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Vida Más Simple – Nil Lara

Posted in Songs I'm Grateful For 2009 | 2 Comments »

Vida Más Simple by Nil Lara is only one song of many favorites of mine. You see, Nil Lara is the songwriter who inspired me to become a songwriter in the first place. This is one of those memories that I’ll never forget, and always be grateful for.

On a Monday night, many years ago, I went to the now-defunct Washington Square club on South Miami Beach. I was responding to an ad from another songwriter looking for a back up singer. I had been singing back up with another band that was starting to break up, and I was looking for my next gig. Monday night was open mic night at Washington Square, but there was one featured act of the night, around midnight. Nil Lara was the featured songwriter of the evening. He was accompanied by a keyboard player, while he sang and played a Cuban tres, a six stringed instrument, which is tuned to play three notes.

Nil sang in English and Spanish, and every song touched me to the core. By the time his mini-set was over, the entire audience was under his spell. What’s more, I knew that I didn’t want to just sing songs. I wanted to write them too. I wanted to write songs that touched people, and reached their core. I wanted to use music to tell stories. I was never quite the same after I saw him perform that night.

Afterward, I couldn’t bring myself to speak to him after the gig. Instead, I introduced myself to his keyboard player, Albert Sterling Menendez, who seemed a lot safer to approach. Albert later challenged me to write my first song, and became my first co-writer. Eventually I got to know Nil, and even sang on one of his demos. More importantly, he became one of my first musical mentors by example.

As we both lived in Miami (and even shared a keyboard player), I had many opportunities to be inspired by him. He is the songwriter for “My First Child”, which I’ve recorded twice, and performed many times. Today’s song “Vida Más Simple” (Roughly translated, means “Life Was More Simple Then”) is featured in an incomplete video below, but it gives you a taste of Nil’s gift to inspire.

I am so grateful to Nil Lara for just being himself, and showing how one person can touch an entire room.

Nil – Gracias por todos. Vaya con Dios.

Related Post:
Tipsy As I Write This


Vida Más Simple – Nil Lara (incomplete)

In honor of Thanksgiving, throughout November 2009 I’ll be posting blogs dedicated to some of my favorite songs. If you happen to find my website via a Google search of one of these songs, there is a very good chance that you’ll like my music too. For a free MP3 of my music, just sign up below for my newsletter, The Soulflower. Enjoy!


2 Responses to “Vida Más Simple – Nil Lara”

  1. DOmlor Says:

    I remember clearly sitting on my couch and channel surfing and stumbling upon a Live Nil Lara Concert on soundstage or Austin City Limits or something and I was mesmerized. He had a drummer and a bass player and he was playing mostly electric but all I could think was “shit, that is the sound that I always wanted”. I wanted to write simple, powerful, emotional songs like everyone he played on that show. I immediatly went on Itunes and picked up his self titled CD and proceeded to play it non stop for the next few months. I don’t speak spanish so I had one of my co-workers translate all the spanish lyrics for me. I wish I could see him preform more both live and on TV.
    DJO

  2. Carla Says:

    David – Ah, you understand!!! Nil Lara has such a power in his songwriting and performance that just lights us up! I really believe that I’d still be a backup singer had I never seen him live. I love his acoustic performances most of all, as that was how I first saw him, although I’m grateful to have seen him play hundreds of times back when I lived in Miami. I wish I had more videos of his to share.

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