By: Lori Smerilson Carson
Ever feel like you need some fun, relaxing music? Then Nick “The Feelin” Mrozinski, known in the music world as Nicholas David is the artist to see and hear. America first had a glimpse when he was on the third season of The Voice. Now, south Florida fans can catch this multi-talented phenomenon at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on May 18th.
SFL Music: Tell me about your music. Who would you say are your influences?
Nicholas David: “So many. Music from the heart, for the heart. I’m one of on my dad’s side of the family many, many relatives, cousins and aunts and uncles. My grandfather played the accordion so he was a big influence, and the piano, and we had a lot of family get togethers. In second grade I started playing. I’m 38. So, I always found myself flocking to him. Even when I was like four, I was dancing to his accordion, to his polka music. My mom’s dad too. He got pretty sick when I was young. I played the piano for him in the basement. He had a vent that went up and he loved it when I played the piano. The night that he had passed he yelled at my gram, he said “play the piano!” she said “I can’t,” and then he said “tell Nicky to play. Tell him never to stop.”
SFL Music: Oh, that’s nice.
David: “So honestly, my influences are my grandfathers. Then my mom and I drove around in my car as a kid and she listened to like oldies, so in the 80’s I was listening music of the 50’s and 60’s. Then I found a doors tape of my mom’s, it’s like ‘oh my gosh, who’s this?’ and The Beatles. My dad’s like Blood, Sweat & Tears and Bread. Then movies and musicals. It’s like all that. I love music. All of it’s my influence, but I’d say really my grandfathers for sure.”
SFL Music: That’s nice that your grandfathers influenced you at an early age.
David: “My dad’s dad, he was with us when I started giggin out because he wanted to play, but he had to work more, you know, he couldn’t make as much and provide for his family. (he’d ask) “how much are you making?” Just to answer the question, it was so cool. I miss him incredibly to be honest with ya, but sorry. I digress,” (said clearing his throat almost tearfully).
SFL Music: It seems that they were very influential on you as a whole person?
David: “Yeah big time. My mom and dad too. Family’s huge. Even when I was on the TV show (The Voice), like we went and did the audition and I walked into the audition with my kids and my dad and my wife (he laughed) and people were like ‘oh look, it’s the family man’ and this was before I was even on there. They knew I was going to be on there. It was like ‘you can’t have your family here.’ Sorry, I didn’t know.’ So, they had to go in the car. It was hilarious and awesome. Yeah, family is the foundation for sure. It’s who and why I do it, who I do it for. You know that’s the thing, People say, “is it hard to leave them?” I say “absolutely, it’s hard to leave them,” but at the same time, if you tell your kids to follow your dreams and then you’re not doing that. So, to be able to practice what we preach, you know it’s a tremendous privilege and responsibility.”
SFL Music: Were you formally trained to play piano, musically?
David: “Yeah, I mean I took lessons, took piano lessons in second grade and played all the way through high school. I was a three-sport athlete and around tenth grade I found out I could sing,
SFL Music: How did that happen?
David: “My mom. Yeah, my mom walked by my room and she knocked on the door and she’s like “hey was that you singing?” My mom and dad were huge about letting us do the sports, try out what we liked and made sure we practiced. She’s like, “Will you sing for me?” I was like ‘no.’ ‘She’s like “come on, I’m your mother,” I was like “alright. Turn around, shut the light off,” (he chuckled) and I sang for her. She thought it was pretty good, so I went to the high school and sang for some of the choir people and a voice instructor. Then, that was that, I started to do theater stuff and like I’d run, take my football pads off and then go run and do the theater stuff. (chuckled) It was unbelievable. So, I had a little bit of training in the vocal stuff. What they said is, they’re like, you have it. Whatever that is. Even on The Voice too, when we were singing with some of the local coaches, they’re like, you have it. Whatever that is. I don’t know what that is. I don’t want to sound arrogant, you know, I’m just telling you the story.”
SFL Music: Do you remember the song you were singing when your mom heard you?
David: Yeah, it was Alice in Chains “Don’t Follow.” They released an acoustic record called Jar of Flies.
SFL Music: That’s cool. So, you played football? What were the other sports?
David: “Yeah, I did football, basketball, baseball. Then in the high school, football, basketball, track and then for the dropping I dropped basketball, track and kept football all the way to senior year. Then junior year and sophomore year I did plays. The winter thing they had, like a musical.”
SFL Music: Did you go to college?
