When I moved to Phoenix, Arizona last month; other than the scorching summer heat, I did not know what to expect. Coming from the whereabouts of Los Angeles, CA; one of the most important cities in the world for the film industry and the music industry, where there are hundreds and thousands of artists, bands and musicians, I expected Phoenix to be an artistically dull place, with not too many performing and good musicians and artists. That very soon changed as I started visiting a few venues around the city that feature local artists. Contrary to my expectation, I found that the city of Phoenix has some awesome musicians and artists. One such awesome artist I met at a benefit show in Scottsdale, is a wonderful and outstanding Tempe based singer/songwriter Nina Curri.
I did not think much of it when I saw Nina Curri the first time. She was in the back tuning her acoustic guitar. A few bands had performed before Nina. Some bands caught my attention and some not so much. Nina got on stage with her acoustic guitar and a guitar player on a Telecaster. Very soon she not only caught everybody’s attention with her songs, but a very beautiful and wonderful thing happened. Being at a benefit show where there are quite a few musicians around from other bands, Nina’s charismatic singing manifested an instant band. An organist, a drummer, bassist and other musicians from different bands joined her on stage a couple songs later. For the rest of her set Nina performed with this awesome instant band of experienced and talented musicians alongside her. It was magical.
Nina Curri comes from a family rich with music. Folk singer/songwriter English teacher for mother and Indian Ghazal singing engineer for a father influenced her childhood and early days immensely. “I often went to Jazz clubs with my mom and I think I just inherited her talent.”, said Nina speaking of her influences. The musically wealthy family had a rich collection of folk, blues, jazz, 70s rock and singer/songwriters records. While attending college in Flagstaff, Arizona, local blues artists and singer/songwriters like Steve D. Reynolds shaped Nina’s early music days. After graduating from college she focused her attention on her singing and songwriting, moved to Houston, Texas and performed her singing at various venues in Houston and Austin. These performances went on to mould Nina into a well rounded artist. Nina was awarded the Top Traditional Artist’s award several times by different societies and art centers of the Phoenix and it’s neighboring cities.
“While I lived in Houston, I was nicknamed the ‘Curri Girl’ by a blues player.”, responded Nina when I asked her if there was a story behind her second name ‘Curri’. Perhaps her Asian Indian look reminded the blues player of the exquisite, spicy and tasty Indian curries. Nina her self loves curries. Nina loves Curri. If you see her sing the blues, you will love her too. Bonnie Raitt, Etta James and Muddy Waters are a few names to mention from a list of major artists that influenced Nina as an artists and as a singer/songwriter. Local artists like Jazz/Blues singer Francine Reed have also influenced Nina’s art to a great extent. Nina loves the Sunday evening Bob Corritore’s radio show on 91.5 KJazz.
Speaking of success Nina said, “Everyone defines success in their own way and what I have realized is that you don’t have to be on tour or on the cover of Rolling Stone to be a successful musician/songwriter. Sharing your talents with the world as an entertainer comes to each of us in our own time.” Nina is happily blooming and hoping to release her first album in Spring of 2013. She plans to call it ‘All This Time’.
Stop by next time and check out Nina Curri and her folky blues. She is at Baby Kay’s Cajun Kitchen every Friday and Saturday between six and 9pm. She performs solo acoustic with an occasional guest accompanying her. Nina Curri also performs as an occasional opener at The Rhythm Room. She participates in many local benefits and fundraiser such as St. Mary’s Annual Food Bank, etc. Her performance schedule can be viewed on her web site at http://www.NinaCurri.com. For your listening pleasure, Nina Curri’s music is available online at http://www.reverbnation.com/ninacurri/.
As for Nina, may her perfect dream of an unlimited gas card and a big cushy bus come true so she can be off on her tour, entertaining the world. As for me, I am only beginning to explore the wealth of talent that is present in this arid desert city of Phoenix, Arizona.