Welcome to SPOTLIGHT! Each Tuesday I’ll be posting a quick interview with an awesome person you need to know. This week my new friend, opera singer Nicole Fernandes-Cole, swings by to answer some questions.
1. For those who don’t know, can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
I’m Nicole Fernandes-Cole, wife of post-apocalyptic writer Nick Cole. I am a professional opera singer, and sing pretty much full-time at Los Angeles opera, with other gigs added in often as well, one interesting one being solo work on the video game soundtrack Wildstar. When I’m not singing, I am editing Nick’s work. I do an editing pass through everything he writes, to be that extra set of eyes for him. It’s also nice because I would want to read everything he writes anyway, and it’s a great way to be of help to him in the process.
2. Why do you do what you do?
I absolutely love to sing and perform, and that’s rather funny because I’m actually a shy person and never would have initially chosen this career for myself, but I literally love the actual act of making music, portraying characters, etc. I realized fairly early on in my singing journey it was what I was gifted to do, and it’s always so much fun to do what God made you to do, even if it’s a bit scary at times.
3. What inspires you from day to day?
Number one would be the Bible/my relationship with Jesus. Nick and I have Bible study together every morning with breakfast, and it’s such a great way to start the day with the right perspective and wisdom, rather than blindly stumbling through all on my own. It’s especially helpful in times of trial. I remember that I’m praying for God’s will in my life and trusting him, and therefore it’s part of his plan and I’ll eventually see that it was the right thing for me after all. This takes a great deal of pressure off which I need, because I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself. Type A!
Secondly would be my husband Nick. If you’ve read his books, you know he’s an endless well of interesting ideas, wisdom, advice, creativity, etc. I avail myself of this inspiration constantly and always bounce ideas off him, get advice on things I’m trying to figure out, etc. I think he could’ve been a counselor if he hadn’t become a writer!
4. Can you describe your process for us?
To me, being an opera/classical singer is the singing equivalent of being an Olympic athlete. You have to constantly keep your voice well conditioned, exercised, and trained to stay competitive. So my process is that before I do any performing (which can sometimes be up to 12 days in a row during busy seasons), I warm up my voice for at least an hour before I arrive to do my rehearsal or performance or voice lesson or coaching. A few days a week I’ll also do a lot of study of new pieces, going over repertoire that I already know but want to keep fresh, etc.
5. How has that process changed over the years?
I can do more of the work on my own now of keeping my voice in shape, learning new music etc., instead of relying so much on voice teachers and coaches. You always still need to continue that somewhat, so you have that extra set of ears to keep you on the right track and give you advice and new ideas on how to use your voice better, perform a piece better, etc., but you’re typically able to do that less and more of it on your own, as you gain more experience.
6. Where can people go to find more about you?
Nick Cole’s Facebook account! I believe that’s under Nick Cole books. I am one of the very few rebels who doesn’t do Facebook. But Nick does, and loves to regularly post pictures of us and our adventures, so I’m sort of on it vicariously through him, and that’s enough for me.
You can also check out that video game soundtrack on iTunes. It’s “Wildstar, vol. 2” by Jeff Kurtenacker. My two main solo pieces are From the Ashes and For the Greater Good. Jeff writes amazing music so it’s well worth checking out.