Meet Courtney Nord. I discovered her music through Instagram and instantly fell in love with her authenticity and her heartfelt vibe, not to mention her stunning voice. Courtney's pursuit of her dream embodies the skullcoasting concept of following your heart over all else and using the power of your mind to overcome your fears.
Amy Wilhelm: There are so many naysayers when it comes to making it in the music industry. What do you do to shut out the "noise" and listen to your heart?
Courtney Nord: Music has always been something I've done in my own private inner sanctum and in my mind. If I could make something that speaks deepest to myself and put all my best effort into making it, then it was always good enough, which was my success.
I felt like if it evoked enough emotion in myself then it would hit the right people and maybe they could gain the same sense of release as I had when I was making it. When I think about "making it" in the industry and finding my own steady income in my own way, I think to myself if I could be totally me and express all I have overcome and mix in my own ingenuity in marketing and be consistent enough and not let success get to my head or failure get to my heart then I'll always be on the path to success.
If my music and community can hold authentic space to myself and I can continue to branch out to new people and learn new tactics, then I can find what works for me and my audience.
I feel like with any art and especially music, there is a very unique fingerprint for each audience and where they will be willing to help pay you out for your talent.
I found the NFT market to be more lucrative in my specific craft than the traditional merch and show tactics. The gift of social media has made it easy to connect and understand how my audience might want to support me. It takes branching into new ideas and testing ways out to see what works for each artist, and with time and creativity, I'll find out what works for me.
AW: How do you use the pain of the past in a positive way?
CN: There really isn't any support for me to make music in my immediate environment and family life, and it's a big push. I was always taught that I needed to get a degree to be successful. I needed to work for someone else and forfeit my creativity to be happy.
I have always been the black sheep of the family and learned at a young age to turn from others' opinions on who I should be and what I should do.
The drive to prove my self-worth and ability has been what has pushed me as far as I am today. I would rather die being me than die being accepted. Within the last year, I learned that as a single mom options are limited, childcare is expensive, and minimum wage jobs take away from my time with my kid and wouldn't even cover child care costs.
Everything seems nearly impossible to achieve with my circumstances, so why not go after what I want most and set an example of commitment and devotion to my kid?
AW: What's your best advice for someone going through a hard time?
CN: To turn inward, journal, and reflect on what has made you most happy – what you loved as a kid before adulthood might have created dissonance between you and your passions. Sometimes we forget that life is for living. It's a journey back to the self we let life change.
It's a journey of discovery, and we need to not judge however it may show up and always be forgiving, genuine, and true to ourselves above all.
AW: You've been writing and creating music for years. What made you decide NOW was the time to go back to your soul's passion?
CN: I was stuck at a dead-end in my life as everything wasn't working out how I wanted it too and I became very depressed. No matter what I did, I wasn't happy. I was stuck in a place I didn't want to be, and I couldn't be myself. My music has set an atmosphere for me to finally find that again.
Social media has helped me see that no matter what others around me may think there is still a carvable path out of the chaos and into an environment of love and acceptance. I don't have to feel alone. I strongly believe that if I keep at it and strive towards my personal bests, I'll keep seeing beauty and joy in the world around me and feel a sense of community when I'm not able to have one directly around me at the moment.
My upcoming project NOSTALGIA IN WONDERLAND is an ode to my freedom and a newfound perspective on life. "I am the sky, I am the sea, nothing can touch me" from my song Nothing Can Touch Me expresses that we are never alone or invaluable. Our existence alone is a gift, and we already have all the love and strength we need to keep going. I started writing at a very young age when I was bullied as a child and always found writing as a sanctuary of self.