"Nishla's original ballads sound like standards.
with a skewed, haunted quality" Opera North
Maudlin moments shoulder ecstatic reveries." LJN
"The silenced room said it all."
Bebop Spoken Here.
Nishla is an artist driven by a desire to tell stories. Her unique musical sensibility, along with this preoccupation with narrative is recurrent throughout a diverse array of musical projects. She's recently made work for Opera North, Lancaster Jazz Festival and Manchester Collective.
"Nishla creates vivid, enigmatic stories through
sound, her voice stretching from melancholic sweetness through
to dark intimacy." Whirlwind Recordings
"Classic songwriting worthy of the Great American Songbook,suffused
"She creates a darkly gorgeous interior sonic world."
"Her voice is exquisite,
a symbol of unreachable beauty." The Guardian
Nishla is part of Serious Music's 2022 Take Five cohort and the recipient of a Development Award through the Peter Whittingham Jazz Awards for 2022. She is one third of cross disciplinary arts collective Ulita, and leads an original jazz band, the Nishla Smith Quintet, who released a debut album in 2021 on Whirlwind Recordings. She spent last spring playing a bird in Atri Banerjee's acclaimed production of 'Kes', for which she won a UK Theatre Award for 'Best Supporting Performer.'She's recently broken ground on a new interdisciplinary project: 'Travels Backwards', a collaboration with Manchester dance company I M Pact supported by Help Musicians' Creative Collaboration fund.
Nishla is passionate about co-creation and curation. She makes works in collaboration with a huge array of artists across disciplines and has recently joined Opera North as the programmer of the Howard Assembly Room, curating a varied programme of music, spoken word and film.