The Metropia Experience, a unique tri-city festival gearing up to launch its debut in the music festival town, Chicago, is blessed to have the talented and youthful, Nina Ferraro on their dazzling roster of local talent. A couple weeks ago, I was cordially invited to TME’s meet-n-greet with the all-local talent focused acts in line for the upcoming festival. The charming Ferarro was literaly the first person I met as I walked into the elegant and much talked about Pump Room’s private room.
In our informal meeting, I was very excited to learn that Ferarro is of Armenian descent and had the honor of meeting her mother, who accompanied her to the bar. I’m always excited to learn about new cultures and histories, and we postulated the possibility of someone from or team writing a piece about Armenian immigrant history in Chicago. She loved the idea and loved learning about our little publication as well. It’s always nice to put out some good vibes for homegrown talent. Feels like family.
So, it only seems fitting that Ferarro be the very first of Gozamos’ series on The Metropia Experience. I hope you enjoy her music and, please, check out her performance at the Hard Rock Café this week, 5/31.
So upon meeting you at the Pump Room for the Metropia Experience artist meet ‘n greet, I learned that you are of Armenian descent? Can you tell us a little about your family’s history and immigration to the U.S.?
Yes! My family on my mother’s side is 100% Armenian. So, my grandparents aren’t from Armenia, but my great grandparents immigrated during the genocide to America and my grandparents were born here. Both of my grandparents speak Armenian fluently and my grandma cooks pretty phenomenal Armenian food. I’ve always been interested in and conscious of my Armenian heritage. My middle name is Garoukian, which is my mother’s maiden name, so the conversation would always come up. It usually went something like: “Garoukian? What’s that?” “My mom’s maiden name, it’s Armenian.” “Armenian? What’s that?” So I always knew that being Armenian was something unique. It’s always been something I’m proud of.
You noted a genocide. Was your family effected by the political turmoil at all?
Well my great grandparents immigrated right in the midst of the genocide. They were able to flee the country and make it to America. It’s actually a pretty incredible story of how they escaped and made it over, my grandparents know the details of it… but it’s a good thing they did, or else I suppose I wouldn’t be here.
Tell us about your music, what inspires and keeps you motivated artistically?
There are a lot of things that keep me inspired. It’s always exciting exposing myself to other mediums of art… movies, plays, books, visual art, etc. There’s always that. But really music transcends everything, it’s one of those deep root things in everyone, like nature. And for me, it just feels right… so I guess just existing keeps me motivated.
Who are some of your inspirations and role models?
People in my life are role models to me for different reasons, like friends and family. As a musician, recently I’ve been listening to a lot of PJ Harvey and I think she’s awesome. It seems like she did what she wanted musically and made no apologies for it… which is something I strongly believe in.
How long have you been performing? And were you trained classically as a musician?
I started playing guitar when I was 8 or 9 and started songwriting around that time too. I’m not classically trained, it all kind of fell into place… when I was 12 I played once a week at this coffee shop in my hometown and I loved it. So I kept performing at different places and it snowballed. Now I perform with a band and I’m playing at the Hard Rock Café on May 31st.
You’re quite young, not that that’s a bad thing, but how do you feel being so fresh to the Chicago scene? Would you say you feel some advantages or disadvantages because of your age?
There are definitely both. But I mean, I can live with getting Xs drawn on my hands when I play at the Beat Kitchen to show that I’m an underage performer, and stuff like that. And I can’t get into bars. Other than that, it’s pretty much the same. To me, anyway!