The IMC Magazine Issue 14/April 2016 - Page 23

Nicole, good morning and welcome to Q108 Kingston:

Thank you, great to be here.

Tell us a bit about your background - what inspired you to become a musician?

Oh definitely my parents. Actually I had a show yesterday. My dad came and he was so proud. When my parents come to see me they are both so proud. I grew up watching them perform, playing guitar and singing. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.. So, definitely that was the early inspiration for me.

What kind of music did you start playing?

Well, folk music. Growing up I was listening to Peter, Paul and Mary, Kingston Trio, and Gordon Lightfoot. All those greats. That was my children's music. Those were my lullaby's. So, I think it's gotten in my blood. So,

I always have a big love for folk music. But I also have a classical background as well. I also have a love of classical music.

Living in a big city like Toronto, where there's so many bands and artists vying to be heard, is it difficult for you to get any gigs?

No, there's a lot of venues and there's definitely a lot of musicians here as well. So, it's not difficult to get gigs. It's difficult to get good gigs. It's like being a little fish in a big sea. So, lately I haven't been playing much in Toronto. I'm very selective with where I play. But I try to get out of the city as much as possible. I love going to small towns and meeting new people. I just get a great reception there.

What's your favorite venue to play at?

Humble Beginnings. Because I book there and I run the music there. And I work there as well. I perform there once every couple of months. It's just a great little intimate venue. It kind of reminds people of the coffee shops of the 60's and 70's where they had a lot of folk music. People gather to enjoy some good live music.

You've also performed at some big Canadian events, such as Canada Blooms, Winterfolk and Brocks Big Bite.

Yes, I have and I performed at Canada Blooms this year too. I play in their beer and wine lounge. People can sit down and relax a bit and enjoy some of my music. It's great exposure because there's thousands of people passing through there.

What's the biggest crowd you've played in front of?

Probably about 1500 people. It was a random thing, actually. A bass player that I was playing with said 'Hey come. We're going to play at a festival' We went straight to Nathan Phillips Square and played and didn't even know it beforehand. Kind of thrown on stage. It was fun.

Do you have any trouble with 'stage fright'? Any problems playing in front of people?

I used to. I used to be very, very shy growing up. That's why I just started playing and singing probably about 6 years ago.

So how did you get over it?

I love singing. I knew I could sing because I would sing really quietly at home and I'd think "Oh, I think I sound good, I'm not sure'. So I kept pushing myself. Still, I get nervous a little bit sometimes. Usually the day before a show. But once I get to a show I just . . .enjoy. The more you play the more you get over the stage fright. So I just keep pushing myself more and more and keep going. It gets easier and easier but definitely I started off shaking in my boots. It took many years to thicken my skin up.

What's the furthest you've traveled?

We went to Mexico recently. I mean it was part vacation, part show. To get away from the winter here in Canada. But I did perform a couple of shows there and it was really, really nice. I was nervous about playing enough Spanish songs so I worked hard on these Spanish songs.

We went there and there was a big ex-pat Canadian group there and they wanted Canadian songs. They all said, 'Hey, play more Joni Mitchell. Play Gordon Lightfoot.' Here I was in this beautiful open air restaurant in Mexico by the beach with all these Canadians singing Canadian music. It was lots of fun.