If you’re a regular down at The Musician you may have stumbled across Nancy Dawkins a fair few times. She frequently makes delightful appearances at their open mic nights, appearing consistently over the past three years. Let’s say she’s no dewy newcomer to Leicester’s music scene, but we don’t know enough about this quirky self-taught young girl that is one of the hidden gems of the city’s folk community.
Picking up a guitar at the beginning of a summer holiday had Miss Dawkins hooked and by the time the new school term was approaching she’d already learnt to write music. Favouring finger picking, her style of guitar playing is an intricate one, working duplicative riffs into her songs which she then garnishes with the savvy lyrics of a teenage girl’s life. It’s clear she writes about subjects close to her own experiences, never shying away from melancholy topics.
She has previously been compared to Kate Nash and Laura Marling by The Monograph, and there are definitely elements which resonate strongly for all three. That said, Nancy’s individuality is undeniable, and it keeps her a healthy step away from her peers.
Recognised by East Midlands based Pink Box records, she has successfully made herself at home within the label, which is something of a hub for young musicians throughout Leicester. Her single ‘Smoke’, released on the label is available through iTunes and perhaps on a free vinyl record if you can bat your eyelashes hard enough at one of her gigs. It’s a rarity to come across an artist at the initial stages of their career with such a definite sound, yet ‘Smoke’ grips onto the hopeful notions we all harbour with a clear and warming vocal able to break your heart with it’s charming harmonies.
Lined up for the future is keeping up her regular performances around the city, along with a prestigious slot on the BBC Introducing stage at this year’s Summer Sundae. Nancy says she’d like to begin working on an album, hopefully alongside Jordan Birtles of By The Rivers. Juggling a busy college life whilst managing to effortlessly woo audiences and those around her with a fresh self expression of folk-esque brilliance at such a young age is something to be admired.
Photo: Emma Healey