A true musical self-starter whose story-driven lyrics are fused with a modern country sound and a strong yet carefree stage presence, Lisa Nicole has earned warm admiration from fans and deep respect from industry peers alike who value her tireless work ethic and her fun-loving personality. Hailing from the mountains and nature of small-town Castlegar, British Columbia, Lisa Nicole grew up hunting, fishing, camping and embracing country music.
Growing up in the Kootenays, your family listened to country music. What was the first country song that you connected to and in turn inspired your career?
The first song was “My Baby Loves Me” by Martina McBride. That was the song to sing into the hairbrush on top my dresser! And I can clearly remember the first album which was “Come On Over” by Shania Twain. Listened to that on repeat!
What was your favorite class at Selkirk College of Contemporary Music and Technology?
Probably my private vocal lessons and the ensemble class. The ones where I got to sing! Ear training was the hardest!
Can you describe what it was like to hit the stage for the first time after the release of your debut EP “It Got Ugly”?
Fun and exciting! The tour across Canada was such an adventure, and a great learning experience. It was the first tour I had ever booked, and first time travelling across the Country. Everyone was so kind and receptive.
Touring across Canada. Dream venue/festival to play?
Calgary Stampede would be awesome!! And Boots and Hearts in Ontario. I would love to play the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, and of course every stadium everywhere would be the ultimate goal! But music festivals are my favourites! Combine live music with a sunny day or even if it rains — I’m in!
Up-and-coming Canadian artists we should add to our playlists?
He said yes! Channeling your inner Miranda Lambert, you got the chance to duet with Keith Urban at an impromptu Nashville show in 2017 on “We Were Us”. How did that lead you to move from home for an extended song writing stay?
I have always wanted to go spend a longer time in Nashville. It kind of all fell into place at the right time. Singing with Keith Urban was a HUGE bonus that created some extra excitement. I mean, who wouldn’t be over the moon about that!
You gave Keith a copy of your “Come Find Me” EP that night. Did you have a chance to talk to him more after the show?
No, I didn’t get a chance to talk to him. I did get a chance to talk to his wife, Nicole Kidman! She was so sweet about the performance and complimentary. Even more exciting was when I was on the phone outside the venue talking to my family back home when this girl tapped my shoulder and it was Hayden Panettiere who plays “Juliette Barnes” on the show “Nashville”. I talked to her for about 10 minutes. She was so nice and said she never could’ve done what I did, and so well. That was nice to hear!
Moving to Nashville meant you’d be in a long-distance relationship. The single, “Wait On Me”, is about this time in your life. What was the greatest relationship challenge you had to work through?
Gosh, missing each other like crazy! We quite honestly didn’t have many because we have such great trust. I think that’s why I am able to be away a lot with no worry. If he wasn’t so supportive and secure, it would be nearly impossible.
What advice would you give a fellow artist in a similar situation?
Facetime is your best friend! We Facetime at any point during the day. Especially before bed, or send snapchats if the other is sleeping. I feel like it’s just considerate to make your partner feel at ease. And also to simply answer your phone/Facetime wherever you are. If I was out and about with friends and he called or vice versa, we would always answer. It makes that person feel like they’re still a part of your life even from far away. I recently recorded a whole podcast on this, I would recommend taking a listen. It’s called For The Road Widows, How To Make Long Distance Work & My Love Story.
#7 For The Road Widows, How To Make Long Distance Work, And My Love Story - Wild Hearts By Lisa…
My career has always brought me away from home, away from the people I love most. Being an artist or even just working…
What has been the most rewarding career moment to date that was a direct result of your time in Music City in 2018?
I think that time is now. Releasing “Wait on Me” and hearing all the feedback from everyone. We are getting ready to go out on a radio and publicity tour this month and I can’t wait.
Also — prior to this when I came back to Canada to record the album. In addition to that, every show I’ve done lately, I feel like people are always saying how much I’ve improved.
You co-wrote the new single with your guitarist Jason Thomas and Dave Pahanish. Dave has multiple number 1's, including Keith’s “Without You”. What lyric did you start the co-write with?
Hah — wait on me! “wait on me, I don’t know how long it’s gonna take me”! We started writing the chorus first. When I look back on lyrics we didn’t use, there were some lines like “I’m looking for that song that’s gonna save me — save me” and “Hold me, hold me — hold me in your arms like you’re never letting go of me”. A lot of really great writing that you can’t fit in an entire song.
How did you choose the song to be the lead single from your upcoming album “Where the Wild Hearts Beat”?
It was the first song that I myself, and everyone I shared with was really excited about. I tested a few songs out live and this one always stuck in the set. And also it’s funny, because my partner Garrett doesn’t like Country music (I know right, I’m a country singer). He likes mostly Pop music. There are two songs on the album that he really loves and “Wait on Me” is his favourite, although he may be a little biased. It’s usually a good thing that if someone who isn’t a huge fan of Country music likes my song, it may be my best song.
