Nicole Collett wanted to be part of a band. Now, hundreds of shows and thousands of songs later, the lead singer of Nickel and Dimes looks forward to playing at the Mahomet Parks and Recreation’s Summer Concert Series on August 10 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Barber Park.
“Playing shows in my hometown is so much fun,” Collett said. “It’s a chance to see so many people I grew up with and haven’t seen in a while.”
The band came together as Nicole approached her dad, Garry, about wanting to perform. Garry, who has performed in other bands, reached out to guitarist Dave Cooper to perform with them. Through auditions, drummer Ron Phelps and bassist Gary Wallace joined the band.
“Playing with these guys is terrific and humbling,” Nicole said. “I’ve known Dave since I was four, Ron since I was born, and it feels like I’ve known Gary Wallace forever. They have all played music for years beyond my age, and each one of them is talented in different ways. They all bring something special from style, composition and personality.”
Nicole also enjoys spending five nights a week learning the ins and outs of the music industry from her dad. Nicole said she has grown through her dad’s constructive criticism and protection over the years.
“It doesn’t matter what is happening in our lives, there are wonderful moments during songs where we look at each other and do some move, or facial expression; it’s always the same part, same line in the same song,” she said. “In those moments it doesn’t matter what’s happening off-stage in our lives. I know everything is okay.”
In the early days of performing, the band struggled to find a name until Garry began referring to Nicole in her childhood nickname, “Nickel” on stage. While Nicole was embarrassed at first, it now gives her a sense of pride.
Nickel and Dimes performs their original and cover set between three and five nights a week. During the summer they often play up to six shows in five days with private parties and festivals.
While the band prides itself on putting their own spin on a wide variety of popular covers, Nicole said she uses her everyday emotion as inspiration for the songs she writes. As Cooper puts music to her words, the full band makes everything come to life.
Their shows also includes old and new country, classic rock, pop and Top 40 songs.
“We have a loose set list so we can determine what works best for that moment, depending on what the audience enjoys and what they like to dance to,” Nicole said. “Performing is what keeps me going in this demanding schedule we have. I feed off the energy of the audience. A positive reaction to something I’ve sang is the best feeling in the world, and something that can’t be recreated in any other way.”
The MPRD Summer Concert Series will also feature HFMK, Ice Daddy’s C&C Kitchen, the Snack Shack and TK’s Cheesesteaks available for purchase.