Chicago-based singer-songwriter Nick DiNardo aspires to create music that can reach his listeners and impact them in personal ways. His idea of being an artist and musician means more than simply writing songs and playing guitar in front of an audience -- it’s much more personal than that.
Nick was born and raised in the Chicagoland area, and for the most part, keeps his performances local. He has had the opportunity to play at several different locations near Joliet, IL, including Brass Tap, Tilted Kilts, and he has also performed at various venues in Chicago. His band, the Nick DiNardo band, usually plays once every three months in hopes that they can promote the show and get a good turnout. In addition to his band, Nick plays as a solo-acoustic act four or five times every month -- usually once per week.
“I listen to so much music now,” he thinks back to his personal listening habits. Nick prefers to throw on a Spotify playlist or mood mix in order to discover new music. His interests range from Lady Gaga to heavy-metal -- he claims, there really are no limits to his taste: “I’ll listen to anything; I look at the song.” Depending on how each song impacts him is what determines if he’ll keep listening; if it’s a good individual song, it’s probably going to be on his playlist.
As for his own music, Nick’s style is, as he describes it, Americano with a hard-rock edge. “People don’t really say we sound like anybody; we have kind of a unique sound,” he explains. And that probably comes in part due to how real and relaxed his music-writing process is. Writing and playing is something Nick does on a daily basis, no question. “It’s my go-to,” he says. Nick’s enthusiasm for music as a significant part of his life shows in the way he talks about it. “I’ll [get up] in the morning, get coffee and grab my guitar.” It’s as if everything were suddenly right in the world.
“I really love writing music; it’s kind of therapeutic, I guess,” he says, almost relieved. He talks about how he has made a habit of coming home and strumming on the guitar, working on different projects. “I just wanted it to be an outlet,” he explains what it was like first getting into music. He has been playing since third grade, when he was in orchestra, and got his first electric bass guitar in sixth grace from his uncle. From there, he started his first garage band. “I figured, well maybe I can share my music with other people -- start a band. And I kinda went with that.”
Nick’s music reflects this sort of low-key attitude and personality he projects; his new album, which was released in December of 2017, titled “Yin” sounds exactly as he describes it -- unique. The album was written during a darker period of his life, he shares; that’s why he titled it “Yin.” The familiar symbol representing the dark, negative aspect of life, and yang being the positive. He adds, “That’s how I was inspired to write [the album].”
The songs on the album were written over the last three or four years, Nick says. Recording the songs took a total of nine months. It was a pretty lengthy process, but the results bring him a satisfaction in what he has accomplished. “Just the fact that it was completely done independently -- self-financed,” Nick says, adding that he personally designed and created the album’s cover, as well. “I did it all myself, so I’m kind of proud of that.”
Nick is planning to begin working on new content for the band’s second album this spring: “I’m currently writing new songs -- it keeps me very busy.” Although the album is very early in the process, Nick knows that it’s going to be a lot more guitar-oriented, as he’s been experimenting with technical guitar and has generally grown as a guitar player since the first album was recorded. The album is still going to sound like the Nick DiNardo Band, Nick suggests, but his growth as a person and musician will certainly influence its sound.
“Continuing on the journey is kind of growth,” he says. “You grow as a person.” It’s a natural thing, he explains. As people, different experiences within life change over time -- it’s sort of a rite of passage. And it’s the same with music -- “you’re just gonna keep growing, because you’re gonna know more.”
Nick also has a lot to say about his future as a musician, and he does so in the most humbling way. Doing what he does is not in hopes to one day win a Grammy award or become YouTube famous -- it’s all about the audience. Over the course of his career in music, he has been approached by many different people who have been impacted by his music. People come to him and share their real stories of failure or hardship and let him know that he and his music made them happy. He adds, “That’s success, you know?”
“I just focus on writing good music, trying to connect with the audience, trying to make people happy,” he says. Life is short. Making people happy is the most important thing in life; Nick hopes to do so through his music.