Derek Nicoletto is a multi-talented artist with a powerful voice and a passion for meaningful lyrics whose sound has been described as a unique mixture of electropop and rock.
Known to many in the independent music scene, Derek Nicoletto has become a rising star, gaining monumental acclaim, reaching millions of people on the radio waves and captivating an increasing fanbase with his debut album “Kind Ghost? available on ITunes.
In this interview for Queer Me Up Derek Nicoletto talks about starting a solo career, the creative process behind his music and answers some fans’ questions.
How’s the reception been for your new album, ‘Kind Ghosts??
A radio host told me today that he said I sound “looser and like I am having more fun than he’s ever heard.” ?He’s right.
Which songs do you think are the strongest on the album ? or maybe just your personal favourites?
When I write an album, I don’t just write 12 songs and then declare its conclusion. ?I write fifty-five, seventy-five or a hundred songs. ?Some go into the album. ?Some merge into each other. ?Some ideas go unaddressed, some fall to the wayside, some go on the shelf. ?Each song is a snapshot of my life – real or fantasized. ?With my track list on “Kind Ghosts,” I’ve picked my favorites for you out of a larger body of work that emerged from September ’10 to March ’11.
Tell us about the experience of filming the music video for your single ?Kind Ghosts? in Cherry Grove, Fire Island, New York.
I wrote the melody and lyrics for the title track, “Kind Ghosts,” at midnight on an early September Friday night on the beach in Cherry Grove, Fire Island. ? I have an emotional and spiritual connection to that place. ?For me, Fire Island isn’t about (just) the parties. ?It’s a magical work of nature. ? So, about this time a year ago, I distinctly described the conversation I had with myself and the empty moonlit beach. ?I described my surroundings, my emotions and the message I received at the end of the two hours I spent on that cold sand. ?In June, video director Julian Rad came to the exact spot where I wrote the song. ?In one day, we filmed “Kind Ghosts” at the beach and at the house. ?I’m in love with the video he made. ?I’ve worked on things for several days that have half of the magic that that video does.
When you perform your new songs live, what kind of feedback have you been getting?
Well, the CD release show at Sullivan Hall was packed, there are some great photos and some video of the show on Facebook.com/dereknicolettomusic. ?As for feedback, I was asked right afterwards to perform for Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out, which is this week, Sept. 8th, so I would say the audience had a good time. ?Now the dates are rolling in and I’m going to be all over the place.
What has been the most difficult obstacle you?ve faced to get to where you are today?
Where I am today is being my own act, even though I play with a back up band. ?Just being Derek Nicoletto, with my own vision. ?After years of being in bands with other people and operating in a group, there came a fantastic moment when I realized going it alone had been long overdue. ?My producer Jamie Siegel responded, “I’ve been waiting for you to realize this. ?Let’s get to work.” I’m so glad “Kind Ghosts” is my first solo album; I’m so proud of it. ?I love my other bands and projects I’ve done in the past – they’ve made me who I am. ?But there’s an absence of fear now to be just Derek Nicoletto and know that it’s more than enough. ?Everything is much stronger and I tremendously more fun and fulfilling.
If you could collaborate with any artist right now who would it be?
If you weren’t singing, what would you be doing?
Operating the gelato cart on the corner of MacDougal and Washington Square Park West.
What hidden talents do you have?
Well, I can play my own skull like an instrument and by shaping my mouth (as one would to whistle) I knock on my skull. ?It sounds like a xylophone. ?I do it in the live show.
What?s your motto or the values that you live by?
The grass is greener where you water it.
Each note is a moment.
How do you manage to be a successful artist and a single Dad of a 3 year old?
A babysitter named Memlee and the support of family and friends.
It seems that the LGBT community always expects out artists to be become activists and role models for younger generations.??What?s your take on that?
I have friends that are true activists. ?They are my heroes. ?I am a performer. ?That’s my take.
What are your thoughts about the legalization of gay marriage in New York? Would you consider getting married someday?
I’m proud of my second home state of New York (I’m originally from Indiana). ?Gay marriage would never happen where I grew up, in the Midwest cornfields of Indiana. ?So, I’m so glad I live here now. ?Are you proposing marriage, Gus?
You have fans on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. How do you keep up with all the fans demands in terms of wanting to feel involved with whatever you do?
Again, I’m a performer – ?I have a job that I LOVE to do whether it be on a recording, a live show, an improv stage or at twitter/dereknicoletto. ?So, personally I love connecting, engaging, learning or entertaining on Twitter and Facebook. ? I don’t see “demands” – I see participation from active audiences. Social networks are like stages. ?Sometimes I’m an active audience member, sometimes passive. ?Sometimes I’m on stage. ?For this artist, modern technology suits me well.
Do you have any gigs or shows that you?d like to tell us about?
I perform at Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out at Shop Untitled on 8th Street in my home neighborhood of Greenwich Village on September 8th. ?I’ll be wearing the most amazing Gregg Wolf necklace you’ve ever seen, a staple Scooter LaForge t-shirt and Varvatos. ?Show dates are currently being confirmed throughout the next year and will be on dereknicoletto.com, where folks can sign up for my monthly mailing list.
Questions sent by the fans
Mostly, my songs are snapshots of my own life. “Hustler with a Rescue Plan,” “Suddenly,” “Kind Ghosts” and “Alabaster Sky” are intensely and deeply personal. ? Sometimes the stories are lighter but still true, like “Easy Out.” ?Sometimes the songs are stories others have told me, like my grandfather’s World War II story that I recount in “Girls Like Em Lucky.” ?Sometimes, like in “Sugar,” they are fictional stories of heterosexual lovers who are simply characters I’ve concocted in my imagination.
Watch Dereck Nicoletto and his band (Charlie Z & Kiyanu Kim) joined on vocals by Marti Gould Cummings performing? “Take Medicine”? at The Sullivan Show.
Check out more videos of Derek Nicoletto in our previous post? HERE
Visit DEREK NICOLETTO WEBSITE for more info.