In just a few months Kate Nash went from working the chip frier at Nandos to the top of the charts. A new documentary, “Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl,” now on VOD, is a portrait of an artist’s rise, fall and rebirth.
Kate Nash’s story begins in a in very modern, twenty-first century way, through social media. “She got signed because she had the most of followers on MySpace,” says an insider in the film.
Barely out of her teens and working in a fast-food joint, she began her journey into the heart of the music industry’s darkness when she broke her foot. At loose ends and bored, her parents bought her a guitar. Soon she was writing songs and after the foot mended, she played open mics and uploaded to MySpace. Her catchy, angsty anthems resonated with audiences and the record labels took note. Signed to a deal, she won awards and played to large crowds.
“In the UK we have a real thirst and hunger for new sensations. The curve is so quick that you can be discovered and be the next be the next most exciting thing and the next morning almost discarded.”
What isn’t so modern about her story is the misogyny that plagued her career from the get go. “Underestimate the Girl” is a familiar tale of a musician pushing against the conventions of record company expectations and paying a steep price for independence.
“Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl” isn’t as straightforward as you might think. The early story trajectory would suggest an upbeat, slight look at someone picking themselves up and brushing off. But that’s not what this movie is about. It begins with a rush of energy, part doc, part music video and slowly finds its feet as a deeper portrait of a creative life. Real life twists colour the story, shifting it away from the usual comeback reality show to something grittier. “I don’t know how to be a real person,” she says. “How to make money outside of being on tour or making a record.”
For Nash’s fans, the film’s final moments are a testament to her talent.
Throughout it all Nash’s charisma, resiliency and optimism keeps her and the movie afloat. You root for her. “Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl” is a real-life cautionary tale, complete with bad guys, but it is also a lesson in learning to roll with life’s punches. “It’s amazing how quickly life can get really different,” she says, isn’t it?”