Music shapes our identities and changes our lives. It brings back our memories and stirs up our emotions. My Song Stories asks music professionals and indie artists questions about the songs in their libraries. Today, Randy Nichols, CEO of Force Media Management, shares the artists and songs that have impacted his life and career.
By Kyle Bylin, author of Song Stories
I’m Randy Nichols of Force Media Management. I have been managing bands for around 15 years. I get to help some of my favorite artists figure out how to best build a business around the success of their art. In addition to artist management, I consult for music technology startups, have a wife and two small kids, and when everything else isn’t taking up all my time you can find me surfing in Long Beach, NY.
What song have you most recently played non-stop or on repeat?
Andrew McMahon – “Brooklyn My Dear”
What song most compels you to sing along when it plays?
Beach Slang – “American Girls and French Kisses”
What song do you play when you need to feel motivated or inspired?
ODB – “Recognize”
What song are you most embarrassed to admit that you enjoy?
Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe”
What song in your library has developed a personal or deeper meaning?
Say Anything – “I Want to Know Your Plans
I was a huge fan of this record. Through a chance meeting, I ended up managing them a few months after falling in love with the album. This culminated with their singer, Max, playing this song acoustic as the first dance at my wedding, with all my friends, family, and artists standing around the dance floor, singing along.
What five artists most influenced you when you were a teenager?
1) Ramones – “Blitzkrieg Bop”
2) The Clash – “London Calling”
3) The Cure – “Pictures of You”
4) U2 – “Bullet The Blue Sky”
5) Beastie Boys – “So What’cha Want”
What year did you graduate from high school?
What were your favorite activities or hobbies in high school?
I went to as many shows as I could in NYC at Wetlands, Coney Island High, Roseland, Irving Plaza, and Tramps. I didn’t do much of anything else other than hang out in parking lots and Bill Sinopli’s house. I watched everyone smoke, drink, and more. Once in a blue moon, I joined in but mostly I was the sober, responsible kid and designated driver for my lovable, fuck up friends.
What five artists best represent your favorite music today?
1) Beach Slang – “Spin The Dial”
2) Vacationer – “Paradise Waiting”
3) Frank Turner – “Photosynthesis”
4) Gaslight Anthem – “The ‘59 Sound”
5) Jimmy Eat World – “Lucky Denver Mint”
What is your most prized music possession or memorabilia?
Unreleased, one of a kind, Joey Ramone replica Converse Chuck Taylors. They were designed and a handful of prototypes were made, but it never was approved or went into production.
How would you describe music’s role or importance in your life?
Whether it’s Bob Marley singing, “One good thing about music, when it hits you fell no pain,” or Rancid with, “When the music hits, I feel no pain at all,” they both sum up how music takes any bad situation and gets you through it. As a kid, it was my escape and it was the only thing that mattered. As I grew up, the tables turned and now I get to give back to musicians who got me through life.
Kyle Bylin is the author of Song Stories: Music That Shaped Our Identities and Changed Our Lives, a collection of essays about songs that impacted people's lives. Read an excerpt here.