Nadine in tune with mental illness

Nadine Shah

Nadine Shah

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As far as unusual album titles go, Love Your Dum and Mad takes some beating.

But that was the title of jazz-infused soul singer Nadine Shah’s latest album.

Recorded with producer Ben Hillier - whose CV name-checks Depeche Mode and The Horrors - the album is based on the loss of Shah’s close friend, an artist with mental illness.

“Love Your Dum and Mad was the title of a painting by my friend who died two and a half years ago. A lot of lyrics on the album are about mental illness and the stigmas people attach to those who are suffering. The title of the album is meant to be a statement about that.”

But it’s untrodden territory, in society, let alone a soul album, according to Shah.

“Mental illness is one of the major issues that society faces yet it seems to scare people because it’s ‘the unknown’. It was only recently that the ‘insane asylum’ was renamed ‘psychiatric unit’.”

But Shah’s interest in this subject doesn’t make for too intense listening. Her delivery is stunning and her demeanour is light.

“I only started writing my own stuff about three and a half years ago. But then I got into jazz singing and that made me more confident as a performer.”

Shah plays piano on stage, accompanied by a band who she brings to The Harley tonight as part of an intense UK tour.