Celebrating the recent release of her album Forbidden Moments (2013), sultry songstress Nicola Milan is heading out on tour for a string of special dates at the beginning of 2014. Revered for her silky vocals and likened stylistically to the likes of Julie London, Nicola effortlessly blends elements of jazz, world music, Latin rhythms, bluesy swing and Celtic tinged folk into her original compositions. Reviewers have suggested fans of Norah Jones, Melody Grant, Eva Cassidy and Diana Krall would fall in love with this versatile vocalist's recordings and it's no surprise she has an ever-growing fan base around the world. Based in Western Australia, Nicola's sophisticated and alluring sound has already earned her international acclaim. She was a finalist in the UK International Songwriting Contest, and back at home held a finalist position in the Australian Songwriting Competition. Industry heavy weights such as producers Kipper Eldridge (Sting), Stuart Epps (Elton John, Robbie Williams, Oasis) and Richard Niles (Paul McCartney, Kylie Minogue, Take That, Mariah Carey) to name a few, were among those on the judging panels. More recently, she was also a finalist in the coveted 2013 John Lennon International Songwriting Contest.
Forbidden Moments is Nicola's debut long-player, following hot on the heels of the success of her debut EP Little Rendezvous, released in 2011. The EP peaked at #1 position on the jazz charts in Honolulu and Wisconsin USA. Forbidden Moments is already following in its footsteps. The album itself was the result of two years of solid songwriting. Nicola admits she is a perfectionist and wanted to ensure the tracks she laid down for the album were ones that fitted really well together.
'Forbidden Moments was intended to be a relaxing, easy listening album and I think it achieves that," she says. 'It was definitely a labour of love and I spent hours working on the arrangements of the songs and deciding which instruments to place where. The musicians who recorded on the album were fantastic and put their opinions into the mix during rehearsal and I can't thank them enough for the enormous contribution they all made. I did have a lot of help with the album and I feel so grateful and blessed to be surrounded by so many creative people who were willing to lend a hand."
Nicola can't wait to get out on the road and share tracks from her new album with audiences. She says she hopes the nights will be a mixture of relaxing fun, doused in sophistication and romance. 'It's a bit of an unusual mix, but my shows reflect my personality – I'm a hopeless romantic with a quirky sense of humour," she says. 'I'm bringing my trusty piano player and friend Ben -Piano King' Clarke on tour with me and he loves to take advantage of any opportunity to poke fun at me onstage. Last time we were on tour, we played Chopsticks as a duet together on piano, which then turned in Blue Moon, so really audiences can expect anything other than your run-of-the-mill jazz show! We will be performing songs from my new album, and we also might throw in a few standards for kicks."
The new album has some killer tracks on it. No Room For Promises was a finalist in the UK competition and Love Me More was the finalist in the John Lennon competition. Another track Medicine Man is receiving strong support on radio around Australia. Nicola's music is as exotic as her Welsh/Anglo-Indian heritage and her shows make for an unforgettable night of entertainment.
Thursday 23rd January 2014: Dizzy's Jazz Club, MELBOURNE VIC http://dizzys.com.au/web/
Friday 24th January 2014: Foundry 616, SYDNEY NSW www.foundry616.com.au
Saturday 25th January 2014: Brisbane Jazz Club, BRISBANE QLD www.brisbanejazzclub.com.au
Saturday 1st February 2014: Kulcha Arts, FREMANTLE PERTH WA http://kulcha.com.au
For more information, please visit www.nicolamilan.com
Question: How would you describe Forbidden Moment?
Nicola Milan: Sophisticated, alluring and relaxing music that creates a sultry, romantic mood.
Question: What inspired this album?
Nicola Milan: It is a collection of two years of songwriting work and I get a lot of inspiration from movies, books and art.
Question: What are you looking forward to most about the upcoming tour?
Nicola Milan: I'm taking my trust pianist Ben Clarke with me on tour and we always have a great time together, particularly onstage during my shows. Ben likes to poke fun at me on stage which always gets the audience giggling. I'm just looking forward to having a good time, meeting people at my shows and getting to perform with some seriously talented musos along the way.
