Hamilton’s Gillian Nicola took an unusual route to becoming a folk/Americana singer-songwriter: trained in classical voice, Nicola spent her teens gigging in a classic rock cover band, singing Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin before launching herself into alt-country when she began writing songs. Nicola’s music centres around her chameleonic vocals – at one moment with a hint of tobacco in her voice, the next outright rocking – strummed and finger picked guitar, and versatile, melodic songwriting. Nicola’s songs are often built around open and alternate guitar tunings that allow her to throw her music theory upbringing out the window. Nicola’s debut full-length album will be released in spring 2019.
With nominations for the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, Toronto Independent Music Awards and Hamilton Music Awards, Nicola has toured Canada’s east and west coasts, opened for Amelia Curran and shared the stage for the JUNO Awards’ Love Song Edition with Tom Wilson, Terra Lightfoot, Tomi Swick, and Lori Yates. Engaging in her community is just as important to Nicola as performing. Nicola teaches voice and guitar, volunteers for Girls Rock Camp Toronto, sits on a Musician’s Committee in Hamilton, and runs a monthly songwriters round at Toronto’s The Painted Lady.