It's a pleasure to welcome Kansas City soul artist Nicolette Paige to Listen Local. A singer-songwriter, guitarist and collaborator with three albums to her credit (Nicolette Paige, The Other Side and Metamorphosis), Paige's music explores shades of neosoul, folk, hip-hop, R&B and reggae. In this interview, Paige describes how she stays creative while raising two children, who she looks to for inspiration, and how her music has evolved over the years. We're also excited to share her book, music and movie recommendations along with samples of her work.
Please introduce yourself. Where do you live and work? What does a typical day look like for you?
First off, I live in Wyandotte, also known as, Kansas City, Kansas. I work as a full time mother, musician, and holistic healer. A typical day for me is waking up about 8am, getting my two children (Elijah, who is 5, and Sedona, who is 1) up and ready for the day, taking them to where they will be while I am at work, then spending most of the day doing energy work, as well as returning emails and phone calls from those interested in working with me. My day ends late in the evening, usually about 6 or 7pm, and after that I am usually occupied with cleaning the house, cooking dinner, spending time with my children, and getting them to bed. Not to mention, I do spend quality time with my significant other, who I've been with for 3 years now (holla). He too is at home to help me, which is a huge plus! If I'm not too exhausted by the time the children are asleep, then I will spend some extra hours perfecting my music skills, promoting events on Facebook, and or taking some time to paint. I live a pretty busy lifestyle, as most people who have worked with me know. However, it is a very fulfilling lifestyle and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Describe your creative process with songwriting and recording, especially with your two albums, The Other Side and Metamorphosis. What tools do you use? What may surprise people about how your music is created?
So you want to know about my creative process huh? Haha. It happens in so many different ways!! Sometimes I'll be strumming my guitar and lyrics will come to my head, or sometimes lyrics will come to my head and then ill come up with the melody on my guitar. My lyrics come from my life experiences, and a handful of them come from psychedelic experiences as well. When collaborating with hip-hop artists, I usually vibe with their energy for a bit and get a feel for what kind of feeling I get when listening to the song I am recording on. A lot of magical moments have happened in the studio when collaborating with hip-hop artists. It's something you would have to experience yourself to know exactly what I mean.
What artists do you look to these days for inspiration? What do you admire most about these artists?
Artists that I look to these days for inspiration are Tupac, Bob Marley, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Kendrick Lamar, Amy Winehouse, and John Prine. What I admire most about these artists is how real they are. They speak their own truths about the lives they've lived and the things they've seen. It's raw, it's real, and I can relate. I also admire the music behind the lyrics. When I listen to a song, I am not only listening to what you are saying, but also to every detail about the beat and or live instruments. Their music captivates me, motivates me to stay true to myself, and inspires me to never give up on my dreams.
Your SoundCloud account has been pretty active with new music recently. How would you say your music has evolved since the release of Metamorphosis?
Overtime, my music has evolved from a more folky feel to more neo-soul. Don't get it twisted though, I still embrace my folk baby side, and at most of my shows I perform both my folk music and my neo-soul tunes. Its beautiful, and I say this because over time I have created a diverse fanbase that brings a large group of very different people together through my music. Since I'm so eclectic with my style, many people ask me what musical category I consider my myself to be. I consider my music soul music, and it's not because of what it sounds like, but because of where it comes from. All of my songs come straight from my soul, and I promise you will feel what I'm talking about the second I open my mouth to sing.
What most excites you about music and creativity in Kansas City?
What most excites me about the Kansas City music scene is its diversity, support, and recent success! I have met and collaborated with so many beautiful people in the KC music scene. The artists here are so open, driven, and inspiring that I wouldn't be surprised if KC was voted #1 uprising music scene in America.
Nicolette's book, movie and music recommendations:
1. MTV Unplugged by Lauryn Hill (music)
2. Illusions by by Richard Bach (book)
3. The Rose that Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur (book)
4. To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar (music)
5. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (book)
6. Blackfish documentary (movie)
7. Prime Prine: The Best of John Prine (music)
8. The Lion King (movie)
9. The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers by Bob Marley (music)
10. Sublime Acoustic: Bradley Nowell & Friends (music)