"Call Me Adam" chats with musical director Brian Nash about his debut solo album Forever/After as well as his album release concert at 54 Below on Friday, May 8 at 9:30pm! Click here for tickets and click here to purchase Forever/After!
1. On May 8, you are celebrating the release of your debut solo album Forever/After at 54 Below. What are you looking forward to most about this show? The songs on this album are mainly ones that I haven't performed live that often, and getting to perform them and recreate the album arrangements with such a crazy-good band (and string quartet) is really what I'm going to enjoy. I perform solo so often that I rarely get to sing with that many players, so that's what's exciting me right now.
2. Why did you want to have your release concert at 54 Below? I've played so much on other people's shows at 54 Below and did some solo work there right when the club opened, and it really feels like home. The staff there, particularly KJ and Amanda on the tech team, are so good at what they do, and it'd give me a level of comfort knowing that that was going to be my living room for the night. It's big enough to get a real audience in there, but still feels intimate.
3. What do you hope audiences come away with after attending your release concert and listening to your album? Well, the album (and the concert, really, since I'll be performing the whole thing in order) follows a really specific timeline and mood...it gets dark, but comes out the other side, and I've always loved albums that hang together as single works that way. The emotional journey of it was really important to me; I try to do a similar thing in my shows and on concerts I've worked on, so I hope it comes through.
4. What made now the right time to make your debut solo album? It was a random confluence of events...I've been performing out of town a lot more over the last couple of years, and really wanted to have something to use as a calling card when I'm on the road, but it would be so expensive to make the album I wanted to make in New York. Then a friend called, saying that he had some studio time booked in Denver and wanted to know if there was anything that I wanted to record, so I jumped at the chance. I couldn't have been luckier, and the studio and players out there were incredible.
5. What was your favorite part of the creative process in putting this album together? Like most projects I've done, the most fun was coming up with the arrangements and orchestrations for it. I love that more than anything, and I'm a whore for strings, so it was always clear that that element had to be there.
6. Forever/After features songs by Cyndi Lauper, Jason Robert Brown, Jason Mraz, Patty Griffin, and Ben Folds Five. How did you decide these were the artists' songs you wanted to put on your debut album? When the album started to become a reality, I made a list of about 45 songs that I'd possibly want to record. A lot of those that made the final cut have been favorites of mine for years, but as I got down to about the last 15, a story started to emerge, and it became clear which songs were going to tell that story best.
7. How did you come up with the title for your debut album Forever/After? I was married from 2011 to 2014, and as the shape of the album emerged, it became clear that it was telling the story of that relationship. Forever/After is really just what the album is about, the belief that something is truly going to last always, and then, due to circumstances beyond anyone's control, having to deal with the aftermath of that belief becoming untrue.
8. Who or what inspired to become a musical director? I always loved conducting, and wanted to since I was 12. After I started playing the piano at 15, the next thing I wanted to do was to conduct shows, and I started with a production of Jesus Christ Superstar at 16. I love working with actors and singers to help them tell the story musically, and coming at it from a performer's background really helps me do that.
9. You have worked with some of the biggest names in the entertainment business including Natalie Douglas, Natalie Joy Johnson, Deborah Cox, and Andy Bell. What have you learned from working with them? I've gotten some great opportunities to work with a lot of different people in a lot of different styles, and I think the best you can do is stay open to new sounds, new ways of playing and making music. And really, that's what makes people want to work with you, that exchange of ideas.
10. What's the best advice you've ever received? Following through with that, someone I really admire said in an interview I heard when I was young that artists work as mirrors, and whatever the audience gives, the artist reflects back to them tenfold, and the key was to keep that continual exchange going. I've always felt that when performing, and I try to bring that into collaborations with artists and directors. God knows I have my opinions, but I respond best to being in the sandbox with someone artistically and seeing what emerges.
11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I'd say flight....I drive in the city, and traffic can be a nightmare. Plus, I travel a lot, and it's so much more fun when you're in control of how you're getting there.
12. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it, and what ingredients would you put in it? Ok, this is a weird one, as I really don't drink, but I'm well known for drinking Evian. By the case, essentially. My perfect drink would be a Mexican Coke with ice cubes made of Evian...you get to come up with the name. :)
13. Favorite way to stay in shape? I've been going to Mark Fisher Fitness for almost the last two years, and they're damn incredible. Any gym that can give you a killer workout while playing the "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Megamix" is my kind of place.
14. Boxers or Briefs? I'm a recent brief convert...specifically, AussieBum day-of-the-week briefs. Sometimes, it's the only way I know what day it is.
Brian Nash is known for his regular gigs around town, from Mostly Sondheim and his long running Sunday nights at the Duplex to Co-Dependent Mondays with Natalie Joy Johnson at Therapy. He is the musical director for Atlantis Events, music directing concerts for them with Deborah Cox, Andy Bell, and many others, and has been selling out venues all over Manhattan for over a decade.