Nic Maoury has had a passion for music since the age of seven. Listening to Nirvana and playing on his first guitars — a classical instrument and an old Stratocaster — Maoury fell in love. When he was 15, things got serious; since then, Maoury has been pursuing a career on his own, playing in bands, releasing LPs and advertising his music.
At the same time, Maoury is enrolled at James Madison University where he uses his creativity to study computer science alongside music. Maoury has kept both interests balanced while at school but shares the difficulties many people face when they’re juggling disciplines and trying to stay motivated on multiple fronts.
Find Your Grind spoke to Maoury about balancing college and his artistic process. His latest release is the EP The Lavender.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
How and when did your music transition into a serious career path for you?
When I was about 15 and started playing in metal bands. Not a lot of people know this about me, but I was actually in a post-hardcore band called Peruvial for a while, playing lots of shows with them. When I came to James Madison University, I started recording acoustic music.
What instruments or technology do you use to make your music?
My main instruments are guitar and piano. I actually started playing in bands as a drummer, but drums are loud, so I just started playing guitar in bands. I also play ukulele, bass guitar and mandolin. Tech-wise, I recorded The Lavender on an AT4040 Condenser microphone, which went through a Focusrite Scarlett interface. I then recorded on Reaper, Logic and Garageband on my Mac.
What were the steps of getting your album on Spotify?
It’s pretty simple. You go through a hosting site of your choice (I chose Tunecore so I could see analytics), and then submit your music for a reviewing process, and bam!
What do you study in school?
Computer science. It doesn’t relate to music at all, except that they are both creative —making music to express yourself versus building programs.
What/who motivates you with your music?
I motivate myself for my music, really. I mean, there are artists like Hozier or The 1975 that I look up to, but it’s all up to me to have that driven mindset.
Are there any challenges to pursuing this type of career?
There are so many challenges to pursuing this type of career. It’s hard to make it big, and you don’t really make enough money to live. But it’s all about doing what you love. At the end of the day, I’ll always have a guitar to go back to. Also, when you are a creator, you open yourself up to a lot of scrutiny. My music is a representation of how my soul interacts with my brain, and people sometimes forget that they listen to a musician’s heart and their purest form.
How do you balance college and trying to expand your music career?
It’s super hard balancing my music career and school. You have to go all in. That’s also the same with computer science. I mean, I work all day doing code, and then I work a lot of the nights writing music, marketing or recording. A huge thing I do is make advertisements and either put them around campus or allocate an hour or two from my day to go around to talk to people about my music and hand out flyers.
What’s your favorite part about being a performer?
Connecting to people in this crazy way where voice fluctuations, poetry and everything in between can act as this sort of movie of my soul. People often forget that even though it’s music, this stuff comes from deep within me, and I just think there’s something very pure about that. Also, people saying they know who you are/listen to your music is pretty cool.
What’s your end goal with your music?
It would probably be to learn as much as I can about recording, gear and creating an art that’s super extravagant. Yeah, acoustic music is OK, but have you ever listened to Tame Impala? Exactly. I also want to be able to comfortably live off my music because that would be so cool.
What advice do you have for young artists?
Be true to yourself. Do you for you. Balance your life well. And most importantly, remember that it is your life.
Why is it important for people to ‘find their grind’ in life?
If you have a grind then, you have a purpose. You become the purpose and have a grasp on your life and on who you are. Without this, you’d be left wondering what you’re supposed to do and who you’re supposed to be. Do what you love and stick to it. Whether it’s music, education, video games, reading … anything.