David: “Yeah, I had a scholarship to sing jazz at Roosevelt University in Chicago and I turned it down. It didn’t feel right. So, then I went back home to Minnesota, fell in love with this gal and she said she wasn’t planning on me and I wasn’t planning on her and she went out to San Francisco to a college out there. I visited her for a little bit and then we said we needed to be together so we moved to the mountains in Colorado and lived there for five years, and then I moved back to Minnesota after we split up. I was pretty hurt and sad. Then I had met my wife and you know, had this inner renaissance and I started lifting up. Kind of wild, fast forward to 2012, I played music around the Midwest a little bit, the Dakotas and Chicago and Wisconsin and some spots in Colorado before we even moved there. Then, when we moved back, got together and made the family in 2012. I had January through March booked except one weekend in March. I started to call around and try to fill that weekend. I was booking them myself and got a call from, because I do some voiceover work, I got a call from my agent. She said. “you want to try out for The Voice?” I said, “absolutely not.” She said, “well I submitted your video and they wanted the bearded guy in the snow playing.” That was me. I’m like,’ oh my gosh, ok what’s up? Where?’ She’s like, “you have a private audition.” I go, “Ok, but where is it?” She said, “Chicago.” I go, “wow.” I looked at it like God was giving me a chance to squash that regret of turning down the scholarship. The scholarship would give a potential to elevate my life to a degree, right? The Voice will give you potential to elevate your life to a degree. Then I said, “when is it?” She goes, “the first weekend of March.” The one weekend that was open and that I couldn’t fill. So, I took that as a sign of like well, God you had this, this is your deal. I’ll just try and be what I understand to be and it’s still going. It’s still unfolding you know, from that. I just recently was playing keyboards with the Allman Brothers kids. Just recently got off tour, just recently made a new album in New Orleans that’s coming out probably in the fall. We don’t want to burn up spots on the road, so we’re doing some select dates and kind of some new markets and this being one of them.”
SFL Music: The Broward Center for the Performing Arts?
David: “Yeah, Yeah. I mean, we played with Devon and Duane. We were in Florida so much these last couple years and so when these dates came up, they were like “hey we got a couple of solo offers you, gonna take them?” I was “like absolutely!”
SFL Music: How did you end up playing at Greeley Blues Jam in 2018 with Devon Allman? Are they playing with you on this tour?
David: “We played together with the Devon Allman Project for a good part of all of last year and even into this year. We plan on getting together in a couple of years. Right now though, it’s the fiftieth anniversary of the Allman Brothers band. It’s pretty cool and it all ended up working out because again, I made a new record in January you know, it’s pretty easy to go from leading a project to being the piano player, keyboardist. Every night they would give me a feature and I’d sing. People would be like, “oh I remember you from the show.” So, it was cool and awesome to be on another platform. Devon and I ended up doing a show together in 2016, I was solo playing piano and he had his band and they didn’t have a keyboard player and he asked me to jam with them. It reminded me of playing music in high school like when it was new and fresh. Not that it’s not, but it just reminded me of that. Then the next year his mom died and then later that year his dad died. So, he took some time off. Then he wanted to build the band up and he said “hey you want to go see the world?” and I said, “absolutely.” I just went and jammed with him. They added more shows, so it got to be more than I initially had anticipated, but like I’m telling you, it just keeps unfolding.”
SFL Music: How was that experience of being on The Voice?
David: “It was unbelievable. It was like I had the best music school I think anybody could have gone to.”
SFL Music: Really?
David: “We had interview training with Jim Henson’s best friend. It was like the lines blurred of what you grew up watching and listening. I got to meet Smokey Robinson. He asked me some questions. I was like, “oh my gosh.” I remember we were sitting in one of the boutiques they have there in the universal lot and he was asking me these questions and I just touched his shoulder in the middle of it and I’m just like “sorry man. I just had to make sure this was happening, like you, Smokey Robinson are asking me questions about music on a couch in Hollywood.” He laughed.
SFL Music: That’s amazing.
David: “It was like, what the heck! I got to meet Bill Withers, like are you kidding me? Some of the Earth, Wind & Fire horn section, people like Scott Mayo, unbelievable. Even the place where we filmed it. I’m a huge universal movie fan of the horror like Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff. Grand staircase of Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, laboratory of Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein, the laboratory of “Doc” Emmett Brown in Back to the Future. Jurassic Park. There’s so much magic on those walls, there’s a lot of magic and history in there and even the schedule was insane. You do the shows. You’d be practicing for the shows and then you’d have to do the iTunes and the dress rehearsals and the interviews. It was kind of funny, some of the other people were so tired. I was like man, try doing this and then changing kids’ diapers, you know. I feel like being a dad prepared me almost for not sleeping. (he laughed). It’s unbelievable. Truly, truly unbelievable.”
SFL Music: So, you have five albums and one EP?
