You started as a youngster busking on the streets of Chicago: is there a telling memory that still informs you today? I just wrote a song that’s on my new CD called “When The Fat Lady Sings” about following ones heart and dream. There is this line: “dudes in 3 piece suits telling me they wished they was me cause I was following my heart and living my dream”. That’s a true story. That and playing the mostly southbound Black el stops and having it feel like Baptist church. I learned to sing Black music from Black Folks singing with me and playing Electric Blues every weekend in the summer with my band on State street in downtown chicago and the huge crowds! That spark and immediacy are rare and profound!!!
What is your favorite new Nicholas Baron song and why? “When the fat lady sings” is my new “I’m not superman” which is the song I’m known for. It’s a true story. I found a way to be honest and poetic at the same time. It’s got a direct feel from Van Morrisons “Domino” and Rickie Lee jones “Chuck E’s in love”. It finally expresses my truth and is like a quick bio. I love language and beat poetry and this has that feel.
How do songs manifest themselves to you? They happen either effortlessly like they were waiting for me to catch them like butterflies or intellectual endeavors where the words are like math and science. It happens all possible ways. Words or chorus first or music first or just chords.
Do you have a philosophy when it comes to the recording? All my records have been somewhat different. I like it to be organic and sound and feel live but have a sheen to it as well. I have to have a relaxed and honest environment.
What was the first real concert you ever attended and what impression did it have on you? I heard Jimmy cliff when I was 10 with my hippie parents at an outdoor concert. I remember the sky and the feel of it being live and soulful and folks dancing up a storm.
What is your approach to playing live and what is your vibe pre-show? It has recently changed and evolved . I am working on total relaxation and letting the audience come to me. I’ve been trying not to be big the whole time or loud. I’m going for a range of emotions and dynamics even in one song. I have the ability to be mellow and soft and then rise up like Otis Redding or James Brown. I warm up a bit vocally but mostly everything’s changed because I’m relaxing my mind and body when I play. It’s magic!
What are your favorite 3 albums of all-time? Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks , John Martyn’s Solid Air, Joni Mitchell’s Blue
What’s the best live performance you have seen by a Chicago artist? My dear friend Wes John is insanely great and has great songs and his band destroys!
Out of nowhere the Empress of the Universe beams you on board her ship and demands you write a song for her on the spot — any ideas? All my songs are about the same things disguised as different characters. Love in all its forms, integration, and working through suffering to find resolution. World peace through the microcosm which is self love. Relax yourself before you tax yourself. – Nicholas Barron
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Thanks for the introduction. Off to explore more. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox.