Today we’re joined by Kayla Nissen. Kayla is an incredibly passionate and talented musician. When she contacted me, she firmly declared that music was her art and I really admired that. It was even more apparent in her interview how wonderfully dedicated she is to music. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
My art is my music. I’ve played piano the longest but I also play flute and ukulele and I’m starting to learn mandolin. Since I do most of my work on my piano I’ll tell you about that. I started out just playing what I was assigned in lessons which was almost all classical. I started doing covers a few years ago of songs I liked with my ukulele or piano. I’ve recently wanted to play contemporary piano solos and that has been my challenge lately. I’ve done an open mic night and I performed in a school variety show. In that show I did show choir, jazz choir, I accompanied someone on piano and I also did a solo performance. I’m super shy around people but I’m hardly nervous at all while performing. I also do a little bit of fanart and nature photography when I’m not doing music.
What inspires you?
The music I listen to inspires me to recreate that music. For example if I hear a song I think I can learn to play I will immediately stop everything to either find music or learn it by ear. My own music inspires me by pushing me to do things out of my comfort zone. I do piano recitals every year and I plan on auditioning for that variety show I mentioned before again. If I wasn’t confident enough in how I played I wouldn’t do those things and I would probably be a lot less happy. I’ve also been told I inspire people and surprise them because nobody really knows I can sing. I make people cry with my music sometimes so that’s a good feeling. My goal is to always make people feel something when I play even when it’s instrumental.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I grew up with people playing music so I’ve always been pushed in that direction. For drawing/painting and photography… I just picked it up as a hobby and I turned out to really like it. My grandpa is a painter so he helped me get started.
My great grandparents performed in medicine shows during the depression and both my grandpa and dad play guitar. When I was very little I wanted to be a rock star but I gave up on that. I picked up the piano when I was still in elementary school but I never wanted to perform until about a year ago. So you could say I’ve always wanted to play music but I wasn’t always on that path. I’m going to be studying to be a music teacher soon so maybe that counts as following my dream. We’ll see.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?
I’ve been told my voice is unique but I don’t think that counts. I don’t really have a thing that I do every time I perform or cover a song but now I’m going to think about it. Maybe my signature thing will be throwing confetti at the audience at the end of my show.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
PRACTICE! Never stop practicing if you want to be good at anything. Honestly I should be practicing now and so should you.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I identify as greysexual but I haven’t figured out my romantic orientation. I’ve only recently started identifying as greysexual because I didn’t want to be. I was denying it almost because I thought no one would want me but I’ve accepted it now and I’m happy with it.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I haven’t really had any conversations about sexuality with other musicians so I haven’t personally encountered prejudice but I’m sure I will at some point.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
For me not being strictly asexual a lot of people have no idea what I’m talking about when I say I’m greysexual. I think a lot of people don’t believe in it or don’t even know it exists and that goes for a lot of sexualities not just asexual.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Don’t run away from who you are! It’s ok not to be sure and if you don’t want a label don’t worry about it. Everything will work out.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Some of my older covers and art can be found on my Tumblr page (sgt-booty-barnes.tumblr.com) and just search the tag ‘mine’ or ‘cover’
Another way is to check out my YouTube channel just search Kayla Nissen and my profile picture is a purple twenty one pilots logo. There should be a few covers there. If you can’t find my stuff shoot me a message on Tumblr (sgt-booty-barnes.tumblr.com) and I’ll gladly help you out!
Thank you, Kayla, for participating in this interview and this project. It is very much appreciated.