David: There’s like eight I think and then a couple of singles. This new one coming out (“Look at Me”). There’s basically been something released since like 2007 or 2008 every year. Yeah, I just recently was checking my SoundCloud account, I just hit a million listens.
SFL Music: Wow!
David: “That’s kind of a cool milestone.”
SFL Music: Yes absolutely! Congratulations!
David: “Thank you. Yeah, it’s gone well. I didn’t maybe utilize the social media stuff to my full advantage because I feel like I’m kind of from a different time. Music’s my specialty, not technology, but SoundCloud though has like so many followers on it which is wild because it’s the music, you know what I mean? All it is music, just the music and it’s accessible to the world and it’s wild to just see like different people in Egypt in Canada and Germany. It’s just insane to see. It’s wow, look at this reach. It’s a wild platform. It’s such an interesting time to be a musician.
SFL Music: True. Online you’re tagged as “The Feelin” Where did that come from?
David: “Yeah, I think It’s mainly my music and maybe just approach to music and AKA, life. Like feel it. Lead with your heart. That’s always kind of the rule whenever we play, with the people we’re blessed to play with. Play what you feel. It just is like a feeling Nick ‘The Feelin’, hey it’s ‘The Feelin.’ What’s up’ Feelin?”
SFL Music: Is that from The Voice or where did that come from?
David: “The Feelin” came from Minnesota when I started playing out. I mean, I started playing out when I was in High School, but that was just Nick. Nick Mrozinski is my name, it’s my name still, but they called me ‘The Feelin’ when I moved back from Colorado. It’s funny, when I was on the show like my name’s Nicholas David Mrozinski and so they’d be like in the call, or we were getting ready to do the show, they’d be like “Nicholas Miir, Miranski,”it’s like, shoot, this is not going to go too well and I’m like “why don’t we just do Nicholas David?”
SFL Music: ah, so that’s how that came about?
David: “The only time I was ever really called Nicholas David was when I was in trouble from my mom and dad. So now it’s like I’m not in trouble anymore. I don’t think I am. I might be.” (He laughed).
SFL Music: That’s funny. What inspires your music, what inspires you when you write your songs?
David: “Life and listening to it. You know, my children laughing my wife, my grandparents, my life, seeing it. Just seeing life and listening to it really. Learning to see and hear with the eyes and my heart and then trying to convey that. Sometimes some of the songs we write are sad but, then its wild when you like then turn that sadness into music. It becomes medicine for other people, which is pretty cool and again what a privilege. So, I just try to stay open to that. Listen to life, listen to God. Listen to the spirit and listen to people and try to share. I think we’ve all been given gifts to use and to share and I feel that’s our job and our responsibility. My job is to write music, I got to listen. Yeah you gotta sing, but I think, even the thing in communication, right? What’s the big part of communicating everybody thinks it’s the talking. No, it’s not.”
SFL Music: right, exactly. It’s listening. You got it! So, what can people look forward to with this tour? With this Broward show?
David: “I’d just say it’s a night of, it’s an experience to say the least. It’s music from the heart, for the heart. We end up laughing, we end up crying. It’s wild. I do a ‘meet n great’ every night and it’s pretty funny, like we just do hugs and people come up with tears in their eyes. That’s the weird part, it’s like, how do you market that? What do you say to that? It’s something where you just come together for ninety minutes. It’s crazy. It’s such an exchange of energy. As much as people get psyched from music, I get psyched from people listening and sharing their stories. So many people come up crying saying, “my mom and I watched you on the show and it was a way for us to bond. My mom’s not with us anymore, but I felt her here tonight.” That’s pretty much echoed, but I mean, how do you say that in an interview thing? I don’t know, you know what I mean? I don’t mean to sound all mystical or whatever, but that’s a big part of what happens. With its solo, it’s fun because I bring some drum machines and a synth bass and then a vocal thing, so it’s basically, I become like four people and turn into a full band. So, on top of the stories and the tears and all that, it’s something. That’s what my grandfather used to say “Nick, it’s really something.”
SFL Music: You’re playing everything and singing right?
David: Yeah, yeah. I believe it’s an experience.
SFL Music: Yes, definitely looking forward to it. Is there anything else you’d like to add for people to know?
David: “Will be definitely in excitement and anticipation of the new album Yesterday’s Gone, coming out. I’ll be testing out a few of the new tracks. I’ll be visiting some of the hits from the familiar songs, renditions of The Voice tunes, that people grew to love, and also just yeah, just music from the heart for the heart. I’m just grateful for the opportunities really. Thank you, Lori.”
SFL Music: You’re welcome. South Florida fans will be grateful for this show of heartfelt, amazing music.