Who inspires you and why?
All kinds of people from every career path. I especially love reading about moguls and executives of lifestyle brands and department stores. Is that weird for a girl like me? Yeah, probably. And I’ll be “weird” in that respect all the way to the bank!
What do you feel is the most valuable advice you have ever received when it comes to the music industry?
I always ask everyone I meet or stumble upon for tips. One day, I asked one of my favorite movie directors, Adam Rifkin (Small Soldiers, Detroit Rock City) about my drama going on in this existential crisis I call “Nicole Russin-McFarland wants to make movies all her life, have people watch them, and get paid for it!” Anyway, what he says applies to everyone. “You will never fail. You can only give up.” Giving up is the quickest way to see your dreams disappear. Of course, some people make it young, and others take to 30, up to 40, to 50, to make it. But if you give up, you won’t!
How long have you been doing music and what made you start?
How long I’ve been professionally releasing my classical music work and how long I’ve actually been doing music are two whole different things. I’ve been studying music since I was five years old. I’ve been professionally releasing my work since…2015! Wait, only a year? Yes! I put out my first film score I co-composed with my film business partner, Brian Tsao, last year. You do the math. You need to work a long time to get good enough to be confident, “Hey, this stuff could sell.” The later you start, the more competition you have. Get working on it! That’s what I tell everyone.
What do you love the most about music?
I can speak without using words. How’s that for poetic? And it’s true. I can say anything on paper. Musically, you hear it, and you know what I’m saying or feeling.
What do you have coming up?
Finishing my first movie, The Eyes of Old Texas, an animated film featuring a whole lot of real backdrops and real people like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? It’s crazy, zany, wild, bizarre satire for kids up there with South Park. We follow a cowboy bird through time and locales as he saves the world from the apocalypse: non-talent based reality TV shows! How’d I craft reality shows into this? When modeling, as well as food and other work, I’ve had a lot of inexperienced and rather downright mean people steal jobs from me because they were seen as “better” being on reality TV. I’m cool with cooking or singing shows. Not so much with non-talent based shows.
Other than that, I’m releasing super cool classical music, film score versions of modern songs. Such as my newest one, my take on Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River.”
What is the most challenging thing you have faced as a musician?
Whether you do classical music film scores or hip hop — and I don’t know how it’ll work out, but I definitely hope one day I can at least try my hand at producing hip hop too — you suffer from the same artist struggles. Everyone needs to promote or sell music. You need to stand out from everyone doing the same thing. It’s hard. But a daily thing. My advice is if you have an album, tell everyone about it. Don’t stop. The minute you stop, you let go of one opportunity that could’ve happened because some stranger’s sister happens to be a hip hop DJ on a popular radio show. You don’t know what life throws your way. At least always try.
Any shout outs?
Thank you to all the great people in my first movie! From cameo to bigger roles! Brian Tsao for co-producing the movie too! My parents for supporting me! Anyone who reads this interview and supports me by befriending me on social media and chatting me up. ELLE Spain for letting me have a blog on there and pulling an open forum for celebrities and non-celebs alike, even though I’m American and Spanish is not my first language! So many shout outs. Not enough time. 🙂