Can you share some of the backstories to the songs on the album?
Sure! This album is not about break-ups and cheating stories. That said, there are still heartbreaking songs — two of them, about loss and one for my mom. The rest of the album is so fun! There’s a couple songs that will have you fist pumping and dancing! Another love song about Garrett too that I love!
The album was produced by Canadian Country Music Association Award winner Jeff Johnson. Can you describe a typical day working together in the studio?
Yes, we usually started the day off with Jeff around 10AM. Everyday would be different, depending on what needed to be done.
Day 1 for “Wait on Me”, the song didn’t need much work so he had already started programming some drums and a bass before we got to the studio. When we got there, Jason would start laying down the acoustic, and electric guitars. On other songs he’d do Ukulele. Next up would be a rough vocal track so we could build the song from around that. And the following day we would start with vocals! Jeff is awesome in the studio, if he felt I wasn’t quite in the zone, he would try suggesting something else. In the morning I would have an exercise, drink lots of water and some coffee. One afternoon we had some red wine to relax, and another time he had me doing push-ups to get amped up!
How did Jeff bring your carefree stage presence to the recordings?
He brought my carefree personality to the recordings for sure. Just wait till you hear the record. There’s one song I have a lot of fun with, sneak peek — it’s called “Do Your Thang”! Thang, not thing! It’s so fun, and I’m a bit silly in it.
The music video for “Wait On Me” was directed by Cliff Hokanson. Did you create the story boards for filming?
We didn’t physically draw storyboards for this one. In the last few music videos, we’ve used Pinterest boards for creating ideas and themes. Along with writing out a storyline and having concepts written out. One day Cliff, Prudence (my stylist) and I just sat at Starbucks for a few hours and brainstormed.
Do you see a return to Nashville/the States in the near future to support the new music?
It’s very possible! I’m usually down to Nashville once a year to write. At the moment, I’m focusing on this release to Canada. It’s always a bit of a circle for me — I spend a big chunk of time writing, then get in the studio and record the album, do photoshoots and music videos, start booking tours, PR And radio, and finally hit the road to implement all of it!
Kittens and coffees. What’s your go-to cup of joe?
Wild Hearts By Lisa Nicole - Podcast
Hey y'all! Welcome to my podcast, where each week I, and occasional special guests aim to inspire you both on and off…
Your Wild Hearts podcast. How has sharing your story on it helped you as a songwriter?
Sharing my story on the podcast has helped me overall as a person, to become bolder and more vulnerable. Before I started the podcast I wrote a few personal story songs like “Wait on Me”. When I decided to take a leap of faith with releasing these songs was when I figured it would be a good time to open up with a podcast. It’s been quite invigorating, yet nerve-racking to share certain stories of my life.
Talking about the beginning of the last decade, touring and heartbreak. How did it lead you to meeting Garrett?
I had to go through a few bad heartbreaks before I found the good guy didn’t I? If I didn’t go through all that heartbreak it wouldn’t have lead me to Garrett.
How did winning the BC Country Music Association (BCCMA) artist development project in 2015 change the course of your career?
It’s quite crazy to think that was 5 years ago now! It really did have a big impact on everything. The best part was attending Canada’s Music Incubator in Toronto where I got to connect and network with so many great industry professionals. Working with the team and record label in Toronto has been an ongoing mentorship and relationship ever since.
Peanut Butter, CrossFit, And An Eating Disorder. What message do you want listeners to take away from your health and fitness journey?
That we are different human beings and should not be felt like we all have to look the same. We are all going to look different and need different things. That one “size” doesn’t fit all. I wish I grew up loving myself for myself a lot more because even in the early days of my career I was told I had to lose weight. It’s all just very triggering and not mentally healthy. I’ve always tried to change my body instead of loving it for allowing me to just be alive. I believe in fueling yourself properly with good food, exercise, and lots of water to live a long healthy life. But I wish I haven’t always felt guilty and judged about eating anything else. I’m not quite there yet but I’m taking big steps to get there, like opening up about it.
Favorite winter outdoor activities in Canada?
I love snowshoeing and riding the most! Being outdoors in general are my fave — ice fishing and snowmobiling. That said, I don’t have a ton of free time so when I do get outside in the Winter it’s usually snowshoeing and riding.
Is horse riding with Sage one of them?
Yes, riding Sage is tied with snowshoeing. They’re both very therapeutic for me.
Do you still go on family hunting trips?
I go with my Dad almost every year up North! And Garrett and I go whenever we have time together. But since my focus is music, some years I don’t get to go too much.
Bucket list trips?
Australia for sure. It’s sad the devastation that’s happened there though, and is still happening. But I’d love to explore Europe, Africa and Asia too! I have quite the travel bug, I want to go everywhere! Except only when it’s warm. I’m not a fan of being cold!