Derik Nelson and his siblings have been performing since they were quite young. Up & Coming Weekly interviewed them about their upcoming show at Givens Performing Arts Center Jan. 9.
Up & Coming Weekly: Do you write your own music? If so, where do you find inspiration for your songs?
Derik: Yes. About half the songs we perform in our touring show are original songs I’ve written the music and lyrics for. Audiences can expect the other half to be covers from a variety of genres, eras and styles, done in our own three-partharmony arrangements. I’m consistently inspired by my musical heroes. Sting, John Mayer and Pat Metheny are three of many. I love artists who use a lot of styles and genres in their music and aren’t afraid to push boundaries. It inspires me to continue to take chances, try new arrangements, and not allow a genre boundary or style dictate how or why I create.
UCW: Can you talk about the visual aspect of your performances?
Dalten: At our show in Pembroke, the audience will experience a visual backdrop featuring video and audio throughout the show, and it’s all synced to the live vocals. I’ve spent the last few years filming, editing, producing and creating over 200 different videos to span the stage.
Riana: What audiences might not know is Derik plays a lot of different instruments: guitar, piano, saxophone, drums, bass, flute, etc. Dalten and Derik started collaborating years ago, filming music videos for Derik’s YouTube channel, which has since grown to have over 3.6 million views. We found a creative way to allow Derik to play all the instruments he loves as part of our video backdrop. I’ll keep our method a secret until audiences can see the show!
UCW: What do you love most about performing?
Derik: I love being able to connect with people. Music transcends any age, religion, language. Especially when people come up after shows with tears in their eyes, saying that they were moved or impacted or changed somehow by a lyric, or a song … that’s the human connection through music I think all three of us love so much.
UCW: How do you unwind?
Dalten: “When I’m not touring, I spend a lot of time in nature and at the gym. It really grounds me to lift weights and focus on fitness.
Riana: I love calligraphy and watercolor painting. When I’m not touring, I paint and often do custom commission work for others. I love cooking vegan and vegetarian recipes too, which is not something I get to do while traveling for work, so it really relaxes me. I’m also a huge fan of “This Is Us” and always look forward to watching it with my mom. We call it “This Is Us Crying.” Such a brilliant show!
Derik: I love writing new lyrics and music. I can spend all day working on a new song or recording. I love layering instruments and vocals to create almost like a choir sound, and this is also how I often come up with new ideas for songs, too. That time to explore is really relaxing to me and helps me unwind. And I love taking the ferry in Seattle. It’s one of the quickest ways I relax!
UCW: For someone who has never heard you perform, how would you describe your music?
Derik: It’s pop music that’s acoustic-based, with folk, jazz and rock influences, all with a focus on the three-part harmony sibling sound. There’s something special about sibling voices blending together. I love the blend that’s possible when singing with family.
Visit www.uncp.edu or call 910-521-6000 for tickets and information.
Photo: Derik Nelson & Family will be at GPAC Jan. 9. L to R: Dalten, Derik, Riana.