Catching up with Grady Nichols



From his early years as a jazz saxophonist Tulsans began following at local and area venues starting in the 1990s, Grady Nichols has since become one of the most sought after performers in the country, whether onstage with Kirk Whalum, The Beach Boys,  Roy Clark, Jay Leno, Kevin Eubanks, Dave Benoit, Huey Lewis and the News, and Ellis Marsalis, from Tulsa, to Indiana, Texas, Kansas, Nevada to Washington and California. His music has been featured on The Weather Channel, Coca Cola, Black Entertainment Television, the Muppets from Outer Space soundtrack, the Oasis Smooth Jazz Awards Collection; a Livin’ the Life Specialty CD for Beautiful Brands International; Coca Cola, the Sounds of Sophistication CD for Renaissance Hotels; in addition to his own popular CDs, including his sixth, “Destinations,” released this summer.

TulsaPeople gets the lowdown from the busy musician about “Destinations “ (which features such compositions as, “Tulsa”; and “London Baby!,” his first single receiving enthusiastic airplay on online Smooth Jazz Radio), to his upcoming Tulsa area summer performances, including the Tulsa Freedom Festival at RiverWest Festival Park on July 4.

I understand you have some big news about a brand new CD. Congratulations! Tell us all about “Destinations” — your first concept of it, the first track recordings, mixing sessions, how long it took to complete, and final production.

I have been fortunate to work with some great producers on previous CDs and each time I want to build on the previous project, but also change it up a bit, so I am always keeping my music fresh. When I started planning the new CD, I looked up Chris Rodriguez. I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time. He is an artist, producer, songwriter, performer, musician, former label executive — he just brought so much to the table.  

After a long conversation with him about my goals, direction, etc., everything fell into place. I went to Nashville and spent several days writing with him. I came back home and continued to hone the song ideas we started. We sent files back and forth, texted, emailed and finally came up with songs that we felt were really strong. Then I started rehearsing the new material with my band. They also brought a lot of ideas and new interpretations. After a several rehearsals, we loaded up our gear and headed to the studio to track. That took about a week and we came home and continued to overdub, fix a few things, etc. Then I went back to Nashville and mixed with Chris. Overall it probably took about a year from songwriting to final mix.

Do you have any favorites from “Destinations”?

I love all of them and love playing them live. A couple that really stand out are “Walk Thru My Dreams” and “Superman.” “Walk Thru My Dreams” is really melancholy and I love the change of mood. I’ve always been a big fan of Superman so it was fun doing a tribute to that character.

Share your thoughts about the “Tulsa” track on the CD.

I love Tulsa. Tulsa has been really good to me. I have had some great opportunities — such as opening for Ray Charles, Pavarotti, The Beach Boys — that came as a result of being based out of the Tulsa market. I wrote the song “Tulsa” as a tribute to this city that has given me so much.  When I wrote it, I wanted to capture the elements of the Tulsa sound. We have an interesting melting pot of music: country, rock, R&B, Latino and I wanted to bring in a little of those elements into the song.

Also, congratulations about the “London Baby!” track that is currently popular on Smooth Jazz Radio. How and when did that happen?

I have worked with Jason Gorov of "All That Jazz" on two of my previous CDs and really respect his opinion of the interest and needs of radio programmers. After we finished mixing "Destinations," I sent him a copy and he loved it. He felt my music had a lot of potential at radio and thought “London Baby!” would be the strongest first single. So I took his advice and mailed it out.  We went for adds in March. It was the "Most Added" on several charts the first week and it is still going strong.

How do your own original compositions on “Destinations” compare to your songs on your previous CDs?

I’ve been fortunate to work with producers who are also songwriters on my last three CDs. That has given me the opportunity to co-write with them and those collaborations have resulted in some strong songs. I feel writing my music gives me a unique voice. I’ve also covered a few tunes on the last two CDs. Because I love a lot of different styles of music and on "Destinations," I also took the opportunity to re-record some of my favorite songs such as Journey’s “Faithfully.” I have performed that in concert for a while and it is always a crowd favorite, so I wanted to include it for the fans who have requested it in concert. I also covered Keith Urban’s “Only You Can Love Me This Way.” My producer, Chris Rodriguez, toured with Keith for a while and we both loved this song and had an idea of an instrumental version. 

I understand you are appearing at Tulsa’s Freedom Festival during the July 4 holiday weekend? What can Tulsa and Green Country expect to hear at that performance?

A little of everything. My music is predominately smooth jazz/pop with a little R&B, adult contemporary, country, rock, etc. thrown in the mix. 

Are you on tour at the moment, or do you have any tour plans for the summer months?

I love performing and tour every chance I get.

Besides Freedom Fest, will you be performing in and around Tulsa this summer?

The Freedom Fest is in Owasso, but I’ll be performing at Utica Square in August; Jazz in the Plaz in September; Wine, Eats, and Easels in Broken Arrow in October, and The Tulsa Run in October.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

Glass dreams

Eric Baker uses kiln-formed glass and steel to create lifelike nature-inspired sculptures.
Edit Module

Add your comment:
Tulsa Guest Guide

 

Get the best in arts, entertainment and more straight to your inbox.

Join our email list

Edit ModuleShow Tags

November 2018

We’re serving up our new chef-inspired fondue and traditional brunch options like Alpine Benedict Cheese Fondue, French Toast Fondue, Avocado Fiesta Toast plus bottomless mimosas. Reserve...

Cost: Varies

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-299-8000
Contact Name: Alex Cooper
Website »

More information

Over the past thirteen years, the Williams Route 66 Marathon presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma has become a 26.2-mile party! You might find yourself asking "Is this a race or...

