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Singer-songwriter Nell Mescal — ‘I’m very lucky as I’m surrounded by a lot of people who have fabulous advice to give’

Teenager Nell Mescal left school early to move to London and pursue her dream of becoming a singer. She was fully supported by her parents, who, of course, already know a thing or two about stardom thanks to their son, Paul. Here, Nell tells how her experiences with bullying inspired her new single, and how she’s been able to turn to Phoebe Bridgers for career advice

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"Covid-19 and spending so much time at home made me realise online school didn’t work for me, and sitting around doing nothing solidified it in my mind — there are things I need to do." Picture by Lee Malone.

"Covid-19 and spending so much time at home made me realise online school didn’t work for me, and sitting around doing nothing solidified it in my mind — there are things I need to do." Picture by Lee Malone.

"I had a difficult time with peers and really wanted to be somewhere else.” Picture by Lee Malone

"I had a difficult time with peers and really wanted to be somewhere else.” Picture by Lee Malone

If a Mescal from Maynooth sounds familiar, that’s because Nell’s the sister of the man who made GAA shorts sexy as hell playing the brooding Connell Waldron in Normal People — actor Paul Mescal. Picture by Lee Malone.

If a Mescal from Maynooth sounds familiar, that’s because Nell’s the sister of the man who made GAA shorts sexy as hell playing the brooding Connell Waldron in Normal People — actor Paul Mescal. Picture by Lee Malone.

“I’m such a huge fan of Phoebe so getting to know her on a personal note is so wonderful." Picture by Lee Malone.

“I’m such a huge fan of Phoebe so getting to know her on a personal note is so wonderful." Picture by Lee Malone.

One night, back in London, as she sat in her pyjamas on her bed with her keyboard, a song about the pain and sadness she felt at school just tumbled out of her. Picture by Lee Malone.

One night, back in London, as she sat in her pyjamas on her bed with her keyboard, a song about the pain and sadness she felt at school just tumbled out of her. Picture by Lee Malone.

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"Covid-19 and spending so much time at home made me realise online school didn’t work for me, and sitting around doing nothing solidified it in my mind — there are things I need to do." Picture by Lee Malone.

For many parents, having their teenage daughter arrive home to announce she’s dropping out of school a few months before her Leaving Cert — let alone the news that she’d decided to move to London to become a singer — would be up there among ‘worst nightmare’ scenarios. But not for Nell Mescal’s parents, Dearbhla and Paul.

Instead of losing the plot or pleading with her to stick it out for a few more months at school in Maynooth, Co Kildare, the Mescals took it all in their stride, telling her: “Go do what makes you happy.”


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