Nell Mescal Premieres "Warm Body," Her Most Personal Song Yet

The Irish singer-songwriter talks growing up, and the shows she’s binging now.

The first thing Nell Mescal wants you to know is that she loved her childhood. She has great parents, and memories of spending her days singing in choir and musical theater. But sometime in the last few years, she’s been reckoning with feeling out-of-place in her hometown. “I really struggle with trying to place myself there like, ‘Did I really come from here? Do people still think that I am that girl?’” she says from her London flat. She’s spending the grey day in, but beams on Zoom in a neon tangerine sweater. “It's just so complex.”

Mescal chalks it up to being 20 — which she turned last April, and serves as a fitting thesis for her new song “Warm Body,” a rumbling and radiant rock song that finds her embracing young adulthood in vibrant, tumultuous color. Premiering exclusively on NYLON below, it’s her latest single from her upcoming EP, Can I Miss It For A Minute?, which will be the first body of work she’s ever put together. Ever since the Irish singer-songwriter went viral in 2023 from her tweet congratulating her brother, Paul Mescal — her music career has taken off, taking her on a year of touring and performing live for fans. It’s all led up to this: the release of a song that she says has never “felt more me.”

As such, she’ll be celebrating — by watching Anatomy of a Fall with her friends — but first, she got deep with NYLON about “Warm Body,” her “sweet” relationship with fans, the shows she’s binging right now, and who she’s rooting for at this year’s Oscars.

NYLON: What’s the story behind “Warm Body?”

“Warm Body” came late in the EP process because it wasn't going to be on the EP. The EP looked quite different, because I am talking about situations and things that happened, but I'm not really telling you anything about myself and why I think about certain things the way I do. With “Warm Body,” that's what I was trying to get across, more about my past rather than a situation that happened. I wanted to go over a longer period of time, and so I delved into being much younger and being a child and feeling quite lost and upset by a lot of things.

It's about girlhood and friendships, and moving away, and being angry that I felt like I had to move away because of things that were holding me back at home. I never thought I would write a song like it. I didn't really know how to write a song like that.

At the end you sing explicitly, "I don't want to go back home."

I think when I talk about not wanting to go home, it's not really about not wanting to go home because I love my home and I love my family and I have friends back home, but it's more about the home I left is vastly different to the home I grew up in. I'm so proud of where I'm from. And I want to be perceived as someone who’s really proud of it, but it's complex. I'm only 20 and I'm sure in five years time I’ll grow in or out of my stance on it.

Have you shown your parents the song?

Yeah, because it's not about my parents. They've listened to the whole EP, and loads of times I hear. I think they think they know I'm finally saying things that [feel true to me]. Usually I write a song and maybe I'm sad while I'm writing it, but I will move on. But with “Warm Body,” it really sat with me. I think my parents were like, "Sick! That's cool. I'm glad that you're putting words to it.”

The last time NYLON did an interview with you, your song “In My Head,” had just come out. Now you have this project. What’s been your experience putting together a body of music?

I've always wanted to do it. The reason I put out music last year was... I don't know if I was ready to do a project that meant as much as this one means to me. I really wanted to play live and put out music so people could come to shows and be like, "Oh, I know that song." It introduced me to so many people and introduced so many people to me. To tell your own story on a stage to people that really want to listen, it's so healing. And it's completely changed my life, I think.

I felt like there was a different aspect to my recordings than me [singing] live, so I think with this EP, I really meshed everything together in a way that's got every aspect that I would want to have live.

You do seem to have a really sweet relationship with your fans. You announced the song a day ago, and they’re already making memes. How would you describe your dynamic?

I find it really surprising, and I don't know if it's an Irish thing of being like, "There's no way they like my music." I did a tour in January, my first headline U.K. tour, and it was the first time I felt like, "Oh my God, this entire room is here for me, and they're here for these songs because it means something.” Every single night was so emotional for me.

I do think it's funny a lot of the people that listen to my music are the same demographic as me and the same age, and they like the same art. And so we talk about our favorite TV shows, and I'm so candid about it. Sometimes the lines do get blurry in that respect just because I'm like, "The people that listen to my music are sick. Like why are they so cool?" And then I want to be friends with them. And then you kind of realize there's a way to do that that's just a little bit different.

Speaking of shows, what are you watching these days?

I just started watching Shameless, which I had never seen before — and I have watched every single series under the sun. Like I'm a huge Gilmore Girls stan, Grey's Anatomy, The BearSuccession was a big one for me. I do a yearly rewatch of Friends, The Office, and Gilmore Girls, so I was like, “I can't do it anymore.” And so I started Shameless, and I'm almost finished with that, which is just way too soon to be finished because I literally started in January. I need to talk about it with so many people right now.

Are you a binger or a pace yourself kind of person?

No, like... Before I even wake up, I'm like, “Where's my phone?” Hit play. And I binge for the entire day if I want to.

Any cool shows recently or tours that you've caught?

After tour, I was really busy and haven’t really gone to a show. I know there's shows that I really want to go to: I really want to see Noah Kahan this summer, Ethel Cain as well, and the Lizzie McAlpine shows. [And] Adrianne Lenker. If I get to see Adrianne Lenker live this year, I will be a changed human being. She posted a cover I did of “Vampire Empire.” And I actually started crying. I ran around my flat. My brother was here, and he was like, "What's wrong? What's wrong?" I called everyone I knew being like, "The craziest thing just happened." I just am the biggest fan.

Finally, the Oscars are on Sunday. Last year you were there for your brother’s big night. Do you have plans to go this year?

I'm not going. But I will be eagerly hoping that Anatomy of a Fall wins something because it was one of my favorites. Or Lily Gladstone or Emma Stone. This year has been crazy, like so much talent. So I will definitely be watching, but I won't be there.