Some of the most successful artists make their break from homemade demos topped with heartfelt ballads. Our fellow student and senior role model, Colleen Nelson, seems to be moving in the right direction by recently releasing her first demo, "Seeking Light," which has 17 tracks of raw emotion with honesty poured into the lyrics.
Singing came natural to Colleen. She even jokes, "Honestly, I think I started singing before I started speaking." As she entered kindergarten she began playing violin and then piano, which she can now play by ear. A few years later, she received her guitar. Although she admits to not loving her guitar right away, she explains she eventually gave it another shot and ended up loving it. On top of that, Colleen can also play the bass and ukulele.
Creating music is not just a simple hobby for Colleen, she considers it a passion. She has been writing songs since the 4th grade and now she's written almost 200 of them.
"I just write what I'm feeling or what my thoughts are at the time. It usually flows when I feel strongly about something. If I try to force a song it's more difficult to write," she said.
The next step for Colleen is the recording process, which she demonstrates as "nothing fancy." All she needs is her laptop, recording software, a Yeti Blue microphone, instruments and her voice to construct her music. She stays away from synthesizers and allows her harmonious voice to be the main focus.
Colleen claims, "Some of my friends have come to me saying that lyrics I have written really resonated with them and that's why I want to do this. I want to be able to reach out to people. I'm not much of a talker, but I'm hoping that my music communicates strongly enough."
While her music seems to carry a genre-free characteristic, she uses terms like acoustic, melodic, or alternative to describe it. Her music is truly lovely, each chord and verse carry a sense of comfort and understanding. Her lyrics "Sunshine comes when needed most, it plants a hope inside my soul. Days go by, the seed, it grows, and I can't hide the hope it shows", which are from her song "Light", seem to warm you up and make you smile.
Inspiration comes in many forms to Colleen; it could be a situation, a person, another musician, or just the simple joys of life. She believes she has "a very open mind when it comes to creating music".
Colleen enjoys listening to broad spectrum of artists, from the classics like Johnny Cash, The Beatles and Frank Sinatra to more current artists such as Temper Trap, Aqualung and Frank Ocean.
Although she may not be topping the charts along her favorite artists just yet, she has definitely made an impact among the River. Her Facebook page, "Colleen Nelson Music" gained more than 250 likes in a few weeks and total plays on her SoundCloud are growing each day.
This issue's Artist of the Month is rightfully handed to Colleen Nelson, a passionate artist, a devoted musician -- a truly talented individual who is only in the beginning of her musical journey to stardom.