Writing for a Brookfield publication from Japan can be tricky. At times I feel I have a million things to say at once, but admittedly more often I find myself scouring the internet for stories of interest I might be able to comment on. So it was that I found out about Nora Collins while sitting at work today.
For those who prefer not to click above and find out, Nora Collins is a 15-year-old sophomore at Brookfield East and an aspiring country musician. I know this because I've just spent the last 20 minutes on her website. She began playing music and writing songs in 2008 as an exercise in what she described as "summer boredom," and just over a year later she has an album of original songs released and a shot to win studio time and a private showcase with A&R executives at Valory Music in Nashville via CMT's Music City Madness competition. Presumably, she also attends class for seven hours a day, five days a week.
Here's what I think is cool about Nora Collins. She has a CD that was produced by her uncle and that her aunt did the cover art for. Judging by the snippets of songs posted on her website, she sings about what she knows, which at 15 seems to be boys, boys, and more boys. She has a song called "You Make Me Happy," a title more accomplished artists might be too jaded to write, and her album is appropriately (and genuinely) called Red Chuck Taylors. And as far as I can tell, Nora's biggest fans are her parents.
At this point, the fact that she shows promise as a singer barely seems to matter. What's most impressive to me about Nora Collins is that she's going for it, in a way that at 25 I'm still constantly hesitant to do. She's writing songs, and learning music, and sharing it with friends, and she's bringing her family along with her. Regardless of who's hearing her or how many votes she gets in a contest, she's going to keep learning and get much much better. To me, that's pretty cool.
To vote for Nora in the CMT City Madness competition, you can click here, but in my opinion if you really want to do her a favor, head down to Potbelly's on 124th and Capital on Saturdays and check her out in person. Buy a sandwich, sit down and listen, and support a local kid who's exploring a passion. And if you like what you hear, go ahead and buy a CD. Consider it an investment in youth.