Nico picked up the guitar when he was 13. Inspired by John Mayer, BB King, and U2, he began playing at church multiple times a week – later exploring genres like jazz and folk – and decided to pursue music full-time as a session musician in Southern California.
Nico is at home both on stage and in the recording studio. Informed by years of experience in diverse settings, sensitivity to both the song and his fellow musicians characterizes his session work.
When performing in the LA/OC area, Nico’s conversational, sophisticated, and bluesy sound – reminiscent of Kenny Burrell, Adam Levy, John Scofield, and Julian Lage – is refreshingly tasteful.
Nico frequently performs in a solo setting, with original arrangements reminiscent of Jimmy Wyble and Charlie Hunter, that draw inspiration from classical counterpoint.
Notably, Nico has performed or worked with…
- Billy Cobham: jazz drummer (Miles Davis, Mahavishnu Orchestra)
- Dave Beyer: rock drummer (Loggins and Messina, Melissa Etheridge, Christopher Cross, Michael McDonald)
- Adam Levy: guitarist/songwriter (Tracy Chapman, Norah Jones)
- JoLi: songwriting duo (“Everything Is Awesome!!!” from the LEGO Movie) @ Comic-Con Palm Springs
- Neonomora: Indonesian singer/songwriter @ A&R Worldwide MUSEXPO2017
- Kira Morrison: jazz/pop vocalist
Nico owes much of his progress to those who mentored and taught him; in turn, he wants to give back.
As a result, he’s been teaching musicians of all ages, instruments, skill levels, and genres for the past 5 years, at local music schools and in his home studio. His teaching emphasizes conversation, practical music theory/technique, and development of the student’s ear. The goal is a well-rounded, confident, and performance-ready musician with a growing appreciation for the artform.
Nico received an Associates of Arts Degree in Guitar Performance from the Los Angeles College of Music; while studying under teachers like Brad Rabuchin (Ray Charles) and Russ Miller (Tina Turner), he served as an official school tutor for all guitar technique and theory levels, becoming a go-to resource among his peers for practice strategies and useful fundamentals.
Nico is currently completing his Bachelor’s degree at Concordia University in Irvine, CA, where he is a member of the Americana Ensemble, the Commercial Music Ensemble, the Jazz Orchestra, the Men’s Chorus, and the Monday chapel band. He also joined the Wind Orchestra and Sinfonietta on Leonard Bernstein’s Slava! and selections of Mass for Bernstein’s 100th birthday. He served as a departmental tutor for music subjects.
Nico’s played many instruments – guitar, bass, drums, clarinet, trombone, alto saxophone, vocals, ocarina, and cello, among others – and leverages this experience as a music director. He creatively arranges songs to support the melody and lyrics.
Playing in church music teams for over 10 years – from worship nights to international missions – has informed Nico of many common musical, interpersonal, and spiritual pitfalls. He strives to provide practical training, solid resources, and thoughtful communication for each musician.
On the weekends, Nico serves as music director at Center Church in Irvine, CA – an Acts 29 church – where he leads the music team in telling the Gospel story, in a style fusing jazz, folk, Americana, funk, rock, and world fusion. He has also served with Saddleback Anaheim, music directing – and playing at – three Easter services at the Angel Stadium in 2018.
Before he was a musician, Nico was already writing; his style is intuitive, insightful, and informative. His favorite topics are music and theology; their overlap sheds light on human purpose, the nature of conversation, and sound doctrine.
Nico is capable of writing content in various styles, from journalistic news briefs to theological articles. In 2017, he was given the opportunity to deliver the Christmas Eve sermon at Center Church in Irvine, CA.