Oct 13, 2013
06:12 AMArts & Entertainment
Chamard Vineyards' Music Fest Sunday Stars Country Artist Nicole Frechette, a Shoreline Native
Nicole Frechette might not be a coal miner’s daughter. But Nashville has still taken notice. As has Billboard Magazine.
True, in her Shoreline childhood home, the radio did not play an endless loop of Grand Ole Opry broadcasts. At the dinner table, no one retold Minnie Pearl jokes. The 28-year-old, whose band will headline the Harvest Music Hoedown at Clinton’s Chamard Vineyards Sunday, did not address her parents as Mama and Daddy.
Indeed, aside from an aunt she never knew and a grandmother who plays the organ and belts out songs “at the top of her lungs,” the striking blonde said at a recent interview, no one in her family is musical in any capacity.
And yet there was Nikki Fresh, as her friends call her, singing since she could speak, singing over the commotion of four brothers and sisters and two dogs, singing on family road trips. She sang pop; she sang rock ’n’ roll; she sang along to whatever was playing on the radio, including the Broadway hits her mother favored.
“It just came naturally,” said Frechette who projects an exuberance and energy that dwarfs her five-foot frame. “Which is why I always knew this was what I was meant to do.”
Being a singer, that is. A pop singer, she believed back then.
Then came a turning point. The same organ-playing, song-belting grandmother learned of these ambitions. A picture came into her mind of Britney Spears. Evidently the idea of her granddaughter emulating the volatile, navel-baring phenom left her unsettled. Unsettled enough to hand over to the middle school student an album of “real music.”
She heard Patsy Cline sing “Crazy,” heard its “simplicity and honesty,” she said, its raw emotion, felt the full-throated heartbreak, and she saw her future.
Sure, Frechette might not have a mountain soul; that’s why she still calls Connecticut home and heads back to the Shoreline whenever her schedule allows. No, her mother never hand-sewed her fringed Western stage outfits. And it would be a stretch to say the Madison native grew up on the wrong side of the tracks.
Still, a review of her last seven years shows striking similarities between “the small woman with the really big voice,” as one reviewer characterized her, and the feisty country music pioneer that turned her dreams on their ear.