Ohio native Paige Nichols has been described as a “…songwriter with a sound that is both soulful, country and spirited”. Nichols began her career as a singer/songwriter in New York City (NYC), studying voice at one of the cities conservatories. While there, she started playing shows at various venues around the city, which eventually opened the door for her to move to Los Angeles (LA) before settling in Nashville.
You began your career in NYC, studying at a conservatory. Which venues were your favorite to go to hear live music?
NYC was amazing, so many incredible venues and you’re just constantly surrounded by so much art and culture. I used to actually perform in the operas at The Metropolitan Opera House so that was absolutely one of my favorite places to perform and watch music. I also used to love playing Rockwood Music Hall. I used to hang out there a lot, its a great spot for catching up and coming artists.
LA. Having songs placed in film and television. How does writing for a film or tv production differ from writing for radio?
Writing for film and tv is fun in that you get to be more cinematic than you do for radio. You can be as dramatic and theatrical as you want to because your songs are the backdrop to big moments on the screen. A great soundtrack can take a good movie and make it a classic, so it’s pretty fun to hear your songs be the backdrop to one of your favorite tv shows or films.
Nashville. Writing with Grammy winning songwriters like Paul Overstreet. What’s the best advice another songwriter has shared with you?
Yes! That’s what’s so great about Nashville, is that you’re constantly surrounded by such amazing writers, it causes you to up your game and get better! I think some of the best advice I’ve received is that sometimes you get so caught up trying to say something witty or clever or super different that you lose the real emotion in the song. Worry less about that and more about just being honest. Real emotion coming from a genuine place is what really connects with fans.
“Still There”…the accidental version. Working on music as the quarantine began. Did these unique challenges lead to any new writes?
hahahahaha you know, I was so happy that version happened. It was at the start of quarantine and I was determined to keep working on my music daily, as I normally would before the world stopped. I looked back at what I had filmed and realized it was in slow motion and couldn’t stop laughing. I realize I look ridiculous, but I felt like people needed a good laugh! I think laughing at me brought a lot of people happiness during a sad time, so I’m good with that.
Live version with co-writer Issac Slutzky to connect with fans who were listening to “Still There”. How else have you been able to stay in touch with fans?
I’ve just tried to continue to write and put out new songs during this time, to keep my connection with fans going and keep getting my music to them. It has really helped me maintain some sense of normalcy by continuing to record music. The lack of shows and touring is a scary concept so it’s been really important to just focus on doing what I love to keep from losing my mind!
Traveling during the pandemic. Many artists go to Joshua Tree in California to write. Have any of your songs been written there?
I LOVE the desert! I had the chance to drive out to Joshua Tree by myself in August and stay in a camper in a super deserted area for a bit. Being alone in the desert was an excellent spot for inspiration. In the days before I lived in Nashville, I actually filmed one of my first music videos in Joshua Tree. We filmed the whole video on an iPhone and had an absolute blast making it. The desert has always been a huge inspiration for me and I always do a lot of writing when I’m there.
Yes, Theresa Gorella and I did a cross country trip back to Nashville last month that was incredible. She brought a guitar and we wrote everywhere from the Grand Canyon to New Mexico and every time we felt inspired in the car. It’s always good to write in new scenery to give yourself a new perspective and always great to get away for awhile to gain some clarity!
“Good Time” co-written with Chris McKenna and Frank Legeay. You posted that it was written in person, before the pandemic. The song is about wanting a real connection, but settling for a good time, hoping it will turn into something more even knowing it’ll hurt you in the end. Can you describe the co-write session?
Frank came in with the hook idea “Good Time”. I am pretty adamant that even if we are trying to write an upbeat fun song that it comes from a real place and is something that I really feel. I had just broken up with someone because I felt it was going nowhere. I was really missing having an actual connection and was still upset from that situation, so instead of making it a party song, we decided to write “Good Time” about my situation and really something that anyone who has dated recently could relate to, wanting something more from someone, thinking if you stick around long enough how could they NOT fall in love with you?! But turns out, they only wanted… a “Good Time.”
You posted that the new single’s lyrics seem even more relevant now. How so?
I think during the pandemic we’ve all been separated from loved ones, not able to see people as we normally do and really missing those connections. “Good Time” is about missing a deep connection in a romantic relationship but ultimately missing real human interactions is something I think we can all relate to currently!
Tiger King and TikTok. Keeping busy. What else have you been up to these past few months?
I’ve really just kept my focus on music. I have no idea when things will go back to normal, but I want to keep getting music out to fans and use this time to record and write as much as possible!