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You Heard It Here First: Nancy Andersen of Babeheaven on sacrifice, stage fright and the single that started it all

Every week Stylist will be shining a light on a female musician you need to know about. This week we meet Nancy Andersen, the effortlessly cool frontwoman of west London band Babeheaven.

Unassuming. It’s a word that sums up Babeheaven’s mellow, hazy sound as well as its talented frontwoman, Nancy Andersen. Uploaded to Soundcloud one evening as a bit of a laugh, the first single by Andersen and her longtime friend Jamie Travis, Friday Sky, was a slow-burning hit that has been streamed more than 2 million times.

Now performing as a five-piece, the west London band has gone from entertaining friends at house parties to embarking on a nationwide tour and releasing its first major project, Suspended Animation. Standout track God Sent The Baby is a cinematic, Portishead-esque trip that Andersen describes as “heavy” – her melancholic vocals creep up on you, growing and morphing until you’re hooked. We have a feeling Babeheaven is headed the same way.

Here, Stylist speaks to Andersen about her most formative firsts.

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The first gig I went to…
Was the Spice Girls at Wembley. I was probably about five years old – Geri had just left and even at that age I remember being like, ‘Hmm, they’re not as good without her’.

The first time I knew music was my future…
Well people used to say I was a good singer, but I never really thought about it seriously. Then me and Jamie put out the song Friday Sky as sort of a laugh and it got such an unexpected response. People just kept listening to it.

The first time I realised I was good at what I do…
Was when I saw the physical copy of Heaven [Babeheaven’s first double A-side single, released in 2016] I was like, ‘OK, this is something’. It all started to feel real, and that’s when we started to take our music more seriously. 

It’s so hard getting your music out there, you have to put a lot of time in. I have had to make sacrifices, like missing my best friend’s birthday and that kind of thing, which really sucks. But it’s also so amazing to be able to be making music and performing and travelling.

The first time I performed…
Was at a house party at my best friend’s house in 2015. A lot of our first gigs were in friend’s living rooms. They were terrible, I was so nervous. I get such bad stage fright – like, so bad that my voice shakes. It’s slightly better now but I still get it.

The first thing I heard this morning…
Was my alarm. And the pitter patter of my flatmates walking around the house – the pitter patter of three grown men, that is. 

Babeheaven singer Nancy Andersen has always suffered from stage fright.

The first thing I did this morning…
Am I going to say it? Yeah. It was looking at my phone. I always do as soon as I wake up. Then I’ll have a shower and some coffee.

The first thing I’ll spend money on…
Is clothes and shoes. Anything and everything. Usually it’s from eBay and Depop, I’ll spend hours scrolling through stuff. I’ve been looking for a certain pair of Margiela boots for about two years now but I haven’t found any cheap enough yet. I did get a denim Jean Paul Gaultier dress for less than £10 once though.

The first thing I do when I get home…
Is take off all of my clothes [laughs], put my joggers on, get comfy.

The first person who inspired me…
Was probably my sister [Lotte] – watching the way she navigates life is really interesting and inspiring. My mum died when I was little so we’ve always kind of been that figure for each other. We kind of run on parallel paths – she’s more art and fashion, whereas I’m music. She’s three years older than me.

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The first female artist I’d recommend you listen to after reading this…
There are so many. But I’m going to say my friend [east London singer] Shygirl.

Babeheaven’s first major project Suspended Animation is out later this month. The band’s nationwide tour starts on 23 October – get tickets at dice.fm/tour/babeheaven.

Images: Joyce Ng, Toast

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