Artist Spotlight - Nina Shallman
All of us at What’s In-Store Music are beyond excited about new client, Nina Shallman.
A Southern California native and Amherst College student, this 19-year-old singer-songwriter has recently released her debut album, Nina Shallman, which features originals and covers. She has also released, “I'd Rather Be With You,” just for the holiday season, which is being played in thousands of retail locations across the country.
Check out Nina’s videos at www.ninashallman.com and see why we are absolutely hooked.
1. What is your earliest music memory and what inspired you as a child to make music such a big part of your life?
I’ve always been singing, for as long as I can remember. I think I sang better than I spoke as a toddler, and my parents made sure to use my constant singing as fodder for some pretty funny home videos. I remember having these attachments to melodies at a very early age, like
the theme from The Little Mermaid, or the songs I learned in preschool. And they haven’t left—some of those melodies will wiggle their way into my thoughts once in a while and I’ll find myself humming tunes that I learned at three while I’m doing work. I think my earliest memories, period, are of singing— I remember in preschool, my teacher Hope would play the guitar and teach me and the other kids songs. I don’t think anything made me, and makes me, happier than singing does.
2. You’re bi-coastal being from sunny Southern California and attending Amherst College in Massachusetts. What do you love about each coast?
It’s hard to generalize each coast, because in New England alone there’s a multitude of “vibes”— the feel of Boston is extremely different from the feel of Amherst. And the west coast is just huge. But it’s not a shocker that I love SoCal weather, and miss that dearly, especially as the weather gets chillier and chillier out east. I also love the sense of space and freedom the west coast has, and I love the Pacific Ocean. But the east coast is amazing— everything is so compact, and there’s a sense of urgency and productivity that is very different from what I’m used to. Plus, autumn on the east coast is spectacularly beautiful.
3. How do you juggle academic life and your music career?
It’s a challenge— there are only so many hours in a day, and it’s hard to focus on a paper when I have melodies bouncing around in my head, or email correspondences with my manager and collaborators that I need to follow through with. But I’ve been trying to communicate with everyone as much as possible— my professors, my management, my producer— just to let them know that I have a lot on my plate. Everyone so far has been very supportive and accommodating.
4. Your debut album, Nina Shallman, is my new favorite! I love the beautiful cover of Dear Prudence. What was it like to record your first album? Was it what you expected?
It was wonderful, but I didn’t even see the recording process as “making an album” until about six or seven songs in, so I didn’t really have any expectations. It all happened so organically. I met with my amazing producer Andrew Williams the summer before my senior year of high school and we started recording some of the tracks I’d written over the past few years as an art supplement to my college applications. I’d always intended on pursuing music, ever since I was thirteen, but I didn’t think I’d make an album until after college. But Andrew and I really hit it off (he’s a wizard, he really understands me as a musician and songwriter). Soon enough we were recording a bunch of the songs I’d already written, which inspired me to write more, and almost by accident a record started forming. It was just a really good time— I’m a total goober and Andrew had to put up with my crazy, bare-footed antics and mid-song laughter, but I don’t think he minded too much.
5. Your covers are amazing and are both true to the original and uniquely your own. What three bands/artists do you like covering the most?
Thank you! I love covering the Beatles— they’re timeless and always relevant, and I like to cover songs written and performed by men. I have a deep appreciation for and love of great female jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Peggy Lee, so I tend to cover a lot of jazz standards— Black Coffee, I’ll Be Seeing You, Why Don’t You Do Right, etc. And I’m always open to covering any song that I feel I can add a different perspective on— there are some songs out there that I simply should not cover, either because the original said everything I could have said or it’s been covered far too often, but generally I feel comfortable covering any song that catches my eye. I’ve been working on a cover of Big Star’s “Thirteen” recently.
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