Lisa Condit spoke with Nicole Nelson from Dwight & Nicole. The band comes to The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts on Friday, July 12 as a part of our Jazz at Sunset concert series, presented by WICN Public Radio and the Theatre District Alliance. Read on for highlights from the interview or listen to the full interview below, then tune in to WCRN 830 AM Saturdays at 1 PM for more behind-the-scenes interviews!
Lisa: It seems you and Dwight have quite a history.
Nicole: We met when we were in our early 20s, just out of school, and we were fans of each other. I would go see his band when they played in Boston. He was living in Boston and I was too. We wold go and see each others’ shows. We were really good friends for years. And then we had this coincidence where we both moved to Brooklyn, NY, where I’m originally from, born and raised, and he ended up moving a few blocks from where I was.
We both found ourselves in New York, single for the first time in our adult lives, and we started dating and opening up shows for each other. Every night we would sit in with each other for a song or two and the whole place would be riveted. We thought, “What are we doing?” People asked if we had a CD, just the two of us, and we said no, but maybe we should. It planted the seed and we started writing together. Eventually we had the opportunity to do a couple of shows.
Lisa: That is an awesome love story. And your music is unique. You’ve gotten a lot of awards.
Nicole: We get to do what we love, and there are people that dig it enough to come see us. It makes up for the challenges you find being self employed musicians in this economy and this music business world that we’re in. It’s not like a big party. It’s a lot of work, but it’s the most fulfilling thing in the world.
Lisa: How do you keep positive?
Nicole: For me, it’s all about focus and keeping your eye on the prize. I had a prolific dream a couple of years ago that shaped that concept for me. I was walking with my bandmates Dwight and Ezra through a field and we were headed to this huge old building. All around us were these wildcats. We were walking through this open soccer field. It dawned on me to just ignore the cats completely and focus on the door. Don’t get distracted by what’s happening around you, no matter how scary or attractive. Just focus on your goal and get there.
My advice is to just focus on what’s important, which is the music, connecting to the audience and bringing a different vibration to the table when you walk into a room. That’s our job as humans. It’s not just an artist thing. You bring with you your package of thoughts and emotions, and maybe trying to elevate those is a gift for the people around you.
Lisa: We know you connect with your audience through your music. Relix Magazine said “take R&B, Soul, Blues and Jazz mix in razor sharp rock guitar, heat to boiling and watch your face melt. That’s Dwight & Nicole.”
Nicole: We were floored! That’s when we did the “Life is Good” Festival. We played early, so not a lot of people were there, but Relix Magazine was there and we didn’t know until the magazine came out and a friend sent us the article.
Lisa: We’re excited that you’re going to be part of our Jazz at Sunset series. You’re going to be perfect for it!
Nicole: We’re really excited. It’s our favorite thing to get in the van and go and play our music for people. As much as we know being in the studio is great, there’s nothing like that magic of the audience interacting with the music. Everybody leaves buzzing, you know, a little higher.