Questions for Nick Waterhouse
The southern California native loved old R&B and little by little that led to a career as a singer songwriter.
Raised amid the sandy beaches of Southern California, singer, guitarist, and songwriter Nick Waterhouse has established himself as a student of classic American (and British) music. Even at a young age Waterhouse gravitated towards more eclectic musical choices, from the 50s and 60s. As a teenager, Waterhouse performed with The Intelligista; a rock n’ roll group inspired by 60s bands such as The Who. In college, Waterhouse found himself in the Bay Area attending San Francisco State University. He felt a distance from the city’s music scene but found solace in Rooky Ricardo’s Records, an old-time vinyl shop. There he was introduced to a myriad of classic R&B, blues, jazz, and soul albums by store owner Richard Vivian.
In 2010 Waterhouse released his debut single Some Place. The single subsequently spawned a record deal, a backup group called The Tarots, and three vocalists, The Naturelles. After the release of his debut LP Time’s All Gone, Waterhouse has since toured all over North America, Europe, and Asia, including at Spain’s famed Primavera Sound Festival. His new venture, a rock and R&B sophomore release titled Holly, showcases the musician’s affinity for nostalgic tunes worthy to stand up to the classics. Waterhouse will perform Thursday night from 5 pm to 7 pm in the Jazz in the Park series at Cathedral Square. Before hitting the stage, he answered some quick questions.
How did you get your start in music?
I started listening and playing music when I was a kid, I picked up guitar and it went from there. I played trumpet when I was eight, nine, or ten, and then I picked up an electric guitar around the age of twelve. Then I started playing in garage bands as a teenager. A pretty standard story I guess.
How would you describe your style of music?
I would call it American music; a little bit of rhythm and blues and pop. I think it takes on all the influences I have from American rhythm and blues music.
What drew you to your style of music?
I don’t think I really chose it, it chose me. I think if you’re honest with yourself as a musician, eventually you are going to get rid of mannerisms and start having your own voice.
Definitely Ray Charles, Little Willie John, Bert Berns, and Tom Dowd.
What do you hope the audience gets out of watching you perform?
I just hope they feel good… good when I feel good and sad when I feel sad. Most of all I hope they feel the spirit. The spirit occurs when the music really moves you.
What is your favorite thing to see in the audience while you are on stage?
Dancing and women. Women usually dance better than men.
What is your favorite song you perform?
Lately I like to perform Holly off my new record. It has a really nice natural momentum to it. People feel that movement in the audience as well.
What are some of your most memorable experiences performing on stage?
Oh, every night is a memory. I remember playing in Barcelona in a large open stage at the Primavera Festival. The sun was setting behind me, surrounded by thousands of people. After being on a long European tour, it felt like a surreal moment.
What are some of your hopes and aspirations for yourself?
That I will be able to pay my rent by the year’s end (laughs). To continue to make records, and to continue to make good stuff… that’s my aim. I made this record [his first record] and I didn’t intend to perform it. So I started to play shows, it was supply and demand. I didn’t really go searching for a career.
Is there a musician dead or alive that you would love to perform with?
Fred Astaire… dancing.
Where are your favorite places to perform?
Toronto, Paris, Tokyo, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berlin, and Copenhagen. We’ve been treated really well in those cities.
What do you love the most about performing live?
Having a notion of something and sharing it with other people. Feels like a conjuring.