Singer/Songwriter ALISON NICHOLS (20) is bringing a pop/country twist on classic Texas country music. Before making the move to Nashville to further her music career, Alison is finishing up college at Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Majoring in Business Marketing and minoring in Songwriting & Music Industry Practices.
Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, at the age of 5, Alison already knew that she wanted to be a performer after watching Ruben Studdard win Season 2 of American Idol. She wanted to be on stage one day singing in front of an audience just like him. Alison began playing piano at 6 and then guitar at 11. Her inspirations range from classic artists like Elvis to Mick Jagger and to more current ones like Ariana Grande. But the three artists that Alison feels really shaped her music would be; Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, and Kacey Musgraves.
In the next year Alison hopes to have her EP out and reach thousands more with her music. Alison’s dream life would be; getting to work in the music industry full-time in Nashville, to be writing all the time, going on tour, and performing every night. Besides the fulfillment aspect, Alison really looks forward to helping people get through their own personal struggles in the best way she knows how—through music. Alison would love to work with Midland/open up for them. They’re her favorite band right now, and Jess Carson follows her on Instagram, so maybe one day it’ll happen…??
Alison writes all her music. “You can tell that I love writing about relationships. I think for the majority of my teen years, boys and relationships were the source of most of my angst and excitement, so I had lots of material to work with (boy crazy since 1997 LOL). I also was highly influenced by Taylor Swift growing up, so writing about crushes, breakups, and heartbreak became sort of a strong suit for me. As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve gone through a lot more than just high school boy drama, so I have a few unrecorded songs that stray away from the typical love or breakup song.”
DANI: What’s your writing process?
ALISON: People ask me this question a lot, and it’s hard to answer because my songs form in so many different ways. Typically, a phrase or verse idea will pop into my head at a random moment, and I’ll just go with it. I can’t really go into the songwriting process with a full plan or else I get too caught up in how the song is supposed to turn out. If I just write as I go and edit later, I find that my deepest emotions and truths really come out in the song, which is my goal. I want people to be able to connect and relate emotionally to my lyrics. I want to use my talent and experience to show my listeners that they’re never alone in their struggles or emotions, that we all feel broken or lost at times.
DANI: Favorite performance so far?
ALISON: Definitely my performance at the Nash Next Atlanta Finals at Brooklyn Cantina in Johns Creek, GA! I was really feeling the crowd, and I got to sing one of my favorite songs, “Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert (written by Kacey Musgraves and Shane McAnally—my heros). In addition, I got to meet the amazing crew at Kicks 101.5 Atlanta and share the stage with some incredible musicians.
DANI: Tell us a little more about your background & upbringing?
ALISON: Well, my mom was born in South Korea but basically grew up in Atlanta, GA, and my dad is a Texan through and through. They met at Vanderbilt, got married at some point, and then eventually I was born in 1997 Atlanta, GA. I grew up near the city in Atlanta, and from what I remember/what I’ve been told from my early childhood, I was always singing and writing songs, even when I didn’t know how to speak. I guess being able to make noise and keep a beat was good enough for me (there is video-graphic proof that I was a baby rapper at the age of 2). My parents are huge country music fans, so that’s basically all I listened to as a child. One of the first modern country artists I got really into was Miranda Lambert. I think that’s partly why I have such a Texas country voice. Being raised on country definitely influenced who I am as an artist and songwriter today. I’m thankful that my parents exposed me to Merle, Willie, Dolly, and many others at such an early age. It’s helped my songwriting and my understanding of country music tremendously.
DANI: What advice would you give to aspiring artists & musicians?
ALISON: My best advice would be to practice, continue to master your craft, lift each other up and be humble. There are too many aspiring artists that think they’ve learned everything there is to know and then they plateau. I catch myself doing the same thing at times, but I just have to remind myself that I have so much more to learn and that I’ll never grow without pushing myself to be better. I also notice that a lot of artists shut other artists out because they’re the “competition.” I think the worst thing an artist can do is think that they’re better than anyone else because at the end of the day, it’s all a matter of opinion and we’re all going after the same thing, so why not help each other out? You’re not going to get very far without support from the music community.
♥ Coffee or Tea? I can’t choose. For taste? Definitely coffee. But I think I drink about 5 cups of tea before every performance.
♥ Hobbies? Basically all I do with my spare time is write, play guitar, play piano, and sing, but I’m really into fashion. I’m not sure if that’s considered a hobby, but I thoroughly enjoy putting together outfits. I love getting into the little details of an outfit such as picking out the right jewelry and accessories. I think if I couldn’t sing or write songs I would want to do something in the fashion industry.
♥ Go to outfit? Lately, I’ve been really into wearing a white top of some sort with ripped light wash jeans and a block heel or wedge. If not, you’ll find me in all white—it’s my favorite color.
♥ Favorite places to shop? I love finding a good deal at Off 5th, but if you go through my closet you will mostly find Top Shop, Express, Tobi, and, of course, Forever 21.
♥ What do you carry in your purse? I have the messiest purse of all time, but I’ll tell you a few things: I always always have a lot of makeup in there. I never leave the house without a tube of Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme, Tarte eyelash glue and some kind of liquid eyeliner. There’s almost always a bottle of Perrier in there, some unidentified receipts, and my wallet as well. I have hundreds of business cards; mostly my own. Oh, and I have a side pocket filled to the brim with every pink or nude shade of buxom lip gloss. Lots of trash too… I need to clean it out immediately.
♥ Favorite hang out spot? In Atlanta, I love going to Lenox Square mall. It’s just a fun place to go with friends or family, and it’s got some great stores! In Dallas, I really like the West Village shopping area because it’s outdoors, and there are, again, a lot of great stores. As you can see, I like to shop.
♥ Favorite thing to do with your friends? I know this is so basic, but I love going out on the town with my friends; both in Atlanta and in Dallas. I think my favorite part of going out though is getting ready with my friends and being able to catch up and talk before we actually go anywhere.
♥ Any last thoughts or things people should know about you? I have some songs on Spotify and Apple Music, two of which have been on Atlanta radio, so please check them out! I also do acoustic sets and am available for booking (usually on the weekends)! You can find my contact info on my website and Instagram!
Make sure to follow Alison on all her social media platforms and download her music!