Meet the Artist: Nisto McLean

Name: Nisto McLean

City: Edmonton

Genre: Psychedelic folk-rock

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A bit about myself:

I’m a Cree-Metis singer-songwriter from remote northern Alberta. I just recently moved to Edmonton to start getting into music.

Influences:

My hometown is a really musical community, so I’ve always been surrounded by it. Number 1 is Waylon Jennings, introduced to me by my step-father while driving the back roads of my hometown. That pretty much broke down the doors for me to early blues, folk and classic 70s outlaw country and everything in between. Jack White (the White Stripes), Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, Shooter Jennings, Neil Young, Ryan Adams, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Tyler Childers, Sturgill Simpson, Ghostkeeper, Cindy Paul, George Leach, and Cree drum song. This list doesn’t really end, so I’ll just stop here.

The first album I bought:

AC/DC’s High Voltage. That album was my introduction to rock music and completely blew my mind. Every single track was unique and full of energy and soul. Bon Scott and Angus Young fit like lamb and tuna fish.

The first concert I went to:

Shooter Jennings and the 357s when I was about 15 years old. My cousins borrowed a van and we traveled 14 hours to Camrose, Alberta, just to see his 45-minute set at Big Valley Jamboree and left. It was completely worth it.

The last concert I went to:

A Mexican death metal band called Brujeria.

The last song I listened to:

Denim and Diamonds by Shooter Jennings.

My favourite song of all time:

Into the Void by Black Sabbath.

The one song I wish I’d written: 

Powderfinger (acoustic version) by Neil Young.

My dream gig:

The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

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Myself in three words:

Bushed Metis dude.

Best piece of advice I’ve ever received:

I was doing an open mic after a break from performing. The guy before me was still on stage and asked how I was feeling. I replied, “I’m s****** bricks. He says, “Good. You know what’s great about s****** bricks? It’s energy. So, rather than thinking about what they think of you, channel that energy into your song. You’ll be that much better.” I have an anxiety disorder, so this was great news.

Beatles or Rolling Stones:

Both.

What I do to pay the bills:

Serve coffee with mad skill.

When I’m not making music, I’m …

Listening to music, reading random articles on the Internet, shooting photos on an old 35mm camera,  or checking out nature trails in the city.

Something people would be surprised to learn about me:

I wanted to be rapper when I was young. I heard Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP way too early.

What I’m currently working on: 

Writing new songs for a full album and a band. I’d also like to shoot videos for Los Sin Dios and Moths.

If my life were a song, the title would be …

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