by Natalia Radcliffe
September 1, 2013. Lisa Marie Presley was performing at the El Rey Theater in California.
The brother and sister from Castaic were just ordinary fans in the crowd like everyone else. That is, until Presley recognized them from YouTube and invited them up on stage to perform.
In that moment, Nicole and Scotty Lomaglio knew what career to pursue.
“We were so taken aback and it was just the most amazing thing and she gave us the most amazing support at the time and we thought to ourselves, ‘This is it. This is what we want to do,’” said Scotty.
Nicole, 21, and Scotty, 17, have been in the music industry for more than five years. They currently write, produce, record, edit and mix their own songs. Their story is instructive to others who dream of a career in music.
“You can find studios, but they charge way too much for your time and it’s just a whole hassle,” Scotty said. “So we decided to just build our own studio.”
This studio only consists of a few square feet in their house, but that does not bother them in the slightest.
By day, it is a typical family room. A big long couch separates this room from the kitchen. A coffee table sits in front of the couch, and a computer rests on a small desk in a corner under a window.
By night, the simple family room is turned into a recording studio. The table is moved out of the way, headphones are put on, and a mic is pulled out. The siblings had always known they wanted to make music.
Nicole had a passion for writing and singing, and in kindergarten she could be found writing short stories or poems. Her house was often filled with the sound of the latest song stuck in her head.
At age 11, Scotty signed up for guitar lessons. He picked it up so fast he could play almost any song in no time. His teacher ended up recommending that he perform at open mics. There was a slight problem, however.
“I needed someone to help me sing, because I’m not a good singer, I can only play,” Scotty said with a smile. “So Nicole, my sister, suggested that we become a duo, and she can sing and I can play guitar.”
That arrangement turned out to be successful, and the siblings were finding themselves considering the possibility of music as a career.
They created a YouTube channel in August of 2013 featuring covers of different songs, including those of Lisa Marie Presley. When they went to see her perform at the El Rey Theater, she invited them on stage to perform with her. It was in that moment they knew this is what they wanted to do.
After that day, they immersed themselves in the music industry and have never looked back.
“It was fairly easy based on their talent and abilities,” said Ursula Lomaglio, Nicole and Scotty’s mother. “I could tell they had the talent to do it.”
The road has not been smooth, but the siblings have no regrets.
“There were people who were super encouraging and super supportive and then people who were negative about the idea of us being young,” said Nicole.
“I’m happier to be older now, because I feel like we are taken more seriously, but I wouldn’t have wanted to spend our teenage years any other way, because playing is what we love to do.”
They released their first EP, Unchartered Waters, in 2014. This was the first time the duo used a recording studio, as they had a friend who owned one.
“It didn’t take very long, maybe like a month, to narrow down which songs we wanted to include,” said Nicole.
They eventually chose three songs: The Rise of the Storm, Barefoot Traveler, and Stricken.
“I felt these songs could resonate with people,” said Nicole. All three are uplifting and positive, meant to brighten people’s days and provide hope in darkness.
The following years were spent updating their YouTube channel with new covers, performing at different venues and meeting as many people as they could within the business.
Nicole also attended College of the Canyons where she took four classes, along with her workload as a homeschooler. The classes included writing for journalism, music publishing, playing the piano and vocal health.
“This was right when Scotty and I started playing live and actively pursuing a career in music. I wanted to gain some of my own perspective and knowledge in a classroom setting and learn some tricks for the business side and then for the performance side,” said Nicole.
She had to drop out early, however, as the workload from her classes, plus her homeschool curriculum, in addition to playing at shows and writing songs, proved to be too much. Even though she did not finish the classes, she did gain knowledge from them, skills she could use in furthering her career.
Their newest single, #Queen, was released on October 5, 2018. It was based on one of Nicole’s past relationships.
“I feel like a lot of girls nowadays sadly don’t have the confidence that should be instilled within them to say what they want and what they expect out of relationships and how they expect be treated with respect,” said Nicole. “I kind of wanted to write a female empowerment anthem that focuses on self-confidence and reminding anyone that they should feel and be treated like royalty.”
“We kind of wanted it to be more of a bad-ass song, honestly,” said Scotty.
Musically, they were inspired by the sounds of trip-op music, “which is halfway between hip-hop and trap, and we thought, ‘this is such a cool genre, can we write a song like this?’” said Scotty.
The song came together fast. Nicole wrote the lyrics in the span of one night, and when it came time to record and produce, the process only took one week.
“Every time Nicole would sing a lyric, I would try to add an element musically that would emphasize what she was singing,” said Scotty. “I added a whole bunch of sound effects, like crashes and wind sounds, just to accompany the lyrics.”
The siblings have had a busy year performing at different venues. The two that stood out most were their performance in Simi Valley for a Fourth of July celebration and the House of Blues in late October. They love the attentive crowds and engaging the audience while they are performing.
However, their career does not just consist of performing. It takes work to come up with the lyrics and music of a song.
Nicole is the one in charge of coming up with lyrics. Inspiration hits anywhere, anytime.
“Usually, it involves being out in fresh air, hiking, or being on the beach. I’ll get hit with a random line and I’ll pull out my phone and jot it down,” said Nicole. “Those are the spontaneous moments when inspiration just hits you like while you are having a cup of coffee. If I actively sit down and go ‘I’m going to write a song,’ I will jot out a short story first, to lay the foundation, and then pool lines from that and turn them into lyrics.”
For Scotty, he taught himself production, editing and mixing. The internet was his source of knowledge.
“I started looking up on YouTube all these tutorials,” said Scotty. “I spent a good chunk of my time at the end of 2015 to the beginning of 2016 learning how to record, produce, mix and master.”
Nicole and Scotty are planning on releasing their next single, Can Be Beautiful, in December.
Five years have passed from the days of the El Rey Theater, to performing at the House of Blues.
“A lot of iconic bands played at the House of Blues,” said Nicole, “either in their early years or when they are already established. It’s like one of those milestone venues.”
October was their second time playing there, and they absolutely loved the experience. Compared to the crowd of 20,000 at the Simi Valley fireworks show where they had preformed earlier in the year, the crowd of 200 seemed downright small.
But just as there was something special in performing in front of thousands of people, so there was something special with the intimacy of performing in front of hundreds.
“While we were playing #Queen, I taught the audience how to sing the chorus,” Nicole remembered. “The people in the front were dancing and singing along, even the guys. People sitting down at tables were even coming up to dance. It was the most fun, interactive experience we had with an audience.”
From rags to riches. This sibling music duo are now living their dream. “I feel like every day we accomplish another goal of ours,” said Nicole. “Every day I feel fulfilled.”