I met Nicole Nelch not long ago. I don’t remember exactly where and when but I remember the second time vividly. She was spinning at a Wild Style event at 151 Wooster street. Her crazy friends Zo and Kesia were wilding in front of the DJ booth while $auce was dropping the ear treats for a stuffy NYC art crowd. All good, it was a righteous cause, and Nelch didn’t let such thinking affect her on this night. Nicole oozes good vibes. She is excited about things, positive, feisty and talented. Most people know “Miss Nelch” as a nightlife promoter but as you will soon find out, she is much more. She recently started a blog thats filled with interesting tid bits about her world and life in general.
TONE: Over the last two years, I have met alot of people and the first time I met you, I was curious what your story was. I found out that you have your hands in alot of different kinds of stuff but most interesting to me is your film projects. Give me an idea what you’re working on?
Writing: â€œNightlifeâ€ feature length screenplay (draft 6)
Producing: â€œA Saturdayâ€ (Director, Nelson George) July 2008, â€œFilthier AKA â€˜Placeâ€™/Be Youâ€ (Director, TONE) August 2008, â€œCity Kidâ€ (Director, Nelson George) August 2008
Associate Producing: â€œSoul Citiesâ€ (VH1 Soul)
Producing/Shooting/Editing: â€œWatching the Wheelsâ€ (working title) documentary
TONE: You’ve surrounded yourself by a great group of people. Tell me more about your relationship with them.
NN: My fam is getting big and my fam is getting bigger! Iâ€™m blessed with several long lasting friendships that are filled with reciprocity. Sometimes I make bad choices and fall short but as Bill Withersâ€™ quoted his elders ya make â€œ+justmentsâ€.
TONE: On those days, or weeks when you feel drained and worn out, what ways do you motivate and inspire yourself to keep doing your thing?
NN:Hahaha, I take a nap and dream! I run to see a movie! I listen to music, write. I work on something I love. I catch up with a friend. I eat or make a good meal. I go somewhere Iâ€™ve been wanting to go.
TONE: We have talked briefly about your work with Nelson George. Can you tell me more about this professional relationship?
NN: My professional relationship with Nelson began before I knew he existed, read his books or met him. Nelson was one of the first to write about hip hop and give hip hop a voice in the media. The way I was brought up hip hop was pretty much taboo and even though I was drawn to it I was really insecure about my â€œrightâ€ to be drawn to it being a white, lower middle class girl from rural America. As I learned and grew I began to embrace my role in hip hop. When I came to New York in 2001 I was as excited to be closer to the origin as I was to go to NYU Film School (Tisch). By that point I was familiar with Nelsonâ€™s writing and work and when I found out he was teaching â€œThe History of Recorded Musicâ€ at NYU I bugged out! The class was for Gallatin students though so I wasnâ€™t able to enroll in it so I would stand outside the class, listen to his lectures, trying to soak up as much as I could. I was too shy to ask if I could sit in. Finally I had to take an elective so I wrote a letter explaining how Nelsonâ€™s class was so relevant to my major because of the music video industry and music supervision in film and television, etc. So I got in as a legitimate student and came to find out Nelson and I had some friends in common. We started building, he would ask me questions about things and I would give my opinions. After graduation I was working at Table 50 and Nelsonâ€™s office was across the street. Weâ€™d build a lot, did parties and DJâ€™d together. When he got the green light from HBO to make â€œLife Supportâ€ he asked if I would be his Assistant. Heâ€™s put me on to a lot, to say the least. Heâ€™s my best friend, my mentor, my boss. Iâ€™m really blessed. And now I get to take on more of a producer role. Pinch me!
TONE: What were you like when you were a teenager? Wild? Quiet? Shy?
NN: All of the above! My early teens I was practically mute, severely responsible and a huge bookworm. Mid/late-teens my English teacher called me a â€œheathenâ€. Thats what most people thought of me. But I was cool with all crews, I wasnâ€™t in a clique, though I did hang with the soccer, wrestling and football teams quite a bit ;) I really wanted to be an architect and study psychology. But I was never good with numbers. I hadnâ€™t found outlets for my expression either other than being obsessed with the NBA and dreaming of being the female Muggsy Bogues since Iâ€™m 5â€™3â€ too.
TONE: Fab 5 Freddy once said something about you, but I can’t remember what it was. Do you know what i am talking about?
NN: He once said that he â€œdiscoveredâ€ me!
TONE: Speaking of Fab, what’s he like from your perspective? When we (NEWPOP) shot that Wild Style piece at 151 Wooster, I was amazed at how well he handled some of those art people.
NN: He is on a whole different level. Fab was one of the first people I met when I moved to NYC. I had never been around someone of his stature before. He bears the trademark of most successful people in the way he is curious about what is happening NOW. My first job/internship here was at this spot GetMusic.com and he used to do â€œThe Fab 5 Freddyâ€ show, I could not believe my luck in stumbling into that! I would hang around the cats that did the show with him and ask if there was anything I could do. Rahman Ali Bugg was one of the producers/directors of the show and he had me take â€œWild Styleâ€ home to watch. I hadnâ€™t seen it. HA! I was so bugged out I made a dub from VHS to VHS at home so I could have it all the time. They let me onto the set and I was a SPONGE. A pretty much silent sponge. And when Fab would ask me what I thought about certain things I would choke. Eventually I got a little more confidence and could sort of carry a conversation. We became friends. Over the years weâ€™ve shared a lot of experiences and heâ€™s been incredibly supportive and encouraging of me and my projects. From my perspective he is one of the illest cats EVER, hands down. ILLEST.
TONE: When did you start your journey as an artist?
NN: Chicago. 1998/1999? I had a gig being a suit (Midwest District Sales Manager for Club Med â€“ HA!) I was 20 years old and living with Rose Martula. She let me peep her novel â€œThe Dope Listâ€. I read it and wanted to produce it into a film. I joined the IFP in Chicago and immersed myself in film. I was moonlighting at a restaurant called â€œStrega Nonaâ€ when the production crew from â€œHigh Fideltyâ€ came in. Next thing you knew I was onset being an extra and a liason between the crew and location. When I saw the production side I was inspired and psyched by the synergy of the talents of so many people coming together in one project. Within a couple months I quit my Club Med gig and moved back to Arizona to get my Associates Degree and take some film classes. Thatâ€™s when I discovered I wanted to not only produce but write & direct as well.
TONE: What have your learned about yourself in the process?
NN: Iâ€™ve found and embraced my voice.
TONE: If you could go back and do it differently, would you?
NN: Itâ€™s all about the journey! Life has a funny sense of humor.
TONE: Sometimes at night, when I am laying in bed restless, I dream about where I want to be. Where do you dream about being and what is that dream?
NN: I think Iâ€™m dreaming right now! Even in my most wildest dreams I couldnâ€™t imagine the life Iâ€™m living. I dream of being able to take care of my family and being more responsible, balanced and being in Ja Shin Do againâ€¦I dream of having more time and energy. I dream of a world without George Bush and slimey people. I dream of finishing the projects Iâ€™ve started.