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  • Writer's pictureDean Nelson

Nina's Journey

Updated: Jan 14, 2020

For those of you who have know me for a while, you know that I have always spent a lot of time with my daughter, Nina. I’ve been singing with her literally since before she was born. My wife and I would play music every night when she was in the womb. Classical, theater, pop, rock, etc. You name it and we were singing it. After Nina was born I would drive her around in my Toyota pickup singing to Keb’ Mo with her in her car seat next to me. She would sing along with me in that little baby voice. I swear she was singing before she could talk!

When Nina was eight she caught the entertainment bug. She saw kids on a TV Commerical singing and dancing to Kids Bop. She asked my wife how she could do that. Fast forward 13 years and she just finished her junior year at USC with a double major in drama and psychology and a minor in song writing. She’s done guest spots on NCIS:Los Angeles Season 5, Episode 19, supporting roles in three movies, and even did a Tron themed video and opening ceremony for the ebay project mercury data center in Arizona!

At the opening we were in full Tron garb. That was a blast. Another fun Dad/Daughter moment. Apparently her makeup was "on fleek" even back then (yes, I'm in the know now).

It was fun to watch her IMDB profile expand.

But, this last two years is where things really started to fall in place. She continuously honed her voice, spending every minute she could singing, practicing runs and surrounding herself with talented singers and musicians at USC who kept raising the bar. This included being part of the award winning USC a cappella group, SoCal VoCals. In 2018, they won the International Competition of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA). The same competition that the Pitch Perfect movies were based on.

In June of 2018 Nina landed a spot in a new all girl pop a cappella group called Citizen Queen.

It was formed by power house singer and grammy award winner Scott Hoying from Pentatonix, grammy award winning producer Ben Bram, and Shams Ahmed from the Vocal Company. Citizen Queen launched their YouTube channel in December 2018 with five music videos that have accumulated over 13 million views and over 260,000 subscribers as of the publication of this blog.

Their debut performance was also in December 2018 at four sold out shows opening for Pentatonix at the Beacon Theater in NY. They found out later that three record labels attended those shows. 

In April 2019, RCA Records signed Citizen Queen to a three album deal. They also landed a opening spot for Pentatonix world tour which started May 11, 2019 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA. They performed 31 stadium shows over 10 1/2 weeks. My wife and some close family and friends were front row on opening night! It was surreal. What an incredible feeling to watch your daughter perform for 15,000+ people. The sounds was thunderous! They killed it.

Since that night, my wife and I have followed Citizen Queen across the country watching more sold out shows in California, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, and their most anticipated show in New York at Madison Square Garden!

Wait . . . Madison Square Garden? Whaaatttt???

Citizen Queen Live at Madison Square Garden

The Citizen Queen tour opened an opportunity to bring my community together for a good cause and have a very unique experience. I'm the founder and chairman of an professional association called Infrastructure Masons. We rented suites at some of the shows to hold an iMasons Food For Thought Fundraising event. Members came together to connect, grow and give back by raising money for the iMasons Scholarship Fund. It was an incredible experience. The entire band came to the suite after their performance to hang out and support the cause.

Not many bands have an opportunity to kickstart their career at this scale. They are incredibly talented (yes I’m biased but they really are!), and extremely blessed with this opportunity. 

I can't wait to see what is next for Nina. Love you kiddo!

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