Singer-Songwriter, But Not Necessarily in that Order
Nicole Andrea Aube is truly an enigma. In addition to being a singer-songwriter, she’s also written two books, one is a collection of stories (Waterbird) and the other is one of poems (The Red Lantern). In her case, creativity is in her blood and well we’re just fortunate to be alive to hear it. Her first full-length debut, Philosoft, is a clear example of Aube’s ability to tell stories but she’s not just a storyteller, her singing is no jokes either. With songs like “Ninth Madder Dream” grabbing much attention, SoulMatters managed to meet up with Nicole for an interview.
SoulMatters: Do you prefer performing music to writing music?
Nicole Andrea Aube: I prefer them both to many things. There are just as many ways to perform a song as there are to write one. Writing a song, for me, takes only myself and time in solitude. Performing involves many people, variables, and technicalities. I can work on songs by myself until they're as perfect as can be, but unless I corral the funds and bodies I'm without any high-tech elements, and in lounges or small theatres my ambiance is limited to basic candlelight effects, low wattage, no costume. I dream big, I want dancers on a raft in a giant fountain, strange carousels, a band of sixty people each with in-ear monitors, wearing Armani. On the other hand, sometimes I like everything unplugged, sitting in a pasture with some animals, singing to them shepherd-style.
SMM: I'm really digging Ninth Madder Dream, what is that song all about?
NA: Thanks! It's about being a young and single female, dating, and going out at night in the city meeting interesting and attractive people, the moment you're in it.
SMM: Tell me about being a novelist. What led you to switch from writing books to writing music?
NA: Actually I never switched. I still write books, and I've always written music, too, only it wasn't structured until my twenties. The only switch I've made is from performing as a spoken word artist, which I did for just over a year and it wasn't challenging enough for my senses, to begin performing as a singer-songwriter-instrumentalist, that has more physical exertion.
I have a slightly secret suspicion that Shakespeare was a kick-ass singer-songwriter who played serious lute....
SMM: You have been at this for quite some time, what would say has been your inspiration?
NA: I'm 30, I guess I've been alive for quite some time. . . (laughs). I find peace when I work on music, and even if I happen to be expressing an idea, mood or emotion that isn't peaceful, I'm doing it in a peaceful way. No one gets hurt when I'm playing music, and even the opposite happens, I heal myself, hopefully someone else. I feel happy, I feel like myself, natural. Nature inspires me, and by that I mean a natural state, a feeling of nature, "being" nature inspires me, instead of being inspired by things "in" nature, like trees or flowers or a river rock. It's never the rock itself that inspires, it's the relationship of the rock to your senses. Feeling natural leads to the experience of beauty. But sometimes I just want to push myself to do better, skill-wise. I've been good at self-discipline since I was a child practicing dance and piano by myself every day.
SMM: What is the meaning behind your album, Philosoft?
NA: I'm not sure. I can't speak for what others may think it means.
SMM: There's a long tradition of singer-songwriters in Canada. Are there artists you admire, and how so?
NA: Yes, I admire many beautiful songwriters I've met in Canada. Some are on my album with me, like Kevin Breit and C.R. Avery. Kevin is all over the different genres of songwriting, including jazz, and C.R. Avery is a persuasive writer and performer. My friend Sean Hogan, a country songwriter from BC, is in chemotherapy right now, lying in bed, coming up with musical ideas, it's more than admirable. I'm addicted to Canadian songwriting.
SMM: Do you have plans to tour this album?
NA: I've toured Southwestern Ontario this October, and I'm going to go out again in spring, but I don't know where. Maybe New York City, Halifax, or Vancouver and San Francisco. Smaller centres in between. It's undecided, whatever happens, I've had to leave the planning a bit late this time.
SMM: If I could perform with any artist, living or dead, who would it be, and why?
NA: Rufus Wainwright dead. Just joking. I have a slightly secret suspicion that Shakespeare was a kick-ass singer-songwriter who played serious lute, so him, but I'd also like to perform Brahm's lullaby with Marlene Dietrich, just before she died, accompanying her on piano with Brahm's original score. Good question, Soul Matters!
SMM: Is there a song on the album that is particularly meaningful to you?
NA: I started writing the song “Perfect Lover” when I was 13. I finished it 15 years later.
SMM: As the website is called soul matters, I always like to ask people, what does soul mean to you?
NA: The soul is where I rest. The soul has no direction because it is eternal. Music is what is happening when you open the door to eternity, I believe.
Here’s a preview of Nicole Aube’s music: