Forestry, mining and tourism aren’t the only commodity to come out of Castlegar, British Columbia as Award-winning Canadian country music artist Lisa Nicole calls it home. She’s on a Fall tour across select-Canadian cities promoting her second EP Come Find Me (due out September 6th, 2016) and sharing her homegrown country sound.
Lisa continues to find her own artistry and grow her music which was recently catalyzed by winning an artist development project which garnered her with a songwriting trip to Nashvile and incubation spot in an artist and entrepreneur program. We chatted with her about a growing career and the Canadian country music scene:
Did you grow up on country music?
My parents always had CMT on in the house and I remember driving in Dad’s old yellow Ford listening to Randy Travis, Martina McBride, Vince Gill, and more. When CDs came out, my favourite country CD was Shania Twain’s Come On Over!
People often tell me that I have a Shania Twain sound to my voice. This is from listening to her music on repeat for years!
As I am still growing up, I still love to listen to country music! Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood are my biggest influences. My music definitely reflects Miranda’s lyrical, down-to-earth country style and the rock edge and power vocals from Carrie.
Do you remember when you knew you wanted to be a recording music artist?
I knew I wanted to be a recording artist since I knew I could sing – around age 9. At that point, I thought I would be famous when I was 16. Little did I know that it takes a lot longer to build a career.
What goes into your songwriting process?
My songwriting process often starts on my phone’s notepad because it’s full of song title ideas and one-liners.
From there, I’ll usually sit down with the guitar, pick an idea I am feeling at the moment and start strumming. The chords and rhythm always come first. Then I’ll start singing a melody and the words will come to me.
I love co-writing as well. It’s fun to have another person in the room to bounce ideas back and forth.
What did you gain from Artist Development Project and Artist Entrepreneur Program you had the fortune of being part of?
I gained a life-changing experience from the both of these opportunities.
With the Artist Development Project, I increased my exposure in the industry and had the opportunity to show them how hard I can work and make things happen in this business. Winning made me feel recognized for hard work and it was an amazing feeling.
The Artist Entrepreneur Program in Toronto was a game-changer for me, aside from the freezing snowstorms. I spent three and a half of the cold winter months immersing myself in the business, learning, and networking. We learned about everything from taxes, bookkeeping, management, and publishing to songwriting and performance. We had speakers come in from the major labels and publishing companies, and others who covered branding and social media – basically everything that has anything to do with running a business as an artist entrepreneur. The relationships I gained from that program have been invaluable. To this day, I’m still in touch with them a few times a week and wonder if they are getting sick of me yet!
What voice and themes are you sharing in your second EP, Come Find Me?
I feel the theme for this EP is really showing people exactly who I am. The songs all have a personal connection with me and who I am. The EP represents my silly quirky side on a track like “Something to Be Happy About” while my soft and sensitive side comes through in “Come Find Me”. I have songs on this EP that are rooted in personal heartbreak that I went through and other songs from when I fell in love again. It’s truly a story of the last few years of my life.
How do you see yourself evolving as an artist?
I see myself evolving onto bigger stages! Stages like Rogers Arena, although I love The Commodore, which would also be a dream come true as far as Vancouver goes.
These days, I can really see the big picture for my career and I’m excited about the future. I love working hard and watching my songs and sound grow with me as a person.
One word to describe the feeling when you’re performing on stage?
The moment they call my name, and I step on stage and say hello – it’s pure happiness! Once I start performing I get a rush of excitement! When people sing along, clap, and tap their feet, I’m in my element. It’s the best feeling to see others enjoying my music!
Advice for aspiring musicians?
Never give up! The truth is there are so many ups and downs, and the struggle is real. It will be tough until your first song hits, and even then you will have to write another hit song after that.
This is a ‘when you wake up until when you go to sleep’ kind of job. You don’t get days off. You have to hustle, you have to stand out and be unique. I wake up every day and get to work, after I make my green tea of course.
You have to be positive and just keep going! Don’t let the business get to you, because the rewards far outweigh the struggles.
Most of all, stay humble, thankful, grateful and be yourself.
Oh and boiled eggs, energy balls and cucumbers are great snacks on the road! I even keep cucumbers in my purse – just ask my guitar player.
Interview by: Amar Mirchandani @amarmirch