“It sounds strange, but the change in the tone of my writing changed the tone of how I viewed my life at the time. ” – @nicnelsonmusic
Live Interview April 27 7:40 pm et
Episode #318 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax : http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avaliveradio/2016/04/27/episode-318-ava-live-radio-behind-the-music-with-jacqueline-jax
GETTING TO KNOW NICOLE NELSON
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
As a kid, I found musicians so intriguing…
that I honestly didn’t realize other jobs were an option. I had a sweet grandfather who played guitar and taught me songs when I was younger, and an awesome dad who learned to play guitar just so he could accompany me in my first live performances. I was hooked from a very young age and never grew out of it.
was one of the most cathartic songs I’ve ever written. It was about a ridiculous toxic relationship that lasted for years and I was finally dealing with the heartbreak of it being over for good. I was so used to writing “poor me” slow songs, and when I sat down to write yet another, Hostage just sort of happened. It sounds strange, but the change in the tone of my writing changed the tone of how I viewed my life at the time. It reached beyond that relationship and into feeling a lack of respect as a musician and businesswoman, and that dark voice in every artist’s head that asks if they’re really good enough. That song helped me grow confidence and bravery in both my art and my business.
My producer, Grady Saxman, and I knew we wanted a really distinct rhythm loop for the track, and we didn’t want it to be full of synthetic sounds. That loop is made from a hilarious night of recording things like slamming doors, shaking change in a Waffle House mug, and an accidental drum stick falling to the floor. ( Hostage Available for Purchase: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/howling-at-the-moon-ep/id970132694 )
This EP was made to reintroduce my sound to listeners…
I wanted to create something that was empowering in a direct since, but also in the admission of weakness . Each track is it’s own blend of opinion, independence, honesty, and vulnerability, and there’s nothing better than knowing that whatever the outcome, I served my creative vision to the fullest with this project. My dream for this EP is that listeners find solace, a catchy song to sing in the car, and a pump-up jam for a big meeting all in one place.
I live in Nashville, Tennessee…
the center of all things music – it’s a great scene with an immediately accessible network of resources. There are so many other musicians here that I don’t play as often in Nashville as people think – I’m building my fan base outside of Music City so I can come back in full force.
I absolutely love the community in Nashville. There are so many cool neighborhoods, local eateries, and unique events and it’s full of life. You can tell that the people here love where they live and they want to give back.
I love to bake. It’s really the only hobby I have, and it’s such a rare occasion that I get to spend a day working on that craft, so it’s a novelty to me. I try to hijack friends’ birthdays so I have an excuse to try a new cake decorating technique. Nerd Alert.
I think there is a lot of focus on the negative changes that have taken place in the music business. Now I’m the first person to say that art is not valued like it should be, and the fact that society is angered when music isn’t free is a tragedy. We need to change that. But we also have a whole new promotional platform filled with sub platforms and we can reach our fans through the internet like never before. If you think about it, there has never been a time when musicians had more control over their business and success.
One thing that’s really disappointing is when people don’t pay their musicians a fair amount, or at all. You would think Nashville would have this issue down, but it’s so over saturated, and there’s always someone who believes an “exposure gig” at a coffee shop is a real thing, so they’ll play for free. I’ve started changing how I respond to this. Instead of a quick “no thank you,” I respectfully explain why musicians should be paid just like any other employee. We are the only ones who can change it, and while most people probably just ignore what I write, there’s no harm in trying to find a kind way of saying, “would you tell a dentist to come and give your office free checkups because it’s good exposure?”
I believe social media puts the ball in the musician’s court. Sure, these days labels expect a much larger following before signing artists and they don’t want to create an artist from scratch like they used to. It’s an insane, unbelievable amount of front-end work trying to do what is normally done by a huge team of people (while working a day job), but I think the payoff is underrated. You created your brand, your target audience, your sound, and your career. You have so much more leverage when a label didn’t make you.
Singles vs an album…
Talk about the differences in your marketing strategy to support your preference. To me, releasing an album is a much more meaningful experience than a single. Trying to say what I want to say with one song – that’s a nightmare to me. Call me an over sharer. I just find it so beautiful to be able to tell your story through a ton of different songs you labored over for years. We live in a single-driven market right now, which can lift a huge financial burden for artists, so I guess you can’t really go wrong.
I would love to have 5 minutes alone with….
Grace Potter. She is a woman in a “man’s genre” in a “man’s industry” in a “man’s world.” And she runs her sh*t. She’s true to her sound and herself, and she’s the inner boss woman I channel before I go on stage.
If I lose my mind…
just know that it was because of this issue. Man, is it the most killer feeling in the world to write a song no one else could because it’s what you have to say. If people relate to that song, that’s the whole of the dream. I was told for a long time “don’t be artistic with your first album.” Screw that. I’m miserable and can’t write a single song when I’m thinking about record sales. Write what you want to write. There’s a reason you were made to write that, and the people that need to hear it will. You might get more sales (might) by writing what you think people want to hear, but I can’t kid myself into thinking that success will feel any better.
I am most afraid of…
Losing my ability to create by turning it into a business.
My personal definition of success is..
I realized my true definition of success recently and it changed my entire outlook. If my goal is to give a good moment to even one person, then I’m living my dream now. It is true that you have no idea what people have experienced in their lives. To make someone feel understood, laugh, or feel like singing along for the first time in a long time – I don’t think there’s anything better I could do with my life. I can be an overly ambitious workaholic, so it was a game-changer to realize what I really wanted to do with my life.
My over all goal for my life & career is…
I want to inspire people. Not for some vane reason or because I find myself inspiring, but because the world needs more inspired people.
3 Ways that I challenge myself…
1) Saying an immediate yes to anything that terrifies me – that makes fear one less thing to inhibit my progress
2)Living a balanced life – Sacrificing for your art is great, but there isn’t any art being made without living some sort of normalcy.
3) Making it happen – I want to end each day saying, “wow, I don’t know how all of that fit into one day, but it was great.”