Cost: $110

Where:
Downtown Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74066


Sponsor: Williams, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma
Telephone: 918-408-1208
Contact Name: Ally Lightle
Website »

More information

FlyingTee is fun for the whole family and on Sundays, kids eat free! *Limit one free meal from the kids’ menu with each purchase of an adult entrée. Not valid on brunches or holidays.

Cost: Free with purchase

Where:
FlyingTee
600 Riverwalk Terrace
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Telephone: 918-528-7717
Website »

More information

When four lost New Englanders who enroll in Marty’s six-week-long community-center drama class begin to experiment with harmless games, hearts are quietly torn apart, and tiny wars of epic...

Cost: $20

Where:
Studio 308
308 S. Lansing Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: (918) 747-9494
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come see the ORU Mens Basketball team vs Ecclesia

Cost: $10-$20

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 South Lewis Ave
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Sponsor: https://mabeecenter.com/event/ecclesia1819m/
Telephone: 918-495-6000
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come and Support ORU Women's Basketball as they jump into another exciting season. Join in on the fun and purchase your tickets today! All children ages 13 and under, accompanied by an adult, will...

Cost: $7

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We would like to invite our Tulsa neighbors to join us for our "Hope House Free Movie Night" in the auditorium Hope House events are open to the public, family friendly, events.  We will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
Hope House
4241 S 37th W Ave.
TULSA
TULSA, OK  74107
View map »


Sponsor: Hope House
Telephone: 918-446-8176
Contact Name: Dorothy Brown

More information

Every Wednesday Live Event Trivia is at The Willows Family Ales - Show starts at 7 and is free to play! Movie scenes, Finish the Lyric, Classic Trivia, and more! The crew from T-Town Tacos will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: The Willows Family Ales
Telephone: (918) 895-6798
Contact Name: Julian Morgan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Local, Live Music at the The Willows Family Ales taproom EVERY Thursday at 7:30pm. Surprise food vendor to be announced SOON!! 11/1 ---- Eric Himan 11/8 ---- Wendy Nichol Hall 11/15---...

Cost: FREE!!

Where:
The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
418 South Peoria Ave
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: The Willows Family Ales
Contact Name: Julian Morgan

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium (TASM) will celebrate Black Fly-day Weekend in place of the regular shopping holiday on Nov. 23 and 24.  The Museum plans to open their...

Cost: Free - $15

Where:
Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium
3624 North 74th East Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74115
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium
Telephone: 918-834-9900
Contact Name: Kevin
Website »

More information

Reconnect with family and friends in the garden illuminated with colorful lights. Make s'mores over fire pits, enjoy holiday music and take in the spirit of the season in our magical garden...

Cost: Tickets are $15 for ages 13+; $5 for ages 3-12, Children 2 and under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

Philbrook Festival is back and better than ever! Enjoy the most beautiful place in Oklahoma during the most wonderful time of the year. The Museum comes alive with festive holiday events, Santa,...

Cost: $5/Philbrook Members, $15/Public, Free/17 & Under

Where:
Philbrook Museum of Art
2727 S. Rockford Rd.
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Philbrook Museum of Art
Telephone: 918-748-5300
Website »

More information

Philbrook Festival is back and better than ever! Enjoy the most beautiful place in Oklahoma during the most wonderful time of the year. The Museum comes alive with festive holiday events, Santa,...

Cost: $5/Philbrook Members, $15/Public, Free/17 & Under

Where:
Philbrook Museum of Art
2727 S. Rockford Rd.
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Philbrook Museum of Art
Telephone: 918-748-5300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium (TASM) will celebrate Black Fly-day Weekend in place of the regular shopping holiday on Nov. 23 and 24.  The Museum plans to open their...

Cost: Free - $15

Where:
Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium
3624 North 74th East Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74115
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium
Telephone: 918-834-9900
Contact Name: Kevin
Website »

More information

We’re serving up our new chef-inspired fondue and traditional brunch options like Alpine Benedict Cheese Fondue, French Toast Fondue, Avocado Fiesta Toast plus bottomless mimosas. Reserve...

Cost: Varies

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-299-8000
Contact Name: Alex Cooper
Website »

More information

Reconnect with family and friends in the garden illuminated with colorful lights. Make s'mores over fire pits, enjoy holiday music and take in the spirit of the season in our magical garden...

Cost: Tickets are $15 for ages 13+; $5 for ages 3-12, Children 2 and under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

Philbrook Festival is back and better than ever! Enjoy the most beautiful place in Oklahoma during the most wonderful time of the year. The Museum comes alive with festive holiday events,...

Cost: $5/Philbrook Members, $15/Public, Free/17 & Under

Where:
Philbrook Museum of Art
2727 S. Rockford Rd.
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Philbrook Museum of Art
Telephone: 918-748-5300
Website »

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

More information

The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) hosts a Swing dance and lessons  The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) is the only UNESCO recognized dance organization in Oklahoma.  We are a 501c3...

Cost: $7

Where:
Community Center - South Minister Presby Church
3500 So Peoria
1/2 west of Peoria, on 35pl behind the church
Tulsa, OK  74102
View map »


Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

TULtalk


Episode 7: Elizabeth Frame Ellison, CEO of the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation

Elizabeth Frame Ellison discusses the brand-new Mother Road Market, Tulsa’s first food hall, located on historic Route 66.

Comments

Charitable Events: November 2018

Fundraisers and fun happenings

Comments

Video: Apple Blackberry Crumble Pie Recipe

Comments

Oklahoma Caring Awards

The Oklahoma Caring Awards raised $76,000 for the Hospitality House of Tulsa.

Comments

Santorini Night

A fundraiser for Emergency Infant Services, the event was presented by the Tulsa Greek Festival and kicked off Greek Week.

Comments