Piedmont Presents: Positive, Productive People
How is that for a daily dose of alliteration?
We conducted this interview prior to the recent events around injustice and inequality in our country. Martin Luther King once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We at Piedmont stand behind our team members, clients, and friends in the hope this brings about much-needed change.
This will be part of an ongoing series, as our consultants told us people don’t really want to read about insurance in our newsletters. So we decided to put our efforts towards shining a light on friends of ours that are doing good things. We feel that especially now, more than ever, we could all use some positive vibes and inspiration.
Hope you enjoy it and please let us know what you think.
I’ve known Nick for about 7 years now and our families have become good friends. From dinners to kids birthday parties and our wives taking trips up to their family home in Highlands, N.C., we always have a great time, a lot of laughs, and always learn something new.
Nick grew up in Indiana, attended Indiana University, and started the band Y-O-U with his buddy since the fourth grade, Pete Olson. If you want more background on their journey please check out their About page as well as this recent article in Rolling Stone.
Piedmont Insurance Brokerage Interview with Nick
PIB: What are some things outside the band we should know about?
NN: I own Venkman’s and have an amazing wife Elliott, two kids Emmylou and Bowie, and Jetson the family mascot/labradoodle. I like to hike and I own one share of the Green Bay Packers.
PIB: What have you been focusing on and filling your days with since the pandemic disrupted our lives and businesses?
NN: I’ve been working a lot: preparing my one-man streaming show is like a new job in and of itself. These yacht rock tunes weren’t meant to be performed in a solo acoustic setting – they were recorded by large ensembles of some of the finest musicians of the era, and our 9-person recreation of them in our usual show reflects that. Retro-fitting them to a solo show has been a great challenge. Plus there are all the technical aspects of creating a good-looking and sounding show completely autonomously. I’ve been writing a lot of new songs and churning out some cool new video content. My sister and I are working on a socially distant video for our cover of “Our House” right now that I think is rad if I do say so myself. Also, I have been gardening with my wife, swinging with my kids in the backyard, cooking a lot of great new recipes, and drinking plenty of Tropicalia and eating gummies.
PIB: How have you changed or pivoted your businesses?
NN: Our business – PleaseRock (the company that runs Yacht Rock Revue, Schooner, etc.) and Venkman’s (our music venue/restaurant in O4W) have both completely shut down. We were on tour in California when they started to lock things down out there, and we got cut off about a quarter of the way through the tour supporting our new album Hot Dads in Tight Jeans. We had just made the Billboard charts and had a feature article in Rolling Stone for the first time, so it was heartbreaking to see this thing we had worked so hard on for so long get cut short so abruptly. But in the grand scheme of what’s going on, can I really be so vain as to care about that in the face of this worldwide crisis? As far as pivoting, both of our businesses are built on people gathering together and sharing good vibes – and that’s just not possible right now. We’re doing some streaming stuff, but a full pivot just doesn’t seem viable. At least we haven’t found that way forward yet. If this keeps up for a couple of years, I may have a different career or occupation! I don’t think it will come to that, and I am manifesting it doesn’t.
PIB: What has been a pleasant surprise (or a positive) amidst everything going on?
NN: I would have been on tour this spring and missing Bowie’s first steps and first words. I’ve developed a bond with my kids and strengthened my bond with El in a way that never would have been possible in my former career trajectory. I would never have had this extended period at home.
PIB: Is there a new skill or something you have learned that you will carry forward when things return to normal?
NN: My default mindset is that if I work hard enough – if I just keep grinding – that I can find a solution to every problem. I’ve learned an important lesson in humility these last few months, in that no amount of incremental effort can change my situation. Trying to find that zen place, trying to ride that wave, see the river of thoughts flowing below me without judging them… however you want to describe it, I’m obviously still learning but this situation has been a demanding teacher on a daily basis.
PIB: Anything else you would like to add?
NN: My hair is real.