Madison’s own Nicole Frechette is proving that country music can come from New England. She has a new record out and has recently shared bills with country superstars Tim McGraw, LeAnn Rimes, Gary Allan, JoDee Messina, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift and more.
I knew all the words to literally anything and every song on Star 99.9 that was an 80s/90s ballad or smash hit. I credit those artists (and radio filled car rides with my parents) for learning how to sing and schooling me on great music. I had the best top notch teachers including Mariah Carey, Journey, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac and so many more. I felt so connected to those songs (and Mariah became my idol).
The song I sing best changes with each [show] season I think—different times of my life and career bring out different meaning into songs and selections on the set list which directly affects how and what I sing “best.” Recently it has been one of my own album songs “Over You.” Overall, I think it is ”Crazy” by Patsy Cline. Not to compare the two (because who could compare to Willie and Patsy?!).
My favorite country song is anything Patsy. I say it in nearly every show and any interview (I already mentioned it here) and any conversation when asked. It still holds true. Patsy Cline’s rendition of “Crazy” is one of my all time favorites. My Grandma gave me a Patsy album that started it all—it was an amazing compilation album released in 1997 called “Heartaches” and that became the soundtrack to learning how to sing country music. I pay homage to Pasty (and my Grandma!) by singing one of her incredible songs in every one of my shows and there are always feelings of hoping I can do it near enough justice.
The thing I liked the most about living in Madison was the instant ability to run and escape to the beach. I am a water girl—or at least a beach one (I prefer to look at it from the shore). I think the vastness and uncontrolled water is so many things at the same time— comforting, calming, beautiful, simple while always being awe-inspiring, sometimes tumultuous and threatening (but somehow still beautiful then too!) the beach has been my place for thinking, writing, wandering and wondering. I think Madison also allowed my parents to give us the freedom to be alone and independent when we wanted to be starting at a young age. I cannot think of a better place to have grown up—all the small town perks, right on the gorgeous water. I have always felt safe in Madison because it is my town, my family and the place that raised me.
The best song I ever wrote was … “Old Dirt Road.” It was a song that came out of nowhere and no real personal, direct experience—but felt like I was writing someone’s story. It was like it was there, waiting to be let out. I have had that experience only two times now and it is incredible. You feel like you were given a song to sing and to share instead of working to build one. Many, many folks have told me how much that song means to them which makes it even more powerful to me that I am able to call it my own work.
Country singers don’t have to come from anywhere in particular at all. Music is buried in you until you dig it up … what you dig up is probably what you should be doing. When I started digging, I struck country chords. I felt that I was alone for a while when I first started singing country music up in New England since there were not many others like me and country music wasn’t as popular and present up here as it is today. When I started going to Nashville more often, I met more and more artist and writers … country ones, from all over the country and the world. I quickly realized why Nashville is such a transient city that very few people are actually really from. It’s about the music and the way it connects to you as an artist, not your zip code.
Image Credits: Photograph by Steve Depino