Exclusive Interview with Canadian Country Artist Lisa Nicole

Canadian country artist Lisa Nicole‘s choice to uproot to Nashville was greatly inspired by a transformative and serendipitous moment. When she visited Nashville for a songwriting trip, she arrived to a Keith Urban pop-up concert with her 2016 EP in hand, only to end up on stage by night’s end to sing an impromptu duet of “We Were Us” with the superstar. Following her extended stay in Nashville in 2018, Lisa Nicole returned to Canada with heaps of inspiration and a wealth of new material. Since then, she has joined forces with producer Jeff Johnson to record her first full-length album, which will feature her brand new single “Wait on Me”. 

PHOTO CREDIT: Suzanne Sagmeister

I got the chance to talk to her about how she first got started making music, the country scene in Canada, the story behind “Wait on Me” and so much more. Keep reading to see what she had to say!

Tell me a little bit about how you first got into making and performing music.

When I was in music school, I bought a piano and also had my first guitar my mom bought me. The first country song I wrote was called “Jack D” on my first album and most of my writing is on the guitar. I’ve also been influenced by country music growing up. I moved to Vancouver after music school and that’s when I started networking and going to the Canadian Country Music Awards every year.

Was there a specific moment or person that made you realize that music is what you wanted to pursue professionally?

Looking back, I knew from a very young age. I was going through my hope chest the other day. My mom kept a lot of my school work from when I was younger. Everything was horses and singing. I wanted to be a singer and be in front of the camera. I started singing in bars at age 15. I would have to wait outside, being underage, but my parents would drive me around the Kootenays three times a week to sing. I was blessed to have my parents nourish and encourage my love for music.

You are based in Trail, British Columbia and it seems like the Canadian country scene is hotter than ever right now. From your experience, what is the country scene in Canada like? 

Country music has grown immensely all over the world in the last 10 years, including Canada. I myself liked country music when it wasn’t so cool. It’s been refreshing to see how popular it’s become. That said, I wish we had MORE country music in Canada. The area I live in BC, we don’t have a country radio station. For markets where I’d like to tour and there are no Country radio stations, it makes it tough to get known. I think there should be country radio stations throughout Canada. We do have a lot of good strong country music festivals in Canada though, like Boots and Hearts, Calgary Stampede and Rockin’ Riverfest. We are blessed for what we do have, for being such a spread out country, but I hope it will continue to grow. 

I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey with their music so if you had to describe the music you make without using genre names, how would you describe it?

You’ll always hear guitars in my songs, acoustic and electric. And every once in a while, a banjo or a fiddle. On this record, we added an electronic element with synth sounds, drum programming, but not much of a classic piano sound. The rhythms are mostly straight time, one is half time, one is swung a bit. I love harmonies, so there are always harmonies on the vocals. 

Going off of that, who are some of your musical influences?

Shania Twain, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Maren Morris, Taylor Swift, Whitney Houston.

Let’s talk about your new single, “Wait on Me”. What’s this song about? 

This song is about the balance between a relationship back home and having a career such as mine, where you’re traveling a lot and your partner is waiting for you to come home. It’s definitely harder for them, so to have someone wait for you is special and deserves a song!

Something I’ve always been curious with songwriting is how topics come to mind. Did you know what you wanted to write about going into the song session that birthed “Wait on Me” or did it just come about organically?

Whenever I have an idea, I write it down. The other night I said to Garrett (my partner), “I wanna do forever with you” and I was like, “OMG, that’s a title!” So it’s in my notes now.

I didn’t know what we were going to write when I walked into that session but I think this title and song idea was a natural one for all of us to write. I would’ve had a bunch of ideas written down to present, but you never know which ones sticks. It’s all about what feels right at the time for me.

Was there any major changes made to “Wait on Me” once you got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?

No, not overly; the lyrics stayed the same, the form stayed the same and even all the guitar parts that Jason came up with in the demo we kept! There’s another song on the album coming out that we changed completely, for the better. You never know, but I feel like re-writing is always good. “Wait On Me” didn’t need it though 🙂 

You also shot a music video for ”Wait on Me”. What was that process like? How did it compare to the other ones you’ve done?

Yes, I did! I produced the music video and have produced most of my videos. What that means is that I organized everything, from props, to locations, to hair and make-up, my stylist, and more. The tricky part is when you have to switch from being the producer to the artist! I still find myself trying to wrangle everyone and make sure everything goes smoothly, but I usually organize assistants for the day of. We shot this video outside in October in Vancouver so weather is always a huge variable because it rains a lot on the coast AND October is one month where it rains even more then usual. We got so lucky with no rain on all three shooting days.

Your first full-length album Where the Wild Hearts Beat is set to be released this fall. What can fans expect from it when it comes out?

The majority of this album is uplifting and fun – with a couple of tearjerkers thrown in. It’s also got a bit of a pop vibe to it, which is different from the country rock sound I’ve had in the past. I can’t wait to share this album with everyone. It’s my best work AND the very best thing about it is I wrote every song!  

You are still relatively new to the music game. What are some music industry-related goals or benchmarks that you’re aiming to reach in the next couple of years?

It’s ironic because even though I am 7 years into the music game, it’s still considered new and emerging. I would love to play some of the larger music festivals in Canada, and the States. Being nominated for female artist of the year would be pretty neat. I also want to tour over in Australia. And a top 10 single would be lovely. Those are some big goals I manifest on!

Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd so what is something that you’re currently nerding out about?

I love podcasts. When I started listening the first one I got hooked on was The Healthful Pursuit. I love learning so I listen to a lot of health and entrepreneur podcasts. I also love podcasts about fitness and body positivity. It’s cool to listen to people I can relate to.

On that note, I released my own podcast called Wild Hearts! It’s a bit of behind the scenes of my music career, entrepreneur, music business, and health and fitness.

And I also love to read when I have time. I read before bed every night but it only takes me two pages before I fall asleep so let’s just say it takes me a few months to read one book.

For more information, make sure you visit Lisa Nicole’s website and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Feature Photo Credit: Suzanne Sagmeister

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