Musicians battle it out in Basalt
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Nina Toma, 17, doesn’t know how to exactly explain her love of music. Yet her caring for it is evident in her low, quiet voice.
For more than a decade, the Yampah Mountain High School student has been playing piano. In recent years, she’s picked up guitar and drums, to boot. For her, music is more than just an avenue to convey emotion, she said. It’s a way to bond with her family. Often, she plays alongside her nieces, who are 12 and 6. Like her, both girls learned instruments by ear.
This Saturday, Toma will be performing for a slightly different audience. Making her Battle of the Bands debut, she’ll be offering up her wordless, plugged-in pieces “Forever Love” and “Summer.”
What first drew you to music? “I don’t really know. I just seem to think that music is really fascinating. It allows you to express yourself in ways I can’t even explain.”
In the beginning, who got you involved in it? “I got myself started in it, actually.”
“For me, music is a way to escape the world. I started to think of what I wanted to become when I was 12, and that influenced me to become more productive in my music and what I do with my music. It’s like a comfort thing. With being adopted, I never knew my birth parents. I think about them a lot.”
Describe your work. “It all depends on what kind of mood I’m in and how I’m feeling. If I’m happy, I’ll write a happy song, and if I’m sad, I’ll write a sad song.”
What are you trying to say with your songs? “I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t be afraid to be yourself. It really doesn’t work to be afraid to be yourself.”
“And I’m saying that every kid and every teenager and every adult has the power to be themselves and nobody can control them.”
What’s your favorite song? “‘Empty’ by Click 5. It has to be my most favorite song I’ve ever heard. It’s the song I listen to when I’m feeling sad. It’s the song I play when I need to get emotional, but I can’t. It’s always there for me. It’s kind of like my best friend song. I can really relate to it in so many ways.”
Any music heroes? “I’d have to say John Lennon.”
“When you listen to his songs, you get a sense he’s expressing his sexuality through his songs. And, in some senses, that’s what I do.”
How does playing music make you feel? “I really don’t know how to explain it. It’s like I get involved in making music, and I get lost in my own little world.”
“It’s just a great feeling when you complete something that nobody else could ever think of.”
Are you nervous about Saturday’s competition? “Oh yeah, I’m feeling really nervous, but excited at the same time.”
Do you have dreams for your musical future? “Um, yeah. My mom’s friend has a recording studio, and he wants to take me in and record a CD, and hopefully that’s where my music career will start.”
What keeps you playing? “I think it’s just coming from my interest of when you put sound and notes together, what they sound like. It’s a curiosity, really. I’m really curious. I am.”
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Since Colorado’s not yet in the clear of the global pandemic, the Garfield School District Re-2 is heading into next year with a relatively frugal budget.