Over the years, Nandi Bushell has amassed quite the fanbase, thanks to her comprehensive collection of flawless covers and high-profile on-stage link-ups.
Now, though, the talented 12-year-old has set her sights on embarking on a new musical path, announcing that her first-ever solo EP is on the way.
To preview the EP and usher in the latest chapter of her music-making journey, Bushell has debuted The Shadows – a haunting, riff-heavy new track penned for her father, which she wrote and performed entirely by herself.
Flexing some hidden accomplished piano chops – is there any instrument Bushell can’t play? – The Shadows starts as a slow march, building momentum with a snare roll as its swelling trajectory sends it on a collision course with pummeling electric guitar riffs.
Unsurprisingly, her inspirations can be heard – those Muse-y electro sounds, operatic backing vocals and Matt Bellamy-esque vocal wails are particularly apparent – but it also introduces us to a nuanced Nandi flair, one that showcases her approach to melody and arrangement.
To this end, Bushell tells us, “I love performing covers, but I also want people to know how much I love writing music too.
“Every cover I made taught me something new,” she adds. “A new style, a new technique and new rhythm. I now [have taken] all these lessons and created something new.”
Bushell also explains that The Shadows was penned for her father, John, who fell into a depression after his ongoing autoimmune disease got worse.
“Early in 2022 my dad fell into a depression when his autoimmune disease worsened,” Bushell recalls. “I wanted to write a song to cheer him up. My dad would describe how he was feeling to me and I would put what he said into lyrics to let him know that I would be there for him.
“The song is about love, the love I have for my family. I hope my song can also help other people who are feeling down. I want them to know they are loved too and can find help if they need it.”
If The Shadows is anything to go by, Bushell’s as-yet-untitled EP will certainly be one to look out for – one that was written and recorded using an impressive array of Bushell’s ever-growing catalog of electric guitars.
In fact, it also features a new Nandi Bushell custom Fender Stratocaster, which is an upgraded version of her much-used purple Squier Strat. While it’s unclear if the former features the same custom Prince paint that appeared on the Squier, the standout spec – a twisted bridge humbucker – remains.
As for how she transitioned from covering existing songs to writing her own material, and how she developed her own songwriting process, Bushell went on to explain, “I usually start noodling on guitar or piano when writing. Once I find a nice riff or melody I think about a theme for a song and start building it up layer by layer.
“I record all the demos at home then send them to Denzyl [Feigelson] at Platoon. If he thinks the song is strong I then go to the studio in London and record them properly.”
Earlier this year, Bushell hinted to Guitar World that new solo material was on the way, and that such material may signify the end of her cover-making days.
“I don’t know if I will still be posting covers,” Bushell commented, “as I want to focus on my own music. Posting covers has been fun and educational, but I now want to put everything I have learned together and create something new and beautiful.
“I just want to have fun and enjoy the journey, wherever it may take me.”
The other four tracks on the EP will be released over the next three to four months.
To keep up to date, head over to Bushell’s Instagram account.