Rolleston’s Nicole Taylor has released her first two singles, Wondering and Energy. Emily O’Connell talks to the 18-year-old about her inspiration, pursuing music and what she likes about her town.
When and how did you get into music?
I asked my parents if I could start singing lessons when I was six-years-old after they took me down to school to see the singing teacher, and I’ve been singing ever since.
One of my main singing teachers, who taught me through my younger years, was Linley Thomas. She really inspired me and helped me with my music. She then started teaching me piano at age 12. And I am now learning from Beth Keoghan, who is an amazing and talented pianist.
Is anyone in your family musical?
My family tries to claim that I got my musical talent from them but none of them are very musical. My parents both learned an instrument while they were in school, but both ending up stopping and probably wouldn’t be able to remember anything now.
My younger sister, Aimee, did learn the drums and she did get pretty good at it. My mum and dad have still been very supportive of me through the whole thing.
What’s your inspiration for your music?
It’s a hard question to answer but I guess seeing famous artists perform on stage in front of sold out arenas and stadiums is my inspiration. I want nothing more than to be able to do that sometime in the future, be selling out my own concerts, performing my own songs in front of a packed out arena, with everyone there singing my songs.
Can you tell me about the process you went through to create your first two singles?
The process started with me having two songs with lyrics and chords that I knew I wanted to let people hear. I then met up with Ryan Neville at his studio called Voodoo Music Studio, and we recorded the piano tracks and demo vocals. From there, we built the rest of the songs, adding drums or base or strings, whatever we thought the two songs needed. We ended up creating two totally different songs in terms of production. Wondering is a more contemporary pop song, which I wrote at Lincoln High School with my friends Emma Kench and Jordan Trevarton, whereas with Energy we went for a more electronic pop feel. This gave me a really good look into how much goes on behind the scenes of music production. There is so much you need to know and learn to be a producer and engineer.
How did you find it?
I loved the recording process, being able to see your song evolve from basic lyrics and piano to a full-on song is amazing. You also had to be prepared so you didn’t waste time in the studio.
What’s next for you with your music?
I’ve just got back into the studio and I’m currently
working on another song, which I’ll hopefully be releasing this year. I will also be recording a music video for my song Wondering in the next few months.
I also just started teaching some singing lessons and I will start with my first two students next week, so if anyone is still looking for some lessons, I still have some spots open.
Are you planning to release an album?
Yes, I actually just recently decided that I will be releasing an album. It’s still in the very early stages but that’s something I’ll probably be working on next year.
How often do you write songs?
Not often enough. I try
to write songs or work on
songs whenever I’m not busy. Most of the time my songs
are just made up from random thoughts written down on
my phone during the day or
at night, or I sometimes
even record weird voice
memos of melodies that
just pop into my head in the middle of the night. When I
have time, I’ll look at them, look over lyrics and turn them into songs.
What are the different instruments you can play?
My main instrument is vocals. I also play piano and very basic guitar.
Is it difficult pursuing
It’s difficult because you have to put so much time and effort into perfecting your craft, writing songs, recording songs, while still keeping time for university, work and a social life. But it’s all worth it in the long run when music is the thing I love doing.
What’s your favourite thing about being a musician?
I love performing. Being on stage and singing is what makes me want to keep doing it. Recording your owns songs and watching them grow is also an amazing experience as well.
What do you feel when performing/singing?
I don’t know. I guess you just get this rush of adrenaline and then you just start singing and it’s a really unexplainable feeling unless you sort of do it yourself.
What’s your dream with music?
My long-term dream with music would be to have my songs go like gold and platinum in New Zealand and even internationally. I would love to win some major awards, also do a world-wide tour performing to thousands of people who know all the words to my songs. My short-term dream at the moment would just to be to start with music in New Zealand, get my songs more known and to start performing them.
Which musicians do you look up to and why?
I look up to Shawn Mendes and Alessia Cara as they are both amazing song writers and artists. Shawn Mendes has released three studio albums and headlined three world tours and he’s only 20-years-old. I also love and look up to Pink as she’s an amazing song writer as well as an even more amazing performer.
Other than music, what other hobbies/activities are you involved in?
At the moment, I’ve only really been focussing on university. I used to play football and netball and stuff in high school, but I just decided to sort of give that a miss this year so I could fully focus on my music.
What do you study and where?
I’m at Canterbury University, studying a Bachelor of Music, majoring in a mixture of performance and new music as I can’t make up my mind yet which one I want to continue with as a major.
How have you found your first year so far?
It’s been crazy but I’m finding it great. My vocal lessons are teaching me so much about my voice, my posture, my performing that I can already see a big change in only one year. The theory is also helping me with my song writing and understanding how things work and go together.
How do you balance study, music and everything else going on?
Planning. I’ve got my calendar out and I have to plan each day – what I’ve got free, what I need to have done, my priorities. There’s quite a lot to sort out but you get it done.
What are you hoping to do after completing your study?
I’m hoping before my three years of university is up that my music career might have taken off a bit more. If this doesn’t happen, then I will continue teaching singing lessons and continue to pursue music in some way. I hope to be performing regularly and be able to make a living off it, and I also want to travel. So if I could find a way to travel and continue with music, that would be great.
How long have you lived in Rolleston and what do you like about it?
I’ve lived in Rolleston my whole life, so I’ve seen it grow from a Falbum
tiny town to a really huge one. Even though Rolleston has got big, I love where I live, I have great people that live on my street and it’s a nice community feel. It’s especially cool when we have our annual street party once a year.
Do you have any part time jobs as well as singing lessons?
Yes, I have a part time job. I work in Prebbleton at The Bridge Armadillos, where I’m mostly a waitress – sometimes I work behind the bar.
How many hours do you work there?
I normally work at night so it kind of varies but normally around 10 hours.
What’s your greatest achievement been so far?
I guess releasing my singles; that was a pretty good achievement. I was actually kind of nervous to release them because it’s quite a personal thing I guess.
•To listen to Nicole’s music and follow her journey, visit www.facebook.com/NicoleTaylorMusic/