Question: Do you write your own songs? What's your inspiration?
Nicola Milan: Yep, I do write everything myself. Like I said, I get a lot of inspiration from movies, books and art plus I'm a hopeless romantic so that side of my personality seeps into all of my music.
Question: What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own?
Nicola Milan: I'm loving Melody Gardot at the moment and I've always listened to Brazilian music; particularly anything written by Antonio Jobim so I love Joao Gilberto and Stan Getz.
Question: Was there a moment you contemplated throwing in the towel?
Nicola Milan: No, never. I've always written and played music so I think it's just part of who I am. You can't ignore that.
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Nicola Milan: Performing live definitely. That's when you get to interact with people and see their faces. You can't do that in a recording studio which is a very different environment. All the fun happens on the stage when you're performing with amazingly talented musicians and improvising and creating special moments in the songs.
Question: What/who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Nicola Milan: I seriously can't remember not playing music and being part of the industry. When I was little I was doing piano concerts and competitions, sang in musical theatre shows and busking on the streets of Fremantle with my flute. I actually did try to do the corporate thing for a while because of pressures around me to -be normal and get a real job' Pffff! Look how that turned out!! You've just got to follow your heart and if you're passionate about something, you can make a living from whatever you do.
Question: What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success?
Nicola Milan: Going against the norm and travelling down a path that is a lot harder. It's incredibly difficult financially at the start and it's a real learning curve working out how to do everything yourself. Unless you're fortunate enough to have a mentor, there really isn't a concise resource out there that shows you how to BE a musician and make a living from your craft so learning the ins and outs of everything without anyone to guide you is difficult. I've actually just started a website that is dedicated to showing musicians (especially singers) how to navigate the music business. It's called singerssecret.com if you want to check it out. It's basically a diary of what I've done and learned along the way with all my best tips and tricks.
Question: What's a typical day like?
Nicola Milan: No two days are the same. I try to be structured and set different days for different activities but it never works out that way because practicing music just takes a lot of time and songwriting takes even more! If I have a song on the go, any appointments or things on my to-do list get pushed aside for days (sometimes weeks) until the song is finished... but it feels SO GOOD when I have that new song in my hot little hands. Then I can't wait to go and perform it for everyone.
Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist?
Nicola Milan: Getting to do what I love for a living and connecting with people. That's really what it's all about.
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Nicola Milan: I've always wanted to sing a duet with Michael Buble!! Maybe some dorky Christmas song or something super cheesy. Hahaha! I actually think our voices would go really well together.
Question: What message would you like your music to say to your fans?
Nicola Milan: My music is all about creating an alluring, romantic atmosphere. I like to make people feel a little bit saucy! It's my way of spreading the (saucy) love.
Full Name: Nicola Milan
Star Sign: Aquarius
Favourite Food: Mangoes
Favourite Film: Pride and Prejudice
Favourite Actor: Maggie Smith (she's brilliant!)
Person You Would Most Like to Meet: Richard Branson
Where did you grow up: Perth
First Job: (if you don't count busking) in the Bakery at Coles. It put me off eating donuts for life.
Are you a Pub, Bar or Club kind: Not really... unless there's great music then I'll go anywhere
What Can You Never Leave Home Without: a bottle of water
What is your top pick-me-up trick: I like having a facial or a massage.
Car I want to own: Anything that runs well and fits my PA system into it
Car I own: A hyandai Getz. I call it -The Tardis' because it fits so much inside but its teeny tiny.
On your wishlist: There's a bunch of new flute books I want plus I want to get an FX pedal and a special mic for it, a new keyboard would be cool, new strings for my guitar... the list goes on. I spend ALL of my cash on music stuff.
Prized Possession: Ok, this is really geeky but my stuffed dog -Alfred'. I won him in a bar competition when I was working in the UK and he's been my favourite ever since.
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning: -I need coffee' I'm NOT a morning person. It takes my brain a good couple of hours to start functioning.