The Spilled Ink-quisition – An Interview with Nerida Currey

Tamicah Rasmussen

Tamicah: Hello! Thank you so much for chatting with me this afternoon. To start, can you please give me a short bio about yourself and your music?

Nerida: I’m a guitarist and singer songwriter. I perform a lot of covers, and I just basically share my music with the world. I grew up playing violin when I was younger, from 7–17, and I played a bunch of other instruments in school like clarinet, bass clarinet; I also delved into a tiny bit of trumpet. But then, when I was 17, I picked up a guitar. My brother taught me how to basically write a chord chart and I kind of taught myself from there, and I really got into it. I started writing my own songs through uni, but then I took, like, a crazy eight-year break from most of my music. I only just started up again, like, four years ago. But I really started properly doing my music about two years ago.

So, it’s been a bit of a journey to restart it and a lot of my songs are songs I wrote when I was 17–18, and I’m just re-inventing them and trying to, I guess, adjust more to me now, but also tell the story of me back then as well.

I started playing at open mics, just to kind of get my originals out there, but also start performing. And then I’ve started gigging as a solo musician as well, where I’ll go to a venue and play for a few hours.

Tamicah: What are you working on at the moment?

Nerida: I’ve been working on my vocals and on my guitar, but mainly I’ve been working on my favourite original that I’ve written, this song called ‘Gingerbread Boy.’ I have been performing it for years and I’ve tried a few times to record it, but nothing quite sat with me for how it sounded on the recordings. So, I was about to start from scratch, but I was lucky enough that I work in a workplace with quite a few really amazing musicians and so two of the guys from work helped me workshop it, so we played it in Scott’s (one of the managers and owners of the business) garage. We had a drum kit, the full sound set up, and another guy, my direct manager Nathanael, absolutely shreds it on guitar, and music and arrangement and stuff, and so the song found a whole new sound to it. I used to play it like early Taylor Swift vibes but now it’s kind of like 2000s rock kind of style and I love it now.

This will be my very first song officially released. I’ve soft launched it and a few other songs by performing them at open mics, live at gigs, and posting them on social media, but this will be the first official lunch and I’m super pumped to record like a whole album in that rock style. So shortly after doing this one, I hope to bombard the guys with like five more songs to get an album done.

Tamicah: What are your top tips for your industry?

Nerida: Definitely to just get out there. I, for example, was very lucky with how I started out doing gigs. I felt like I was nearly ready. But I thought that I needed to work much more on my Instagram and my promotional content. I wanted to nail my socials, professional photos and demo video and then apply for agents because booking agents can help you get gigs.

But basically, I was very lucky with the apartment that I moved into because a booking agent lived in the building, and he saw me grab a guitar out of my car one day and asked to hear my stuff. It just so happened that he was looking for artists with my exact style of music and my exact style as an artist, so that kind of just fell into place. And I realized that I was so ready for it and could have done it, I’d like to say years ago, but at least months ago before I started. So that was really exciting.

So yeah, definitely just go for it and don’t wait. Don’t wait until everything’s perfect before you start putting your name out there. Definitely, if you want to do, like, gigs, I would recommend an agent, and just also play music that you love, because for me I perform best when I really connect with a song—you can tell a huge difference in how I sound when I really love it. Learning to embrace your own sound, and not compare yourself to others, that is also another thing and was a big learning curve for me.

Over the last few years. I’ve been working with a vocal coach and music mentor. I’ll give him a bit of a mention, but he runs a music school called Music Group. I liked my performance, but there were certain parts of my voice that I didn’t love, and I was still wanting to improve in so many areas. And then I realized that I was chasing a sound that isn’t me. I was chasing a style of artists that isn’t me. And so, when I learned to really embrace the lower parts of my voice, for example, you know, I was trying to sing high so badly, but my low voice is actually quite nice I’ve come to learn. So yeah, I guess just, like, he really taught me to not compare yourself to other artists and not try to sound like somebody else. And to just be you and tell your story. Yeah, and I’ve just come so far since learning that.

Tamicah: Who would you say your inspiration is? Life wise and music wise?

Nerida: I would have to say my singing teacher, Siki. He’s just been such a huge inspiration and such a mentor. He’s like a life coach as well for me. Because music comes down to how you’re feeling so, you know, some weeks I’ll walk in there for a singing lesson with him and he’ll notice immediately that something’s going on in my life, and we’ll talk it out and my music will be so much better because I’m not stressed. You know? So, yeah, he’s been a huge mentor and inspiration for me in so many things.

Tamicah: How has the reality of your music career differed from your initial expectation of it?

Nerida: For me, it’s actually gone way better than what I thought. Around my teenage years, I was playing in youth orchestras and string ensembles, and I was playing in bands for clarinet. And at that time, I thought that I would work in an orchestra for my job. I wanted to be a performing orchestra member. But then I didn’t know anymore and, to be quite honest, when I was about 17, I suddenly thought I was too cool for violin and I thought a guitar was way cooler, and so I switched. The violin now is very, very cool, and probably always has been. So many people play awesome violin, and they bring it into music and it’s great. So, I actually want to bring my violin back and work it into my originals. I just have to practice it again and make time for it. So, it’s quite changed in that sense.

