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Art & Life with Nicole Ranalli

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Ranalli.

Nicole, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Since I could remember, I was always writing poems and that eventually turned to me singing songs. As a kid, music and art was a very natural way for me to express myself, but other than singing in church choir I didn’t have lessons or a musical outlet. When I was around 19-20, I started hanging out with musicians who were mostly boys, and my stomach would hurt when I would sit in the room and they would play music – I wanted to be a singer in a band so bad. I knew I could do what they were doing, even though I was intimidated because I never had lessons or was encouraged to be a musician. I mustered up a brave moment and asked my friends if I could sing and write songs with them, and we started a punk band called “Medic Medic” and we played, recorded and toured pretty steady for several years. When my band broke up in 2008, I met new frustration because I still wanted to be doing music and I didn’t want to have to start over every time someone else didn’t feel like doing it. I bought a cheap drum kit and moved it up into my attic as I was living alone at the time and was shocked when I sat down at it and could play and sing at the same time. It was like I was doing the wrong thing my whole life until that moment, and so I started writing songs alone and recording, and playing every instrument the best, I could. And since then I have been writing and performing as a solo artist under the moniker Lakookala.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am a songwriter and performer but I see myself more as a concept artist. When I write and record music, I sing, play all of the instruments, and produce it. I spend a lot of time alone and record endless home demos working out my tunes before I go to the studio and do a record. When I perform, I sing and play a drum kit with a backing band. I feel so lucky to really get to enjoy two very different aspects of my music, in the sense that my writing process is often in solitude and very inward, and when I perform with a band my music is so heavy and intense and outward! It feeds two very different parts of me. I think my music can be placed into a lot of genres and is considered alternative, but overall the esthetic is avant-punk. I choose to do music from a very raw and organic standpoint. I record my instruments and vocals with a live approach with very little edits and leave in a lot of things that people in the music industry might view as errors. I do this to hold space for a different type of artist, a different type of woman. We live in a world where art and music are pushed upon us in a shiny and very perfectly-tuned and branded way, and that is personally not my truth. I want to deliver music that is fresh and raw, and I hope that when people hear it they feel something and see that you don’t have to come from a place of perfection in order to be an artist.

I also recently started painting which I haven’t done since I was a kid. I think to stay creative and sane it is important for me to connect with other things besides music. I ended up drawing and doing prints of my beautiful drum kit and recycled my used drums heads by painting them and hanging them as art. I guess I can’t get away from music that much, but it has been refreshing to use a different medium than I am used to.

Any advice for aspiring or new artists?
Good art and music comes from a growing process. Don’t feel like you need to rush for quick fame or spend all of your time on social media. Do things when people aren’t looking and keep planting small seeds and you will see growth!

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I recently released my new EP “Hang On” and it is available for streaming on most online platforms, all the links are on my official website. I also perform at a lot of underground shows and do pop-up events with my art. You can follow me on social media to keep an eye out for my upcoming performances. The best way to support me is to come to my shows and buy one of my records!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Live performance photo (playing drums) credit: Michael Tallerico. All other photos by Phil Blythe except for 1st photo submitted (selfie photo).

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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