While laying up in at the Grand View Resort in Las Vegas Nevada, last October while distributing the latest issue of Filipino Soul Magazine, in the United States, I got an invite to see a group that was burning up Vegas Strip on Face Book, called: Bella’s Electric Strings, AKA “Femmes of Rock”, I called their Manager Michael Licata, unable to get backstage passes for the show or a ticket due to it being sold out, but still in oz’s over the group, “I just had to have them” on the Cover of my next issue. After sending over my Credentials and weeks later I was blessed to have an interview with Nina DiGregorio, the Founder and lead violinist.
Nina, a Yamaha string artist, is a classically trained violinist, bass player, writer/arranger, vocalist, and pianist, she has performed as a soloist and string arranger with the some of the biggest names in the business. She arranged and performed strings with The Killers for President Obama and on one of their recent albums. Television credits include the Latin Grammys with Shakira, being featured on the Beyonce “I am…Yours” DVD Other performance credits include Stevie Wonder, Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, Wayne Newton, Cee-lo Green, John Legend, Johnny Mathis, Smokey Robinson, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Donna Summer, Mary J Blige and Jay Z, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Marco Antonio Solis, and America’s Got Talent Season One with Bella Electric Strings, and many more. I don’t know about you but this girl “Got Soul”! (There is so much about this Extraordinary Artist and Group that it would be too easy to just “copy and paste” from the internet their website and this column would write itself. So, google the Group and Nina, like I did! Full disclosure).
The Group consisting of many beautiful girls each one bringing their own special talent and spin on the Rock Classics through Electric Strings. Christina Riegert, Violinist, Chandra Meibalane, Violinist, Carissa Werner Violini, Adrianna Thurber, Violinist, Zuzana Engererova, Celist, Ginny Luke Vocals & Violin, Marlo Zemartis. Violinist, and Lacy Rostyak, Violinist, Krista Solars, Violinist, Leah Metzler, Cellist, Brittany Cotto, Violinist. Plaing the hell out of songs from music of AC/DC, ELO, Queen, LED Zeppelin, The Eagles, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Metallica, David Bowie, Pink Floyd and more. The Boys in the Band consist of Season Musicians like Michael Licata, Drummer/Manager Director of Sales & Marketing (Who made this interview possible) Michael Kelly Bass, John Wedemeyer Guitar, David King Lead technician/Stage manager, Brody Dolyniuk Technical Director, Douglas Tayor Technician/Consiguere, Jason Tanzer Studio Production/Engineering/Creative.
As Ed McMahon, of the Johnny Carson, Show Would Say: Heeerrreeee Nina!
FS: First let me say that you guys rock! I wish nothing but sweet success to all of you and your time has come
Nina: Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me! FS: Where are you from?
Nina: I grew up in a small historic village in western New York called Lewiston. It is not far from Niagara Falls/ Buffalo. FS: Before we go to where you are today lets go back. I once was on the Board of New York Islip Arts Council, we were the only Organization to host the New York Philharmonic. I got a chance to interview 4 of the Artists and when I ask them what made them pick up an instrument. They all answered “My Mother Made Me Do It” what was your reason?
Nina: My first time playing an instrument, I was just a baby. My mom used to practice piano at home as a hobby, and I would push her out of the way to play. She said I was picking out tunes by 2-3 years old. FS: The violin is concerned a nerdy instrument, why the violin?
Nina: I wanted to play the saxophone, but the band director told me I was too small and wouldn’t be able to carry it to the bus. He suggested the violin because it was lighter. FS: Can you tell us about your first public recital what was that like for you and the genre of music you played
Nina: I performed Viotti concerto at 14 years old with the Niagara Symphony Orchestra. It was my first solo public performance of substance. FS: I assume you were in a school band can you they us when you joined your first group and that first paid gig special to every starting out artist?