Nishla is a singer and songwriter who defies easy categorisation. Her live sets include a breathtaking variety of material: from celebrated originals to dark jazz standards and devastating ballads. She is currently working on a cross-disciplinary narrative song cycle produced by Opera North. Her other original project, Nishla Smith Quintet will start the year with shows at NQ Jazz, The Vortex and Newcastle Arts Centre.
In September 2017, ‘Cabaret’, Nishla’s original commission for Manchester Collective, toured throughout the UK, featured at the PUSH Festival was performed live on BBC 3 In Tune. In 2018, after a visit home to play at MONA's Summer Jazz Festival in Tasmania, and a sell-out show at Melbourne’s Paris Cat, she became one of Manchester Jazz Festival's talent development artists - her resultant single and self produced video, ‘Blue Dream’ was released in March this year. After a summer residency at the Sage in Gateshead, she closed 2018 with shows at mjf, Lancaster Jazz Festival, Matt and Phred's, and Band on the Wall.
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"Nishla Smith’s original ballads sound like standards from the American songbook of the 1940s and '50s. There is an ambivalent undercurrent to the beguiling nostalgia of Another Place and Julian. Maudlin moments shoulder ecstatic reveries." - London Jazz News
"Smith delivers each note with a chocolatey hue. Her voice is crystalline and poignant as she weaves through well-crafted lyrics." - Staccatofy