Local student and country music singer-songwriter Nora Collins has captured the ear of industry officials, had her songs played on local radio and recorded with Nashville music legends.
Now Collins, 16, will have a new honor: nomination as a 2010 "Rising Star" in Sunday's Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) Awards show.
Collins and the four other nominees in that category — Katie Lafond, Orpheus, Tallan Latz, and Jayne Taylor — were each nominated by a current WAMI member.
The show will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday in the Pabst Theater's Turner Hall Ballroom and $25 general admission tickets are available.
Nora’s songs are featured weekly on FM106.1’s Home Made Jams show on Sunday nights.
When she first started writing songs, two years ago, her parents were unaware of their daughter’s talent.
“I didn’t even know she was writing songs until she recorded music at her uncle’s home studio and we heard her CD,” said Nora’s father, Mike Collins. “As a parent you always want to encourage when your child has a project, but we were just amazed when we heard her songs.”
Now a junior at Brookfield East High School, Nora enjoys writing songs about things she knows, such as heartbreak and young love, and is inspired by country music artists Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood.
“I just go into my room, pick up my guitar and the words and music come to me,” Nora said.
Last fall, Nora earned a spot in the Sweet Sixteen from over 600 songs in Country Music Television’s Music City Madness Contest, for her original song and music video “Don’t Slow Down.”
Through entering that contest Nora caught the attention of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), which connected her with some recording studios in Nashville.
She worked with Steve Rutledge at Steel String Studio where she recorded “Run Away With Me,” and with Lee Turner at Boogie Man Studio recording her new song “Dimples Filled With Lies,” which will be on her second album planned for release in May.
Nora got the chance to record with professional musicians in Nashville including: Steve Rutledge, Lee Turner (with Darius Rucker), Brian Nutter (with Keith Urban), Matt Billingslea (with Lady Antebellum), Pat Seavers, and Glenn Snow (with Martina McBride).
“It was amazing and inspiring to work with those musicians who do what they love for a living,” Nora said.
The process of recording a song took about five hours, her father said.
“First Nora played the demo version with just her voice and guitar for the other musicians," he said. "Then they brainstormed how each part should sound for the song. Nora got to tell them what she thought each part should sound like."
Nora later made a music video for “Run Away With Me” with her uncle’s help and a handheld camera, as she sang along to her recording.
This music video was shown on Today’s TMJ4’s The Morning Blend, with an interview here.
Nora plays regularly at local restaurants, coffee houses, malls, festivals and charity events. She is also a member of the , a group of 7th to 12th grade students who perform at various events around the area.
She can be seen singing with her guitar on Friday nights from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at at 177th & Bluemound, and on Saturday nights from 6 to 7 p.m. at at 124th & Capitol.
During the Waukesha Art Crawl on May 7th Nora will be performing at from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Her full performance schedule can be found here.