It sounds quite sad, I guess it just goes into how much we get in our own heads and how much I was self-critical, but I used to describe myself as a good musician, not a great musician. I think I was trying to be modest or something. But basically, I couldn’t admit that I wanted to make money with my music. And I wanted to go somewhere. I was happy to perform at open mics and perform for friends, but I didn’t think it would really go anywhere. So then, I guess, as I developed more as an artist, I grew more confident in my abilities and this is why I’m so obsessed with my mentor, because he played a large part in that and teaching me just basically that to embrace my uniqueness as a musician and lean into that.

Fast forward to now, where I’m gigging on average two times a month, which is great for me, because I work full time in marketing throughout the week. So, it’s taken off way more than what I would have thought, which is great, and people seem to really love my song writing too when I show them the songs.

Tamicah: What is your music process? How do you begin?

Nerida: A lot of musicians are either melody first, or lyrics first, or they focus on one or the other. For me, it’s definitely lyrics. I have a few different processes. It’s generally when I have a strong feeling or a strong emotion, or I think of a cool concept that would be fun, and I just start with lyrics.

When I fly on airplanes, I tend to song write a lot then. It just seems to be a very inspirational space to me, maybe just being on a plane for a few hours and reflecting. But I will always start with lyrics. So, in my phone notes, or on a scrap of paper, if I have paper in front of me, or in the special notepads that I have that are just for song writing, I will just write down all kinds of lyrics. I’ll go through and rework it a little bit. I might jot little words somewhere like alternative words and then from there, I will start strumming guitar and try to find what chords I want to go there and then I’ll slowly start to sing a bit of a melody over it. So that’s my main process.

Sometimes my other process will be, I will just start playing guitar and then I will just sing random things over the top of it for how I’m feeling or what I want to communicate. I will just record that in my voice notes on my phone.

So, either from one of those ways, I usually develop the concept and then I kind of work out the timings, the phrasing, and the rhyming words, and kind of work on it from there.

Tamicah: Following that, when is your favourite time of day to create your music?

Nerida: Usually the night-time is when my creativity sparks.

Tamicah: What’s your overall goal for your music? Why do you create?

Nerida: That’s a big one. I guess a lot of it is just in telling my story. And also, just putting strong emotions, experiences and feelings into words or into a song. Some of them are to tell a certain story, and some of them are to kind of like, tell my story in a way that other people going through the same thing might relate to. And yeah, for me, it’s also just like an outlet of strong feelings, whether it’s positive feelings or negative feelings. I guess it’s as much an outlet as it is sending something out. I also just get really proud when I write something great, and I just want everyone to hear it.

Tamicah: What’s the most difficult aspect of creating your music?

Nerida: I think something that I initially found quite difficult was when I do write about something that’s quite deep and quite raw, its having people hear that. When I was first performing my main original, ‘Gingerbread Boy’, it kind of felt like I was baring my soul to everybody, and I’m very expressive when I sing. So, I feel like the expression could easily be read on my face about how I was feeling ‘Gingerbread Boy’ is. I started writing it when I was 17 and I finished writing it, I think about four years ago now, maybe three.

There are three different verses and it’s written about three different guys. One of my exes when I was 17, one of my bestie’s exes when I was 17, and then the more recent one was about my ex-husband, because I am divorced. I guess it just told different stories of those things, but when it was still quite fresh, when I had written it, it felt quite bearing to reveal it all.

There are other songs that I have written that I’m not even sure I will release, because I’m not sure I want everyone to know about those thoughts. I guess that’s the hardest thing, when you write about real feelings and real experiences, it’s knowing that people will find out about that, but I also think that it’s very relatable for people too, so many people can relate to the things that you write.

From a technical aspect, I find that it’s quite difficult for me to make the songs different enough to each other. I seem to love the same chord progressions and the same melodies. So yeah, making them different to one another is a challenge.

Tamicah: We spoke about who your inspiration is but who has been your biggest supporter?

Nerida: I’ve been so lucky. I have so many huge supporters. My siblings come to so many of my gigs. So, my brother and sister, and their partners will often be there supporting me. They were there for the very first ones when I was very nervous.

And then also, when I was 17 and starting to write songs and show them to people for the first time, a couple of best friends that I’d gone to high school with, other musicians on the unique campus, they were just, it was so supportive. Just being able to show your music to somebody, like when you were just starting out writing, and again being about deep issues and for someone to be like, ‘Yeah, that’s cool, I like it.’ It was great.

My singing teacher, again, is a massive supporter of my music, my best friends as well, super supportive. My parents, my mum and dad, but also, one of my best friends came with me to a lot of the open mics when I was just getting back into it and she was a huge support as well.

So yeah, so many people!

Tamicah: Lastly, how can people connect with you?

Nerida: You can find me on Neridacurreymusic on Instagram, Facebook, and a YouTube that I am going to put more content up on. And I’ve just launched Tik Tok as well. So very soon I’ll be doing Tik Tok lives where I’ll be doing kind of like gig performances live on TikTok. But also, I’ll just be doing songs that people request live on the feed. So that will be exciting.

Tamicah: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to let me ask you these questions. I really appreciate it and had a great time interviewing you!

Tamicah Rasmussen is a twenty-three-year-old writer. She writes short stories and novels with varying themes, but the one thing they all have in common, is romance. Tamicah’s most loved form of writing, however, is poetry, in the styles of free verse, villanelles and, sometimes, ballads. Her lifetime goal is to have her own poetry book and novel published. When Tamicah isn’t writing, she’s reading romance and fantasy novels, or playing cosy video games with her cats close by.