Interview with Nicole Dennis
She’s still in her mid-20s, but this week’s interviewee has already landed her dream role in one of the West End’s biggest musicals, performed for – and duetted with – one of her idols on national television, and put on her own solo show which sold out at Brasserie Zedel. I know right?! It’s enough to make you want to crawl back into bed for a year just thinking about it. You might know her from The Voice, but Nicole Dennis has heaps more going on right now. We sat down with her to find out a little more.
1) You’re having quite a year so far in 2019! Can you tell us a little more about how you got to here? Have you always loved singing?
2019 is already pretty crazy! I like to say that singing has always been my first memory in life. The last 3 years have been such a whirlwind with musical theatre, that I really wanted to go back to my music roots and explore that side of my career. I started off by going to regular open auditions and that’s how I got my start in the industry.
2) What made you choose “Never Enough”, from The Greatest Showman for your audition for The Voice?
It’s no lie that I’m obsessed with the film, so as soon as I thought about auditioning it was the first song that came into my head as a possible audition song. It’s such a freeing song emotionally, vocally and lyrically.
3) You’ve been on several West End stages already – did they prepare you for being on TV, or is it totally different?
It’s a completely different ball game! Different vibe, different atmosphere. I love it! Being on the West End prepared me for performing in front of big crowds, but TV feels completely different.
4) What would your dream duet with Jennifer Hudson be? Or has performing “And I Am Telling You”, from Dreamgirls already ticked that box?
Singing that song with Jennifer ticked a lot of boxes in my life but I would love to sing other things with her. I would love to write with her, actually. Her own music is very 80s inspired and that’s totally my vibe!
5) You have just had your first solo show at Brasserie Zédel – and it was sold out! How was that?
My first concert was the craziest experience. There were so many hurdles leading up to it that when it came to the actual show, I decided to present myself as my most authentic self - so I threw on my Doc Martens and a baggy jumper and that was it. I was surrounded by so much love and I couldn’t have asked for a better first show.
6) With money being cut from theatres and arts programs across the country, what advice would you give other young people who want to go into music or theatre but are struggling finding places to train?
It’s terrifying for a young person when you’re unable to train or study because of how expensive schools are. All I can say is create opportunities. If the opportunities out there are out of reach, then create art and build your own path. That’s exactly what I did. I didn’t get into drama school and even if I was to now, I wouldn’t be able to afford it - so I created my own path. It’s 10000% doable as long as you have passion.
7) What is the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given? And what is the best?
The worst piece advice I was ever given was that I had to lose weight to get into the industry. Absolute bullshit, right? Art doesn’t come in one form so why should an artist? And the best piece of advice I ever got was from Sierra Boggess, who said “you have nothing to prove, only to share.”
8) Where would you like to be in 5 years? Do you think you’ll stay in musical theatre?
Ahhhhhh, I can’t even think about what I want to have for lunch today let alone 5 years! I’m teaching myself not to plan the future and that’s going well so far. I like to take each day as it comes and remain open minded to trying different things.
9) Do you have a dream role you’d love to play?
Effie White in Dreamgirls was always my dream role so now I’ve done that my mind has just opened to so many possibilities! I’ve said this for years, and I’ll keep saying it, I am desperate for there to be a gender-blind version of Spring Awakening, and I want to play Moritz!
10) What’s next for you? Have you got any more solo shows in the pipeline, or will we have to content ourselves with seeing you on our TV screens for the next few months?
I’m joining the original London cast of Waitress! I’m so excited, I’ve been a fan of Sara Bareilles (who wrote the music) for years and now I get to sing her music every night. And I’m also excited for what The Voice has in store. So far, 2019 is a dream come true!
You can catch Nicole on your screens in The Voice, but keep an eye out for this lady- she is going places.