The music industry is filled with horror stories about acts that were on top of the world one night and were completely forgotten the next. Some of the most common are the stories of the musicians who break it big at a young age but are unable to remain popular with time. There are a lot more new kids than Miss Americanas.
Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl follows the former pop star as she moves on with her life. With her pop music years behind, Nash focuses her creative energy on a variety of endeavors. The documentary foreshadows what it isn’t going to be about early on. In 2008, Nash won the BRIT award for Female Solo Artist. During her acceptance speech she stated she wanted to realize female was “not a genre.” The message was clear. The music has a habit of using then throwing away female talent.
It is not surprising what happens in the first part of Underestimate the Girl. Nash is in rarefied pop music air. She is mentioned in the same breath as Rihanna and Timbaland. Unsurprisingly. when she changes musical direction, her record label drops her. (In a demonstration of how callous the music business can be, this is done via text.)
Nash is an interesting subject. Early on she discusses the importance of music for her. For her, it is a matter of life and death. This is a common refrain from many in the business. It is usually less about a love of music and more about an inability to live a normal life. However with Nash, the sentiment seems more true than when said by others. However, in her case there is a sense of self awareness. She comes from a hard working family but is quick to admit she is unaware of how to make money outside the music industry. It is not a case of not wanting to work; she has just never had to.
Underestimate the Girl shows where Nash’s inability truly lies. Though the documentary focuses on music, she is clearly incredibly creative. She also talks of being an actress. She almost has too much creativity for her own good. The best documentaries give insight into their subjects and this one is no different. Along with vast amounts of creativity, Nash is incredibly grounded. She is insecure and constantly reevaluating her life. There is an accessibility not found in most celebrities.
Throughout it all, Underestimate the Girl never loses the central theme. Nash has to deal with a stressful court case and her life changes after getting the role of Britannica on Netflix’s GLOW. The documentary is about constantly being held down but never giving up. This is a message a person can relate with. Things get dark, but the whole thing delivers a positive message.
Kate Nash has had a very interesting career. Finding fame at a very young age seemingly left her unprepared for the real world. Nash used her amazing creativity and willpower to battle through outrageous circumstances. The movie also shines a spotlight on the music industry’s treatment of women. Underestimate the Girl is a documentary anyone can enjoy.