Nicole Simone of Late July and Dreamgirl Whatever might have music in her blood. No really… She’s a distant cousin of Bruce Springsteen, and if that doesn’t give her automatic street cred, then her killer personality and unique look definitely do. We caught up with the California girl to find out what she loves about Toronto, the things she cherishes most and what’s next in her busy career.
Give us a snippet about you. What should people know?
I’m a singer-songwriter California girl of Sicilian and Irish descent, and a proud ginger. I have two projects, Late July and Dreamgirl Whatever. Late July is orchestral pop and Dreamgirl is electro synth pop music. I am currently doing artist relations for a new music rating app called Syzzle.me and listen to new music constantly. Aside from music, I’m passionate about animal rescue, particularly dogs (including my own dog Charlie). I’m a distant cousin of Bruce Springsteen, passionate about desserts (particularly churros and cake), I prefer eating with a knife over a fork and I feel spoons are overrated.
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
…it welcomed my grandparents and dad in the wake of World War II and gave them a home. I like living in a city that my dad spent his adolescence in. Driving past places where he and my grandparents used to live and work or where my mom first moved to Toronto to start her life is special to me. Toronto has been a great spring board for a lot of great people, and I feel my family is no exception. Having lived elsewhere for the first part of my life, I really appreciate having an understanding of my heritage in the city.
What are three things you simply cannot live without?
I could answer this by responding music, the internet and my phone, but that’d be as redundant as saying air, food and water. What I will say is:
– Dogs: This world would be a sad place without canine companions, I’d be lost without my rescue dog, Charlie.
– A body of water: I can’t live without a pond, lake or ocean near me. I need to know I’m close to water.
– Headphones: Music goes without saying, but I’d surely spiral without a proper pair of headphones.
What’s your favourite restaurant and why?
Playa Cabana Hacienda. I’ve been a big fan of the three Playa Cabana restaurants in Toronto, because up until the last couple years you couldn’t get that type of Latino based food here in Canada. The newest addition, Hacienda, has beautiful decor, lots of vintage electric signs, old wood, a big rooftop patio with great music. The food is authentic but with a fresh spin. They made me “churro poutine” (churros with dulce de leche and marshmallows) which was the perfect fusion of Southern California and Toronto for me. To boot, my father used to take me to the same spot when it was Vittorio’s, so there’s already a lot of history in that one location for me.
What’s your favourite drink/cocktail and where do you go to get it?
People always gasp when they find out I have never had a “drink” before, but when I go out my go-to is always ginger ale. Growing up I would visit Toronto from San Diego to see my grandparents. We’d have big Sicilian pasta dinners with my grandparents with these old blue glasses filled with ginger ale, which for whatever reason wasn’t available where I lived. So there’s a lot of fond memories with that drink, which you can get anywhere here. Second to that would be the root beer floats at C’est What, when I’m feeling a need for all things sugar.
Let’s get social for a mo’. How can people stay up-to-date with all your city-trotting?
Instagram or Twitter. You can hear my music at www.latejuly.bandcamp.com and www.dreamgirlwhatever.bandcamp.com.