By likemindblog

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JANINE NICHOLS is a most amazing woman, totally involved in the arts and everything creative!  She’s a producer,  musician,  singer,  collagist, to name a few and she’s funny!  I asked her about her dreams: “the other night, answers Janine, I rubbed the bottoms of my feet with Young Living Peace and Calming oil and dreamt of world cooperation all night. Even though I woke several times to visit the restroom, the dreams continued every time. BLISS.”…

 Janine, thank you and welcome.  I sincerely appreciate you’re talking the time to participate in this project and answering the following questions;

 No. 1)  What is music to and for you?  (generally and personally)

 1. Music is, for us all, players and listeners alike, the universal language. I have been obsessed with music since I first discerned a harmony in the theme to the old Mickey Mouse Club tv show at age 4, one note moving under another and I had to know how it was done! I spent all my allowance money on records every week and bought my first guitar as a teenager. I had no ambition to be a singer, then. What I actually wanted to be was a background singer, either an Ikette or part of Leon Russell’s traveling circus, the Mad Dogs & Englishman band. I was a good student, though, and thought I had a career in academics in front of me. But I didn’t like grad school and started dating the music director for a new tv show, Saturday Night Live, and then I started working there part-time and making friends with all the musicians. Eventually, I dropped out of school to be the show’s music coordinator.

 Now I feel like my entire career as a producer has been one continuous master class for me as a performer. As good fortune had it, I started outblizzard pearl I working with the best musicians in the world and kept at it. It took awhile for me to find my own way into music-making, first as a singer and now, as a songwriter and guitar player too

 No. 2)  What inspires you?  (music and art)

 2. I like music that tells its truth and doesn’t sound like anything else. I like dark, sad songs in particular. Not that I’m dark and sad as a person, not at all, quite the opposite! But music is the best way to express any emotion, and the dark emotions are the most complex and compelling

 No. 3)  When you are creating, playing, singing, painting… where does it take you?  Where does your mind (spirit) travel?

 3. I am inspired by story-telling in all forms — music, visual art, poetry, spoken word. I take inspiration from many singers in particular: Jimmy Durante, Mary Margaret O’Hara and Harry Nilsson for starters….

 No. 4)  Do you think music, visual art and health are related and if so, how?

 4. Many of the visual artists I know do their work while listening to music. I don’t! I can only give my attention to one art form at a time.  I like to be completely absorbed…..  I wouldn’t say that music-making keeps you physically healthy, I know too many ailing musicians to make such a claim. But I do know that music can provide a very effective outlet for pain and struggle……

 No. 5)  How do you feel when you are playing, singing?

 5. When I’m singing, I’m transported into the lyric, into telling the story. One of my favorite things to do in life is sing while driving. I can sing for 8 hours straight, honest. But once I started singing for real, I would get so lost in the song I’d lose the road, so I had to take a break from that for a while. But I’m back on the pony now. People often comment to me about the gestures I make with my hands while singing. I’m totally unaware of them, but people like them and miss it when I accompany myself on guitar….!

 No. 6) How do you feel when you sing for yourself versus when you are performing?

 6. When I’m singing well for myself, it’s the same as performing. I’m thinking about performing. I use a dead mic on a stand sometimes and sing out my big living room window that looks out over Brooklyn to the harbor, Lady Liberty to the southwest. In warm weather, I leave the windows open. my neighbors all enjoy hearing me. I’ve never had a noise complaint in any apartment building I’ve lived in; maybe I should have taken that as a sign earlier!

Janine at Tabla Rasa No. 7)  Do you identify with the song and if so, on what level?

 7.  You can only sing songs that are true for you. that is the central challenge of interpretive singing, which is what Billie Holiday was or Tony Bennett is. it’s another thing to sing your own songs, since they spring from you, you can’t help but understand them

 No. 8)  Does singing help you connect with your higher self, whatever that is for you?

 8. Singing helps me connect with what is most inter-connected about me, the universal feelings, hopes and aspirations, losses and challenges.  When a song is working and the singer is getting over it’s all about circles closing….

 No. 9)  How do you feel about creativity in the public school systems?

 9. I am a product of the New York city public school system back in the days when arts education was a must. I was in the so-called “IGC” classes (intellectually gifted children, pardon the expression) and started on flutophone in 3rd grade, recorder in 4th, clarinet after that. I learned to read music and, more importantly, to play as part of an ensemble. I was in the Brooklyn All Borough Band for several years and even played Carnegie Hall once — Gershwin’s American in Paris, Mozart’s Impresario Overture, the Polevetsian Dances, Strauss waltzes from Tales of the Vienna Woods. It was an incredible feeling of connection and achievement and clearly opened the world to me.

 No. 10)  In your opinion, what could be a simple solution toEpping Moon_small improve creativity in the public school systems?

 10. Never seat children in rows. let them problem-solve together.  Art training is not all about drawing and music-making, though it MUST include those things, as well as theater. kids have so many things they’re trying to figure out; theater is a great way for them to step out of themselves and see how things could be otherwise. oh, and eliminate homework! assign craft projects instead!

 No. 11)  What is jazz to you?

 11. Jazz, I think, is a state of inventive mind. the more I listen to classical music, and I’m late to the party on that one, the more I think of Bach as a jazz musician, defining the canon, then taking every loving liberty with it.

 No. 12)  Do you consider a voice to be a musical instrument and if so, how do you feel about improvisation?

 12. I do think that the voice is the supreme musical instrument; all instruments try to imitate the voice and the world is always looking for a new voice. that said, I never thought of myself as a musician until I started to play guitar seriously. Billie didn’t call herself a musician either, please note. Somehow, the practice that it has taken me to become a singer has been so entirely at my leisure and pleasurable that it doesn’t seem at all like a kid missing the ballgame because he has to play scales…. so I don’t equate the two. I’m certainly no scat singer, it’s not even a goal, but my band Semi-Free pursues a sort of ballad format interspersed with “out” sections that are improvisational, you know, semi-free! that’s how we do. My other band, Flutterbox, is a duo and we work without a net, electric bass and voice, that’s all. In that band, we do my music partner Neill Furio’s songs, which are exacting but need to sound simple. I think of it as my Dionne to his Burt.

Janine, I want to thank you ever so much for sharing your thougts and feelings with us, and inviting us into your life.  I want to wish you all the best in all your endeavours and until we work together again, be blessed!

Janine Nichols 08.jpg bTO THE READER :

You are invited to visit Janine’s links below to get to know her more and to read about her amazing carreer.  As David Greenberger observed, “Without a hint of grandstanding, Nichols gently lets her idiosyncratic sense of time and space elevate everything she sings.”

She is truly someone to get to know more!  Enjoy!





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Filed in: MUSIC • Friday, February 4th, 2011

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My name is Michele Andree. I am an artist, I paint musicians in action. I think I’m a musician at heart, my instrument being… a brush, so I play…brush and I paint… music.
I love jazz. I call it freedom music. It promotes special values. I love intelligent people and good conversations.

Some people ask me how music relates to art. Personally I find they go hand in hand. Music is what turns me on to painting. It makes me see colours