Last month, Nisha Nandez released her first music video, "Give Me One Reason," an outstanding cover of Tracy Chapman's classic, featuring guitarist Jason Richard.
I had to find out more about Nisha, whom I'd met through Twitter.
I checked out her album on iTunes and visited her website, where I learned she'd overcome serious personal tragedies in pursuit of her singing career, and that she is a retired U. S. Army officer, who sang in the army band during the first Gulf War.
I was happy when Nisha found some time between her music and MBA coursework for an interview.
I started with:
I really like your cover of "Give Me One Reason." How did you select this song for your first music video?
I enjoyed recording it with Jason Richard and AJ Mancabelli. After I released it on iTunes, I saw how much my fans enjoyed the song, too, so I decided it would be fun to shoot a music video for it. I’d already had so many people asking when I was going to release a video.
"Give Me One Reason" just seemed perfect.
You say on your site music has always been a part of your life. Who are your musical influences?
Primarily, my family. I come from a long line of musicians and singers. My father was a pianist. My mother’s side includes phenomenal singers.
Other influences range from Mozart and Beethoven (I’ve played the flute since I was 9 years old.) to Evanescence, P!nk, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Timberlake and Destiny’s Child.
I just love music. All styles and genres. I listen to music more than I watch television. [Laughter.]
You've been quite frank about the tragedies you've dealt with. What advice would you give someone finding their artistic dreams roadblocked by their current circumstances?
People too often come up with excuses for why they can’t accomplish their dreams or even pursue them.
The only thing that can stop you is yourself.
I’m a firm believer that all things are possible. The only direction is forward, even when life takes you back a few steps.
I've learned to see each obstacle as a learning experience, another great lyric, a steppingstone toward making me a better person. There's nothing I can't achieve if I put my mind to it.
And I believe that is true for everyone, when you just believe in yourself and your dreams.
What's next for you?
I'm writing more songs and looking into some ventures outside of music. I finally complete my MBA this summer and will put that to use. I’m considering going for my doctorate. Not yet sure about that, though. [Laughter.] Graduate school has been quite challenging.
I'm working with some great people toward a record deal that works both for me and the label.
Mike, I want to thank the people I’ve been so blessed to have worked with over the past year and a half, and who have stopped at nothing to support me, listening to me whine, complain and sometimes cry.
There are so many people in my life who have been awesome.
The ones who gave up on me, I thank them, too, because they made me stronger!
I’m so grateful for how well my music career has been going. I hope to bring more music to the world in 2014.