Nicolette Forte is cooking with some serious gas right now. A young person with an unfaltering passion for the performing arts, Nicolette’s past year has seen her hosting her own jam session at the Prince of Wales, recording new music and performing on the steps of the State Parliament House. Somehow, in amongst all of this, Nicolette found time to answer some questions from roving reporter Fletcher Diamantis.
Thanks for finding the time to answer my questions Nicolette, can you start by giving me a bit of a description of your style and influences?
A mixed musical bag of soul, pop, folk and roots played with an acoustic guitar in hand. Driven by an honest voice, supported with a good story and all presented to you with a smile, dreadlocks, bare feet and a moo-moo, that’s me. I was a bundle of energy as a child, and was often lulled to sleep by my big sister’s attempts to soothe with mix tapes filled of Crowded House, Tracy Chapman, Michael Jackson and Jewel. I suppose in a way I was receiving music lessons by osmosis…
When did music become a real passion for you? Did it start with picking up a guitar or was it something else?
After learning a few chord shapes on the guitar I began to put words from my journal to melodies that I would hum in my head. In the solitude of my bedroom I’d write pages upon pages of lyrics as an outlet for my teenage woes – you know how it is!? Inspired by love and life, I set about building my collection of stories which I continue to perform today.
From what I understand you come from a theatre background, do you find that the experience assists you in your live performance?
The thing I love most about performing to a live audience whether it be in the theatre or on a stage at a gig, is simply the ability to connect with people.
Recently you were participating in a series of jam events at the Prince of Wales in St Kilda, can you tell us what that was about?
For the past 10 months my usual watering hole every Tuesday night is at the Prince of Wales in St. Kilda. With my band of friends I host the energetic Forte Jam open mic night. This is a great night full of surprises, but you’ll just have to come down to find out for yourself…
You were selected to be a part of Freeza’s The Push Mentoring Program, how was that experience for you?
The Push has been a fantastic experience for me. The most important thing about the program is the ongoing support from not only the industry-based professional mentors themselves, but also the facilitator Mel and the whole Freeza team.
Has Freeza had any other influence on your career thus far?
Aside from connecting me with my fabulous mentor Georgia Fields, the program has opened many doors to some great opportunities over the past 6 months. A personally significant performance was when I had the opportunity to play my new single Hold Your Hand at State Parliament House. Ironically, the song which promotes the message of equal love was projected to an audience whose current stance and legislation does not support it. I found this gig to be really empowering.
How did you find the process of recording your debut EP, Rescue Me?
The Rescue Me recording, which I released this time last year, was very raw and quite a free style in that we decided to record it live in the studio. The intention behind this was to capture the organic vibe and colour of live performance. There were basically five of us in the studio and we just pressed record…
Did you change much of that when you headed into the studio for this new single, Hold Your Hand?
The process for the new single Hold Your Hand was far removed from the all-in jam-style recording process undertaken for Rescue Me. The pre-production phase of this single was extensive. In the studio we recorded each layer one by one. It was kind of like building a house: we laid down the foundation (drums, bass); added the frame work (guitar); filled in the gaps (percussive sounds, trickles of piano) and then finally we fully furnished the whole place and gave it character (vocals that carry the lyrics, the heart and the message)
The positive reception of the single must be exciting and reassuring?
I think it is positive that in 2013 Melbourne here and now I can independently release a song freely that indeed represents one of society’s most contemporary and controversial topics – the essence of which is the achievement of equality, and the recognition of love for all. Sadly at times throughout the process, however, I have been poorly received by a minority of people who are not yet ready to confront this issue or who may oppose it. The acceptance of same-sex marriage is inevitable I believe and the notion of equal love is the path to get there.
Is the single in the same vein as your older material?
The single has an innocence about it that myself and producer Benjamin McCarthy intentionally tried to capture. The intention was to stay true to the song and represent the voice and stance of the sixteen-year-old schoolgirl who put pen to paper a decade ago.
Where and when can fans catch you on the tour supporting the single?
Throughout the month of August I will be visiting a dozen Victorian community radio stations as part of my Hold Your Hand live-to-air broadcast launch tour. For tour dates and times, check out my website www.nicoletteforte.com
Just finally, which records are you spinning at the moment?
I like to immerse myself in the music of fellow local musos who are taking on the big scary scene like brave soldiers… So in my car at the moment I am being whisked away by the gorgeous Melbourne based heart and soul singer-songwriter Sarah Carnegie (check her out, you wont be disappointed).
Stay up to date with the latest news from Nicolette Forte at www.nicoletteforte.com