I actually first heard about Nicole Vaughn when Jolyn, a reader, commented on one of my music posts about her. I went to her website to take a listen and I loved what I heard. A peaceful voice, relatable lyrics, and emotionally charged melodies are what make up her tracks. It just so happens that the singer/songwriter is also a huge Free People fan! She sent in an FPme photo that we recently posted on the blog (she’s the third one down). It’s hard to believe she’s not already a huge sensation. Nicole is one of the music scene’s best kept secrets that needs to be let out of the bag.
Nicole gladly answered a few questions for you all to get to know her better. She’s also made her song, “Stuck on You,” available for free download to you all! (Thank you, Nicole!) Read up on our interview with the inspirational woman and take a listen to her music!
Where were you when you wrote your first song?
I wrote my first official song on guitar at 13, I was sitting on the floor of my room with my guitar and a notebook of some poetry (not very good poetry), and sort of just started to put the pieces together.
What is your favorite song off of your most recent album, “Say It,” and why?
I think that my favorite song off of album would be “Everything We’ve Built” or the title track itself, “Say it”. These are the most personal and soul-bearing songs on the album and are extremely raw and honest in their story-telling and how I felt about the subject matter.
What is your picture of success?
Success to me would be to continue creating quality music and lyrics that I’m excited about and playing and collaborating with talented musicians that I admire. If I get some fans and make people smile, feel, connect, or dance along the way, I am happy. I’d also like to open for Wilco or Mason Jennings one day, but that might be pushing it ;)
What’s the last album you bought? What else is on your iPod right now?
I recently bought Paul Simons greatest hits, Dawes’ new album, and Barrett Johnson’s album “In Case I went Missing”. Some of my iPod go-to’s are: Mason Jennings, Neko Case, Cass McCombs, Alexander, Rolling Stones, Lissie, Muddy Waters, Bon Iver, Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn, Arcade Fire, Patsy Cline, Wilco, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Randy Newman, Sharon Van Etten…just to name a few! I love it all.
What is your signature look?
I’m not even sure, I think I’d have to ask someone else, hah! I just wear what I like and I’m comfortable in. Fancy stuff when I’m on stage, but lately off stage I’ve been really casual. I just like jeans, plain T, some turquoise or native american jewelry, and some boots. I like simplicity more and more these days.
What sort of hobbies do you have besides your music?
I love reading a good book, surfing, camping, going to shows, road-trips, hiking, running, rock-climbing, spending time with my pups, anything adventurous and spontaneous. I like to keep life interesting and unpredictable.
What is your favorite book?
East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I’m a big fan of Steinbeck.
One thing you cannot live without is?
Guitar. Or my wonderful mom. Or my dogs. I mean that’s a pretty tough question. haha
What does Free mean to you?
Free means having a free state of mind, not being confined by status quos or trends-free of influence, loving what you love just because YOU love it! Doing what you want, because it’s what YOU want to do.
in just two days i’ll be in the car on my way down to tennessee for bonnaroo! it is my favorite festival and i’ve gone several times but i have a feeling this year will be my last. it is the festival’s tenth anniversary and they are going back to their roots, bringing in lots of jam bands and bonnaroo staples. i am particularly excited for my morning jacket, buffalo springfield, dr. john & the meters, superjam ft. dr, john and dan auerbach, widespread panic and arcade fire…but there are so many amazing bands playing! i am camping and won’t have access to a computer while i’m there but i’ll take tons of pictures to share with you when i get back :)
bonnaroo style is very laid back…it’s all about staying comfortable while getting hot, sweaty and dirty! simple, versatile items are key. here’s a look at my ideal bag for bonnaroo!
i was hesitant to even write about the new my morning jacket album because i am so biased. they are one of my favorite bands in the world, and in my eyes they pretty much can’t do anything wrong. so it goes without saying that i love their new album, love that they are constantly changing and trying new things, and love that they consistently remain true to who they’ve always been. whether he’s singing a heart-wrenching song or upbeat jam, jim james’ energy and emotion is infectious and he makes you feel like you’re the only person watching.
this quote from pitchfork’s review could not be more true: “a good MMJ concert can recalibrate your gut, it can change you.”
i can’t wait to see them at bonnaroo this weekend and i will probably listen to the new album, circuital, for the majority of the drive down.
check out some of the songs from circuital below, mixed in with some old favorites (they do a sick cover of “rocket man”), and i definitely recommend watching this video of “dondante” from vh1’s storytellers but it is a tearjerker, i’m warning you.
One of the awesome things about music is that there is so much of it to enjoy. Not only are people making new music every day, but there is tons of music which has already been made. You can go back and forth between looking for something new and seeking out good oldies. When I was a kid my musical world was a mix of influences from my deadhead older brother, my Americana-hippie mother, and my father who grew up with nothing but The Beatles, so I have great memories tied to some of that old time music. With the warm weather I find myself having some music nostalgia. Here’s a taste of what’s been playing on my iPod as of late.
brooklyn-based band the antlers got a lot of critical acclaim for their debut album hospice, released in 2009, but it wasn’t until last year when their songs kept popping up on my pandora that i consciously noticed them and started listening. in reading more about the band, i learned that it started with singer peter silberman, who began writing songs solo in his brooklyn home – these songs would make up hospice, a heavy concept album that was his elegy to a dying friend. in contrast, their new album burst apart does not have a central concept – silberman describes it as “less like one story and more like a change in a way of thinking over time. it begins in a pretty negative, anxious place, at arm’s length — and as it progresses, it becomes warmer and more trusting.”
that statement could be true about so many things.
but it certainly is an accurate decription for an album that opens with the lines “you wanna climb up the stairs i wanna push you back down,” (titled “i don’t want love”) and ends with the gorgeous “putting the dog to sleep” where he’s changed his tone and sings of not wanting to die alone.
