, 1982. (Photo by: Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

“I sang and sang and sang some more, because I knew that that was what singers did. Eventually I found a voice that I could call my own, and that could mostly carry a tune. Through this I learned something valuable – a kind of defiant resilience to the messages, mostly in my own head, that told me my singing could be better. I got tough and protective of my vision and learned that the thing that ‘could be better’ was actually the ever-vital energy that propelled me forward,” he added.

“If your intention is to become a singer, Eugenio, then you need to sing and sing and sing some more. Whether or not you go into the studio when you have the chance is not really up for debate. It is your duty to yourself to do so. If you do not take these opportunities to sing, you may forever be that melancholy boy peering through the window of a dream you never had the self-assurance to embody, and there is little more sorrowful in this world than one who forgoes his dreams.

“50 years have passed since I was a boy of your age – doubting and wondering about the same things that you are now – but here I am, still singing. I am writing to you from a studio in Western New York where I am mixing my latest record, and as the new and beautiful songs wash over me I feel inspired to say to you that the privilege of having this most vulnerable of occupations – of being a singer – is immeasurable. And sitting here reflecting, I think I can say – with no small portion of pride – that my voice has gotten pretty good now, but, you know, it could still be better.

He ended his response with: “So are you a singer, Eugenio? Are you? If you are then there really is no other option – get in the studio and give it a go. We are obligated to make our best attempts to become the thing we wish to be, otherwise we forever remain the sorry consorts of our own defeat. Sing, Eugenio, sing. Love, Nick.”

Nick Cave and The Birthday Party performing at The Venue, Victoria, London, UK on 26 November 1981. (Photo by David Corio/Redferns)
Nick Cave and The Birthday Party performing at The Venue, Victoria, London, UK on 26 November 1981. (Photo by David Corio/Redferns)

In other news, Cave recently revealed that he and The Bad Seeds are about to start mixing their new album. The LP will be the follow-up to 2019’s ‘Ghosteen’.

Last month at a concert in Chicago, he debuted a new song ‘To Be Found’. Writing about the song on his site, he said: “The sentiment is simple and softly spoken, the song unable to even declare its name, but still it is a special song, full of unspecified emotional impact and a great pleasure to play. I think I’ll call the song “To Be Found”.”

Elsewhere, Cave, along with Lana Del ReyMatty Healy and more have recorded covers of World War II-era songs for the official soundtrack to The New Look.

According to DeadlineThe New Look will boast an “immersive and contemporary soundtrack” produced by Jack Antonoff.

It’ll also feature new versions of early to mid-20th-century tracks recorded by Florence Welch of Florence + The MachineBeabadoobeePerfume Genius and Antonoff’s band Bleachers.

A tracklist for the collection has not yet been revealed. In the meantime, you can see a series of first-look images from the programme via Variety.

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