Eric Nicolau: Star on the Rise

Eric Nicolau is certainly a star on the rise within the City Of Angels and beyond.  He’s written songs for American Idol winner Lee DeWyze, has toured as part of the backup band for Allstar Weekend, and is appearing in multiple episodes of the hit show GLEE as the school’s guitarist.  And if his time was totally taken up with activities galore, Nicolau has recently released a solo album of material entitled Won’t You Stay.  From the wistful acoustic inflections of How We Grow Old to the rockin’ good time cover of Jorge Ben Jor’s Take It Easy My Brother Charles, Nicolau clearly proves he is a massive talent on the horizon of success.  Here is an interview we conducted with Eric to find out more about his various projects, working on GLEE, his thoughts on the L.A. music scene, and other topics of interest…

What was the name of the very first song you wrote, how old were you, and what was the song about?
The first full complete song I ever wrote was a song called “Tone Deaf“. I was 15 and it was about saying goodbye. The song had this young and endearing type of pop-rock sound..The melody was actually very strong and memorable.

Is there is any story behind the CD title Won’t You Stay?
I wrote the song before thinking of even releasing a solo record so it wasn’t intentional that the song “Wont You Stay” became the title… it works… between the lyrics, the overall themes, and the idea that the fans listening will stay with me… haha

Please select any two songs from Won’t You Stay and what inspired the lyrical content?
Danny Wait” is a song I wrote about my step-dad who kind of disappeared from my life when I was a kid. The song just kind of spilled out. It was therapeutic for me. “Get Down” is a cool, vibey pop/r&b song. It’s about that bubbly, gooey feeling we get in the beginning when you meet someone you got the hots for. Haha, it just feels so good… it’s sexual. But like in a sweet way. Not that cheap, vulgar, explicit way.

What was the experience like working on Glee and were the cast and crew cool to hang out with?
Glee has been a tremendously fun and exciting show to be apart of. It’s an honor to work alongside such talented people. Each episode, each scene takes a LOT of work and time. The crew are so hard working, it’s inspiring. Its great to be around people who love what they do.

What was it like touring with Allstar Weekend and how did you become involved with the band?
The band was a fun group of guys. I auditioned, landed the position, and learned the band’s entire catalog of music in 10 days before the tour started. We played on the Selena Gomez tour this summer- one of the biggest summer tours. I got to perform at the major amphitheater in my home-state (DTE Energy Music Theater in Michigan). I grew up seeing my favorite bands play there…

What was it like working with Lee DeWyze and have you ever wanted to be on a show like American Idol?
I was writing songs for his debut album after he won Idol. I felt like I really understood his sound, being an acoustic-y/ singer-songwriter for some time. I have had moments where I have contemplated the idea of trying out for idol, but never have!

Have you performed on your own before, and if so, what was that experience like, especially when performing solo for the first time?
Before being totally solo, I was always starting and leading my own bands. Which eventually became very difficult getting other members to dedicate more time to playing and touring, so I decided to head out on my own! I actually had been playing and touring on my own for some time as well. I used to pack my little car up to the ceiling with merch, equipment, and living supplies and just drive city to city finding a small venue or coffee house that looked like they could use an extra opening act for their upcoming show. It was fun and I was never lonely. I’d always had someone at the shows letting me crash at their house and the very next morning I would take off for my next destination.

What do you think of the local Los Angeles music scene?
Although it’s over-saturated and over-flowing with music, there are some real great talent and gems to be found. Anyone coming here trying to “make it” usually gets their world turned upside down on them at some point. At that point you either rise up or peter out.

Do you still keep in touch with any of your former co-workers at Kenneth Cole?
Haha, no… No I do not…. although I would like my employee discount!!

Tell me about your Jorge Ben song and what made you decide to perform that cover?
I love 60’s & 70’s rock and pop. I also love samba and Brazilian music. Jorge Ben Jor is a legendary samba-rock pioneer and “Take It Easy My Brother Charles” is one of his more famous tunes. Its just fun. Anyone can get into whether you’re into Brazilian/ Latin music or not!

What’s up next for you in 2012?
Some exciting stuff for sure. I can’t give it away yet but all I can say is stay tuned!!!

Any final words of wisdom?
Slow and steady win the race.

(Interview by Kenneth Morton)

Eric Nicolau on Facebook


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