no matter what he’s singing about, i couldn’t stop listening. i was surprised to learn that the group is a trio – the range of soaring instrumentals and dreamy atmosphere they build is deceptive. i’d love to see what they’re like live!
check out some of the songs from their new album below and let me know if you love them as much as i do.
inspired by an idea from our office coordinator, for today’s tunesday i decided to ask some people around the office what they’re listening to right now and what the last album they purchased was. it was so fun to see what different tastes in music everyone has!
office coordinator (left)
listening to: foster the people
last purchase: tv on the radio’s new album
senior graphic designer (right)
listening to: crosby, stills, nash and young
last purchase: kurt vile, “smoke ring for my halo”
interactive web director
listening to: dan black’s “symphonies”
last purchase: the “yes man” soundtrack, because of zoey deschanel!
listening to: kate bush
last purchase: jonny corndawg, “down on the bikini line”
senior designer, knits & beach (left)
listening to: guns n’ roses
last purchase: michael jackson’s greatest hits
knits designer (right)
listening to: girl talk
last purchase: “a whole new world” and other various songs from disney movies!
Its one of those gray kind of days in philly where the sky looks like it’s going to open up at any moment and let loose a downpour. The best cure for days like this? Good music.
This playlist is a compilation of songs by my favorite female artists of the moment, and I’ve been listening to it at my desk all morning. Each of the artists have a large repertoire of amazing songs even though I only included one from each. I highly recommend listening to their other tracks if you get the chance. Anyway, I hope the playlist livens up your day and introduces you to some new music. Enjoy!
one of the things that i admire and respect most about musicians, is the fact that they are able to not only write music that is often intensely personal, but they perform it, on stage, in front of crowds – sometimes alone. that thought terrifies me… but it’s also incredibly inspiring. geron hoy, today’s featured artist, is not only a talented singer/songwriter but i happen to know him personally and he’s one of the most humble, thoughtful and hilarious people i’ve ever met. he inspires me because he is accomplishing his dream of putting out an album and because of the passion he shows for his music both on and off the stage. it definitely comes across when he performs, leaving you with the feeling that you just witnessed something very special. his debut album came out today on itunes and i have been listening to it all morning – his thoughtful lyrics and skillful guitar playing seem to have a wisdom beyond his years. oh and he also plays the harmonica – my weakness!
read on for an interview with geron to get a better idea of what he’s all about, and as you read, listen to the first single from his album, “lady crow.” it’s addicting!
when did you write your first song, and what was it called?
oh man… a pretty wretched little ditty called ‘near to you.’ god, it was awful. i knew three chords and i took a complete shot in the dark just to see what would happen. but some of the friends i had back then would sing along to it and ask me to play it. that was enough to get me to write another.
if your music was a place, where would it be?
there’s an image on the back of a record i have. i think it’s james taylor but i can’t be sure. i’d go look, but all my records are in a storage unit in texas. but it’s of these musicians jamming in a dingy room with a wooden floor, an old beat-up piano with a glass of whiskey on it, speakers hanging from the ceiling, the sunlight battling through the cigarette smoke. it just looks like the perfect environment. where i’d want to spend every day. and i remember pointing the photo out to friends and saying, ‘why cant we be there, right now?’
why did you decide to name your album “soldier”?
there’s a track on the album called ‘soldier.’ i recorded that song with my friends about four years ago in new york before i had a label, and it’s the song that got me signed because one of the owners of the label fell in love with it. the song itself is about fighting with everything you’ve got for something when you have no control over the end result.
is there a certain song you’re most proud of?
they’re all my babies and i constantly tell them to keep cool…
you’ve lived in a bunch of different places, is there one that has had the most influence on you personally and/or musically?
i went to new york when i was eighteen. that was my songwriting school. i probably wrote at least a hundred songs in the five years i was there. and kept fifteen of them. there was so much inspiration… living in the city was like being on cruise control at 300 mph.
what’s your favorite venue you’ve ever played in? and is there a particular venue you dream of playing in one day?
if i played at the beacon theater in new york i’d die a happy man. and my favorite place so far i think would be this small bar in the upper west side in new york where i used to play every thursday with some of my closest friends. it was in a basement surrounded by stone walls. we’d drink and play all night and the audience always asked for more. it was a great time.
if you could jam with any musician, dead or alive, who would you pick?
well, i automatically start sifting through all my heroes and i’m incredibly intimidated and awestruck by all of them. so i’m not quite sure who i would pick. townes van zandt? but what about neil young?? but what about mozart??!!! would i have to wear a puffy shirt?? i’d be down…
if your life was a movie what would the theme song be?
“changes” or “ziggy stardust”?, “space oddity”? pretty much anything by david bowie.
if you had a time machine where would you go?
2015 so i could ride a hover board with michael j. only four more years! i can’t wait for the self-drying jacket!!!
if you were deserted on an island what three things would you want with you?
a fire-breathing dragon, a saddle, and wilson.
tell me something most people don’t know about you.
i own a fire-breathing dragon named wilson.
the album, soldier, is available now on itunes – get it here!
it has been way too long since the last fleet foxes album came out – going on three years, to be precise. it’s rare that i fall so hard for a band after only one album, but their debut had me hooked from the opening notes of “sun it rises.” i wore out that album in the summer of ’08… it was the soundtrack to a very transitional time in my life when i moved out to nor cal. their music lifts my spirits and i still listen to “ragged wood” pretty frequently. well, their new album, “helplessness blues” comes out may third but we can get a taste of it now with this video for the song “grown ocean”! i really like the dreamy feel of this video, check it out and listen to the title track from the new album as well, below.