Rock and Roll has been one of the most iconic music genres in America for decades. It’s still a thrilling experience to listen to today. Even though the body positivity movement is ever growing, the plus community is no stranger to our own performers in the music industry with the likes of legends like Jill Scott and Queen Latifah as well as more recent stars like Meghan Trainor. Adding to that list is upcoming rock band, Nicole Boggs and The Reel, who have just recently debuted the music video for their second single, “I’m Gonna Break Your Heart.” Lead singer, Nicole Boggs, sat down with us at Bold Magazine to discuss being a plus performer, rock band life, her inspirations, and the band’s upcoming EP, “None of Your Business.” Check out the interview down below!
- BM: Nicole, we recently connected after you’d emailed us about your latest album. How’s it been hitting?
NB: Hi! It’s been f***ing great. We’ve released 2 singles so far, “Money” and “I’m Gonna Break Your Heart” along with music videos for both. It’s been really fun to give people a peek into how goofy we are with the videos. It’s easy to feel like you’re being too serious when you’re writing songs from an honest place. I think the videos really shine a spotlight on the layers of our personalities. We still have another single and video coming out in June followed by the full EP in July. We can’t wait to share the rest of what we’ve got up our sleeve for 2020.
- BM: Tell us about your band!
NB: The band is called Nicole Boggs & The Reel and we’re a Rock/Americana group based in Nashville, TN. The band consists of Alex Kramer, Sam Gyllenhaal, Loren D. Clark and myself. We like to consider what we’re doing a bit of a 70’s rock n’ roll revival with driving guitars, stacks of harmonies and authentic storytelling. We’re not afraid to push a few buttons and challenge people to see things from another point of view. This EP employs a lot of sarcasm to confront the realities of an over-sexualized and male-dominated music industry.
- BM: How did you all meet?
NB: Nashville has a way of bringing people together. We’ve all been working musicians in Nashville for the last decade and met through music in one way or another. At this point it’s hard to remember when & where, but we were all in our early 20’s so I’m sure there was alcohol involved. Alex and I started playing together in 2013 when I released my first album as a solo artist shortly followed by Loren joining on bass. The transition to becoming a band was pretty seamless and natural. We were already writing music and performing together. It just made sense for us to move forward together. Sam and I met years ago, but he was the last to join the band after we reconnected as co-writers in 2017 and the rest is history.
- BM: Who are your inspirations?
NB: This question is always so hard. I feel like I have to place them in separate categories. As a band, we are heavily influenced by a lot of 70’s rock n’ roll- Fleetwood Mac,Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, The Beatles…I could go on. As a woman, artists like Bonnie Raitt, Carole King & Sheryl Crow painted a picture of the type of artist I wanted to become. I’ve always really gravitated towards artists who write, sing and play from a raw emotional place and put song and story ahead of flash. As a human being I can’t get enough of Marc Maron. I turn to his WTF podcast whenever I feel out of place or alone in the world. We’re pretty close friends. He just doesn’t know it yet.
- BM: What are some challenges as a strong lead singer in a band of all men?
NB: I think one of the biggest challenges is finding a collective voice and sound when you’re not all living the same experience. Of course that would be the case with any group of people, but we write the majority of the songs together and a lot of the subjects revolve around my experiences as a woman whether we’re talking about the music industry, sex or the roles we play in relationships. I am always grateful to them for listening, asking questions and not shying away from difficult conversations. They are stand up dudes who aren’t afraid of openness and growth. It feels so supportive to have them stand behind the things I have to say about being a woman in this world. One of my biggest challenges is leadership. I have had to do some serious digging and self-work to be able to assert my opinions and believe that my voice is going to heard. Sometimes it seems easier to remain quiet and stay small, but ultimately that isn’t beneficial to anyone.
- BM: What do you hope to accomplish?
NB: We try to be ourselves unapologetically and hope our music invites listeners to do the same. We tackle big subjects, tell the truth and try not to take ourselves too seriously. Some of the big messages on this EP are not letting people box you in, not putting up with bullshit and acknowledging your own strengths and weaknesses in order to move forward. It would be a dream come true to be playing rooms like The Ryman Auditorium and to be recognized for all of our hard work, but the ultimate accomplishment is knowing we gave someone even just 3 minutes where they felt less disconnected and more seen and understood.
- BM: Talk to us about your body positivity.
NB: Body positivity is an ever evolving journey for me. You don’t exactly see a lot of plus-size female rock stars (all hail Ann Wilson.) What started as a longing for more representation in the media blossomed into a more meaningful conversation with myself about what I believed I could and couldn’t do and whether or not I deserve to be loved. This is an ongoing internal dialogue now. I am learning to let go of limitations I set for myself one day at a time and allowing myself to feel powerful, strong and grateful for the vessel that carries me through the world. I have a new love affair with yoga that is teaching me more about loving my body than anything else has.
- BM: Do your body and body positivity play a role in your performances? Your message?
NB: What a great question. This is something I think about a lot and am always a little anxious to talk about. I guess there’s a fear of “getting it wrong.” The answer is yes and no. For me, the performances and songs are about people living their lives, making mistakes, falling in and out of love, and my hope is that those messages being received has nothing to do with my body whatsoever. On the other hand, I am aware of the narrative that simply standing on a stage can tell. In that way, I hope to inspire more women to stand up and tell their own stories and tune out the nonsense that says you should look a certain way in order to do so. I can’t control where we’ve come from as a society, but I can challenge the status quo of what we view as sexy. Playing an Epiphone Sheraton in front of an audience makes me feel super sexy.
- BM: What’s next for you? The band?
NB: We’re really excited to release the rest of the EP this summer and have a pretty unique video coming for the third single that we made in quarantine with our dear friends at Duende Vision. Our plan was to hit the road this summer which has been delayed due to the pandemic. We are in the process of looking at dates for the fall. Fingers crossed that we can bring the music to people in person soon. In the meantime we are Live-Streaming on the band Facebook page twice a week, Wednesdays at 7 PM CST and Sundays at 3 PM CST. It has been beautiful to have a place to sing, goof off and connect with people in real time. It has really been a saving grace in a turbulent time. We are pretty much in a constant cycle of writing, recording and releasing new music. The current state of the world has inspired a lot of new songs that will hopefully become our next record.
- BM: Lastly, Nicole, what makes you BOLD (unique and awesome).
NB: One of my greatest assets is turning my fear into opportunity. The more afraid I am to say something, the more it becomes my driving force. Speaking your truth is always BOLD.
We’ll be able to rock out to the rest of Boggs & The Reel’s EP, “None of Your Business,” sometime in the summer. For now, check out the video collaboration with Nashville’s Duende Vision below for their newest single from their EP, “I’m Gonna Break Your Heart.”