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Nicole Reynolds in ALT Q's line-up
MUSIC
by Joseph Erbentraut, Windy City Times
2011-05-11

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In the 11 years that have passed since Chicago's out singer-songwriter Scott Free first embarked upon his ALT Q Music Festival, the event has featured some of the most talented and engaging queer performers in the business. This year's incarnation—taking place Saturday, May 14 at the Old Town School of Folk Music—promises to continue that trend.

Among the 2011 lineup is Pittsburgh, Penn.-born musician Nicole Reynolds, whose music carries a whimsical ease somewhat comparable to the folk stylings of Kimya Dawson.

Windy City Times spoke with Reynolds, whom Free described as "one of those unique artists who I predict will become very big—she was born to be."

Windy City Times: When did you recall having your first inclination of your musical talents?

Nicole Reynolds: I probably had no inclinations I had a musical ear when I was growing up. Music was just not part of my life at all. I took a trip with one of my uncles when I was 15 to New Orleans and I feel like that was the first connection with music I really had, while listening to some of the jazz music down there at Preservation Hall and watching street performers. I really connected with that.

Windy City Times: And how did you first get into writing songs and performing?

Nicole Reynolds: My first album was done before I had ever sang for anybody in public and it was just kind of something I liked to do as a pastime. I never intended to actually perform but a friend of mine heard some of my songs and encouraged me to go to an open mic. The response was really pretty great.

Windy City Times: Did you, or do you still, get stage fright?

Nicole Reynolds: Oddly enough, I don't get too nervous, which is really strange because I definitely am nervous most of the time for most things, but playing usually ends up being a really fun experience.

Windy City Times: What has been keeping you busy since your last album, 2009's A Fine Set of Fools, dropped?

Nicole Reynolds: When that was finished, I went on a six-month tour across the country and basically lived out of my car. I did that whole trip with my girlfriend and then we decided to buy a condemned house in New Jersey. This whole past year we've been pretty much building a house. I've been writing here and there but I'm not ready for an album yet.

Windy City Times: You said in a YouTube interview that art and music are what separate us as humans from the animals. Does the current political environment surrounding arts funding inform your music?

Nicole Reynolds: It definitely fuels me as an artist to push harder to promote art. It's what got me through certain times in my life and I think it's one of the most important things to have around to inspire other people to utilize it in their lives. I think it's crazy that it's often the first thing that gets cut, but I think as more people speak up about it, it can change.

Visit www.altqfestival.com for tickets.

utilize it in their lives. I think it's crazy that it's often the first thing that gets cut, but I think as more people speak up about it, it can change.

Visit www.altqfestival.com for tickets.


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