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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

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In Music Commentary

High school-aged Nora Collins has already put together an impressive resume of releases, performances and press.

In Music Commentary

She attributes a lot of her success to her close-knit and supportive family.

Rising young star Nora Collins continues to shine


Being a young musician that wants to do music professionally is a tough road to travel down.

Often, because of their age, they aren't taken seriously. Whether it's a negative belief about the youth's work ethic, or the idea that they can't really be that talented at such a young age, many kids are given a glazed-over look and polite encouragement instead of a chance to be heard.

High school-aged Nora Collins is a young woman that aims to prove the stereotypes about our youth completely wrong.

Collins, a budding country singer from the metro Milwaukee area, has already put together an impressive resume of releases, performances and press.

Her new album "Run Away With Me" follows the lines of most country hybrid albums today. There are numbers that tap all aspects found within the history of the genre, giving it enough twang and enough pop to fit in well with what you'd find on modern radio today.

Collin's voice is soft and still growing in complexity, similar to a younger Taylor Swift. The WAMIs thought enough of her maturing to nominate her for an award at this year's Wisconsin Area Music Industry awards.

With all that she's been able to accomplish in such a short time, when asking about the fortune she's received thus far, you quickly learn that she surrounded by a large loving family that lends their talents to Nora. Their support and abilities have given the young songstress a "staff" of dedicated people that truly care about her and her growth, which is something that can't be replaced.

I recently talked with Collins about her budding career.

OnMilwaukee.com: What led you to get into doing music?

Nora Collins: I grew up listening to music and started singing when I was 3. Music has become a creative outlet for me.

OMC: Why did you pick country music?

NC: I love how country music tells a story and I've always had a little country twang to my voice.

OMC: What are some of the opportunities music has opened you up to?

NC: My music has opened many opportunities for me. I've been on CMT (Country Music Television) when my home music video made the Top 16 nationally. My song "First Heartbreak" from my new CD placed in the Top 20 in a National Songwriting contest. I won the local Texaco Country Showdown and will compete at the State Fair. I also got to perform twice at Summerfest. I was on Wisconsin Public Radio's "Simply Folk" on July 17. Through these things I've been able to meet some great people and help make a difference by participating in charitable events.

OMC: How did you get the opportunity to work with Nashville session musicians?

NC: I am a member of NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International). My good friend, Lisa Medill, one of the coordinators for the Milwaukee chapter of NSAI, is a friend of Lee Turner, Darius Rucker's keyboardist. Lee is from Wisconsin and has a studio in Nashville. He hired some great musicians to play on my song "Dimples Filled With Lies." I was fortunate enough to get Brian Nutter, Keith Urban's guitar player/back-up vocalist; Matt Billingslea, Lady Antebellum's drummer; and Glenn Snow, Martina McBride's bass player; and Lee played Hammond B3. On the title track of my CD, "Run Away With Me," I worked with Steve Rutledge who played guitar for Steve Holy. It was truly the most amazing experience!

OMC: What did it mean to you to be nominated for a WAMI?

NC: To be nominated for a WAMI was incredible! It's great to be recognized by WAMI members for something I have so much fun doing. It was an honor to be nominated with four other talented musicians in the "Rising Star" category.

OMC: What was the process of your songwriting like?

NC: For me, words and a melody pop into my head and then I try and match it with a guitar part. I don't sit down and try to come up with a song, the song comes to me.

OMC: How would you describe your album?

NC: I wrote all the music and lyrics for my new CD. I'm really proud of that. Each song has a special story and memory. It's all country music but different styles: new country, classic country and country pop.

OMC: You're still in high school. Where do you see yourself after you graduate? Is college the path for you or are you going to try to do music full time first?

NC: I'd love to be a full-time musician where I can write and perform for a living. I am also looking into getting a Music Business degree.

OMC: Your family is obviously supportive of you and your music. How has having a supportive family helped you?

NC: Having a supportive family has helped me so much! Without their support I wouldn't be able to pursue my dream. Since I'm still in high school, it is sometimes hard to be taken seriously. My dad helps with that. My mom helps me manage my time so I can still have time to have fun with my friends. My sister Sara is supportive and has helped with my videos. My Uncle Doug has been my producer, engineer, musician, video director and advisor. Aunt Tracy has been my photographer and maintains my website. My Uncle Brian has been one of my guitarists and was the art director for my "Run Away With Me" CD. My Aunt Kris was the art director for my first CD, "Red Chuck Taylors." My family is awesome! I simply couldn't do it without them.

OMC: Are you playing any shows this summer?

NC: I have a lot of gigs lined up. I'm playing at the International Cycling Classic in Brookfield. I'm playing some art fairs. I also perform weekly at the two Brookfield Potbelly's.


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