By Andrew Gilhooley / 411
This coming Friday and Saturday, Nina Storey brings her soulful mix of blues, folk and rock to the stage of Moe’s Alley Blues Club in Santa Cruz. With four well-received CDs to her credit, her path to musical success has been in every sense a family affair. She was born in Denver, Colorado, into a family which consisted almost entirely of musicians, actors and writers. With a father who was an audio engineer, a mother who was a writer and producer and even a grandmother who played saxophone in a big band, it was inevitable that Storey would be encouraged to follow a career in the performing arts.
“Music is something I pretty much always wanted to do,” she said. “Even when I was four, I was singing all the time.” When she was in elementary school, her parents moved to California, and it was through her mother’s work there as a producer that the young Storey got her first professional engagement – singing backup on a band’s demo tape.
Storey eventually went to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she soon formed a band called the Lost Generation. The band played on campus and at local clubs and coffeehouses. The Lost Generation began to gain a strong local following around the Denver area, which led to the release of her first CD “Guilt and Honey” in 1993. Storey toured her home state to promote the album, a tour which went on to cover the rest of the United States. By the end of 1994, she had toured Europe twice, and she released an album of live cuts entitled “Bootleg” on her own Red Lady record label in 1995. Storey considered it very important to release a recording of her live shows. “I’m very much a live performer,” she said, “I love being in the studio, but I thrive on the actual ability to sing to people and tell the story that way.”
Following the release of “Bootleg,” Storey toured as the opening act for many well-known artists including Etta James, Keb Mo’ and John Lee Hooker, and in 1997 she sang backing vocals with INXS for an appearance on VH-1. In the same year, she released her third CD “Shades,” which has had five of its tracks used in films and TV shows, including the ABC show “Alias,” which used her song “If I Were an Angel.” Since the national re-release of “Shades” in 2000, Storey has played at a number of major festivals including the Montreal International Jazz Festival and both Monterey and Santa Cruz Blues Festivals. She also performed for an audience of 250,000 during the Super Bowl Celebration.
Nina Storey’s most recent CD was released in 2002. Self-titled, it was co-written and arranged with her mother, Jan Storey. Its 15 tracks show the range of Storey’s style and influences, which include the Beatles, Aretha Franklin, and “virtually any other rock, blues, soul and jazz legend you can name.” These go together to give Storey’s music an appeal which transcends musical boundaries, as this weekend’s shows should prove.
First published in “411”, The Salinas Californian, October 9, 2003
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