Raised in the coastal village of Cambria, California, and on the road traveling to various US art festivals, Nicole Stromsoe’s life has been far from lacking in creative awareness. Daughter of renowned silversmith, Randy Stromsoe, Nicole grew up with the sound of hammers accompanying an ever-playing stereo. Music was highly revered in her household and she was introduced to a wide spectrum of genre and musical expression. It was in her early development that she identified as “designer”, just like her parents; now, however, she practices mostly in the aural arts. Designing shapes and sounds both intangible and impermanent, she crafts not only the song itself, but its interpretation, breath, phrasing, space, and the placement of how it will land ‘out there’. “I have a particular affinity for how music influences and defines environment; the environment within as well as the space surrounding ourselves. It has the power to dictate both a very specific, and an overall experience, much like lighting. I strive to create an atmosphere of warmth with a sense of suspension; a balance/pull of weighted and lifted space. The intention is not only that the listener will be aware of this sensation within themselves, but the whole room will be alive with it, too.”
Nicole’s earliest memories include imitating every Ella Fitzgerald nuance on a Gershwin album as early as 5 years old, and continuously replaying a collection of Atlantic Soul Classic hits from which she first fell for voices such as Barbara Lewis. Singing in choirs from 8 years old, she took charge in putting together a vocal jazz quartet while in high school. Wanting to make music more of a focus in her life, she transferred to the Idyllwild Arts Academy and started seriously studying classical vocal technique, aria, and art song. She continued to explore the classical tradition for a short period in Siena, Italy. There, she heard a jazz quartet performing in a neighborhood alcove and it rang true for her to further her studies in jazz. Returning to California’s Central Coast, Nicole continued music studies at Cuesta College while starting to perform out as a jazz vocalist. She was traveling back and forth to Los Angeles and San Francisco for various workshops and vocal education courses when she decided to study at the Berklee College of Music, Boston. She graduated Magna Cum Laude, and there, surprisingly, was re-introduced to a familiar love of folk/Americana/roots music. Memories of the array of tones pounding metal had over this music, played in the silversmith workshop growing up, were brought back louder than ever. She started to incorporate this influence into her set; creating an eclectic array of jazz, blues, original r&b, and folk, roots music. Of course, with the influence of her education, travels, and life experiences, this “rooted” American music is created from a unique contemporary space that is Nicole Stromsoe.
Some favorite current musical artists include David Byrne, MeShell Ndegeocello, Gregory Porter, Bjork, Jill Scott, Lila Downs, Eileen Jewell, and Rachelle Ferrell ((to name a few)) though most of Nicole’s musical influences are artists no longer in performance.