Our Creatives ♡ X NICOLEJANAI
Updated: Jun 22, 2020
Since she was young, Nicole's passion has been singing. Throughout her teen years she has worked on countless projects to expand her artistry. In celebration of her birthday today, we have an exclusive insight into this budding singer's life and goals, and a celebration of her achievements so far. Let's dive into her past, present and future and see what exciting things are coming her way.
What made you want to become a singer and perform?
Ever since I was little, I’ve been really into music; my mother was a singer and my dad a pianist. They brought me up around music and so I feel it was only natural for me to be involved in music throughout my life. I was primarily a singer since my childhood and instruments came a little later in life. So throughout my childhood, I’d sing in church and at home and I’d do talent shows, and as early as I can remember, I’ve always loved singing and performing. However, it was never as serious as me wanting to pursue it as a career. When it came time for me to start thinking about what I wanted to do with my career, I imagined myself as a lawyer or doctor. I didn’t even think to consider singing… at least not until my dad passed. I’m not sure exactly what it was about his passing that made me realize what I wanted to do. I guess it was my intense desire to be great like him. He always wanted me to be great at business like him, but I was never interested… I always felt guilty about not continuing his legacy.
'I felt that I wanted to continue his legacy, just in my own way-- and that was through my greatest passion: singing.'
That’s what made me become serious about my music. As far as why I decide to be a singer rather than a different career, there are a number of reasons. Being on stage has always been one of my favorite things, and a large reason to become a singer is because I feel like the audience and I connect when I’m on that stage. I sing to them and they feel what I’m feeling and we share energy and it is truly a magical experience. I want to be an artist that can connect with people through my music just as I connect to music of other artists.
Which artists inspire you and your music the most and why?
There are two main artists that I feel inspire me the most as a singer, songwriter, and producer. The first artist is Amy Lee from Evanescence. I grew up listening to her, especially her 2003 ‘Fallen’ album. I’ve always felt captivated by her voice, lyrics, and instrumentals. I’ve heard some people compare the tone quality of my voice to hers, and I’m honored if people can feel reminded of someone like Amy Lee. With her music, all aspects of each track drew me in and pierced my soul. I want my voice, my lyrics, and my instrumentals to be able to do the same for my audience as well.
The second artist that has inspired me is a recent band who is loved by many across the world. It won’t be surprising to hear that this artist is BTS. I got into them in December of 2018, so it’s quite recent. Before I knew about them, one thing I prided myself on is creating music where each song had a different feel from each other and my music as a whole couldn’t be defined by just one genre. I felt that this isn’t too popular in the music played on the radio. So when I heard BTS’s music, I was really surprised because they also use inspiration from multiple genres in their songs and their lyrics have amazing messages their audience can connect with. I find that their writing style is quite similar to mine both lyrically and instrumentally. Because I see a part of myself in them, I’ve been using their success to motivate myself and to tell myself that I can be successful like them too. For me, I view them as my future self, and seeing it that way makes me believe in myself and my capabilities and allows me to push myself even harder to get to where I want to be. I won’t give up because I have BTS as my inspiration.
You have already written and produced two songs, how do you begin the process of writing a song and what inspired these two songs in particular?
I have many different ways to produce music. Sometimes I write lyrics first, sometimes the melody first, sometimes the instrumentals. It really depends on how I’m feeling. Sometimes it comes easily to me and sometimes it doesn’t. But I never force the process. I believe forcing a song to come out will only end with a song of poor quality that I will never be comfortable with releasing. Instead, I wait for when I’m in the right mentality and I listen to what my mind is saying and go with it. It’s a very vague thing to say, but this is the best way I can explain it. When I compose my music, I like to make sure each component is beautiful and well-made yet can also compliment the other components of the song. For this reason, I like to make intricate instrumentals, lyrics, and melodies that can stand alone and still flourish yet enhance each other when put together. This definitely comes from my inspiration from Amy Lee as mentioned before.
As far as these two songs, both of them came fairly easily to me and were written and produced in relatively short amounts of time. For ‘Spontaneous Combustion’, I came up with the melody and lyrics at the same time first and then made the instrumental afterwards. The inspiration for this song was really just an image of the passion that two people can hold for each other. I wanted to use metaphors to describe this image that I had in my head to my audience. It’s not based on a particular person or memory, but on a feeling that I felt a lot of people have experienced before.
On the contrary, ‘Against the Sunset’ was inspired by a particular situation that I personally had, yet I tried to write it in a way that can be relatable to a number of situations that my audience might have. My inspiration was very narrow and specific, but the overall meaning behind this situation is very wide and relatable. Ultimately, everything about life is impermanent. Time is one of the scariest things because it keeps moving forward and things will either change or get left behind. This song expresses the desire to hold onto the most precious things we have and to enjoy the present as much as possible before they inevitably disappear. This is something everyone has dealt with or will deal with in one way or another in life, so I wanted to create a song that could relate to my own situation and also my audience’s personal situations.
What’s your favourite song you have written?
Out of the currently released songs, my favorite would have to be ‘Against the Sunset’. I think the lyrics are so meaningful and the instrumental is so beautiful. It also meant more to me since it does relate to a particular situation I had and it was, in my opinion, overall just so well-done. ‘Spontaneous Combustion’ is also a great song, but 'Against the Sunset’ just speaks to me on a more personal level.
Aside from these two, I have an unreleased song named ‘Forced Murder’. This song was actually the first song I officially produced, which makes me proud. The instrumental is so beautiful and this song really speaks to me as well. It’s a very emotional song and I can always feel it in my heart whenever I hear it or sing it. I can’t wait to release it one day.
I would love to see a whole album! When can we expect new music? What’s the next goal?
I would love to release new music as soon as possible. I’m constantly working on my next project, even if I haven’t officially released anything yet. I think my next goal would be to release an EP. After I do that, I want to start going around my local city and performing these songs to connect to more people.
'I think it’s a shame to write these songs only for myself. I want others to be able to hear my music and feel my words and be able to relate it to their own situations. I think in that way, I can bond with more people and have more experiences like this.'
What are you working on now? What will your new music be about?
I’m currently working on a small “series” in my mind. I recently had a situation that I need to sort out, and what better way to do that than to write about it, right? I doubt I would release these in my next project, but I think it would be really cool to do a seperate EP about this series and almost have it tell the story of my situation. It’s almost as if reading a book but through songs rather than reading it on pages. I think it might be interesting. It’s just an idea though!
What is the proudest moment in your singing career?
I don’t feel as if I’ve done enough in my career to have a proudest moment. But there have been times where I’ve generally been proud. Times where I would come off stage singing an original and people would come up to me and tell me that they really felt what I was singing about and could relate it to themselves. Or times where I’d perform a cover in a cafe and the audience would be singing with me and engaging with me and connecting with me. Those moments are so precious too. Or times where people at my college who I don’t normally interact with come up to me congratulating me on my new releases.
'More than anything, I’m proudest when I can engage and interact with the people who listen to my music and support me.'
The most generic of questions… but where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I would like to be at a point where I will have achieved even an inkling of being able to connect to a large audience. Where people know the lyrics to my songs because those are the lyrics that helped them in times when they needed it. Where they can say that they feel close to me even though I’m an artist because we feel like we’ve gone through tough times together. I want to be considered an artist that my fans will be proud of. If I can achieve that in the next 10 years, I think I would be content and be motivated to continue my journey to reach a larger audience to include them in those moments that I’d consider most precious.