Nicky Egan on Side Hustles and the Key to a Lasting Career
By Mayer Danzig
Soul singer and songwriter Nicky Egan talks about working in a NYC hat shop and earning a high pressure reputation as a Yelp guru from her band mates.
Tell us about your tour vehicle.
I’ve had the pleasure of touring in everything from a caravan of old station wagons and Priuses, to a borrowed Astro van, to a rental cargo van. I don’t own a designated tour vehicle so it’s always slightly stressful figuring out the most feasible plan of action. The last tour I did in December, I’d just gotten into a car accident in my Mazda Sport a week before tour, and whispered to the lady setting up my temporary rental, ‘Can you by chance get a minivan?!’ She managed to get me a minivan! So it actually worked out for the better, haha. Shoutout to Carmina at Cartek Collision Body Shop for unknowingly providing me with a tour van!
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
I’m somewhat of a Yelp guru, it’s actually become a bit of a high pressure reputation from my bandmates…but I just try to do some research to find places with healthy options, which isn’t always easy. I’m also a huge foodie, so part of the fun of traveling to different places is trying the food that’s specific to the area. For balance, if you can find co-ops, or healthy markets on the way, or put healthy/cheap items in your rider like fruit, avadacos, bread & peanut butter for quick meals, that helps maintain some healthiness and saves some cash on the road.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
I play keys live, so breaking strings is fortunately not really an issue for me! I did play in a snowstorm outside one time in Nebraska though and had my keyboard fly off the stage from the wind, that was terrifying! Instrument repairs are no fun.
Where do you rehearse?
I’ve got a shared space in a huge building in LA. The owner has had it for 20 years, its rent controlled and shared by about 7 bands, but used pretty sparingly, so my costs manage to stay low and I can still get in there a decent amount when I need to play with my full band. At home, I’ve turned my bigger closet into a small workstation space, so I write and practice on my own in my little nook at home. When you live in a small space, and need a designated practice/workspace, you have to get creative!
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
I remember two songs I wrote called, ‘Goodbyes’ and ‘Good Things Are Yet to Come’, when I was graduating Middle School and going into High School. I don’t have the lyrics but as you can imagine, with leaving middle school being as traumatic as it is, hormones raging, the songs were extremely dramatic lyrically.
Describe your first gig.