THE relationship between the artist and the reviewer is a complicated one. Even in this era of fragmented media and easily accessible music, a few negative or positive strokes from a respected critic’s pen can impact an artist’s career.
Thankfully for New Zealand’s Nadia Reid the reviews for her latest album Preservation have been universally glowing. Senior Fairfax music critic Bernard Zuel gave her second album 4.5 stars and wrote, “the songs and the sound are superb, yet Reid's singing is something beyond that.”
However, Reid is too wise to believe her hype. She knows how fickle critics can be.
“I’ve never been concerned with it,” Reid said. “Funnily enough, Bernard Zuel gave me my first unfavourable review a year ago when I first played in Sydney.
“It shook me a little but now I have a thick skin when it comes to reviewers. You have to take the bad with the good and vice versa. It’s opinion.
“It’s affirming when people feel moved by my record. I mean, that’s the point really. To connect with people. It’s a form of expression that gives me a purpose.”
The Dunedin-raised 25-year-old has risen rapidly to the top of New Zealand’s folk scene following the release of her debut album Listen To Formation, Look For The Signs in 2015.
While her maiden record was driven by acoustic guitar and Reid’s stunning voice, which holds traces of Joni Mitchell, on Preservation her sound has expanded to atmospheric folk-rock.
Fleetwood Mac was a major influence, especially on the heavier percussion.
“I was ready to make another album,” she said. “Time had passed. Life changes. I had 10 new songs. I was to make a record that was relevant to me at this time in my life, nothing was too thought out.”
You can almost hear the presence of the wild southern ocean and the South Island’s rugged mountains on Preservation’s most delicate moments like Te Aro.
”I’m very sensitive to place when it comes to writing,” Reid said. “I love the ocean and I’m so lucky to live by the harbour in Dunedin.”
Reid last played in Newcastle in December when she supported Darren Hanlon on a steamy night at St John’s Anglican Church Hall. She was relatively unknown then, but her profile is increasing outside of her homeland through the success of Preservation.
Last week she was forced to cancel two shows in Auckland due to illness and Cyclone Cook, which was reportedly widely in the media.
Does Reid enjoy the growing attention?
“Well, it is allowing me to do music full time,” she said. “It means I don’t have to work in a café and I get to tour the world because of it, so yes.”
Nadia Reid performs at The Edwards on Friday.