Nick is one of our Trailblazers and is a musician in Sioux Falls.

City: Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Who is your community? This may be a group of friends, organization of affinity or a geographic location. I run with the underdogs and the misfits. There are plenty of those folks in the OTA region. In fact, that might be all of us. But the ones I really love are those who love it here…who’ve let this place be a part of them. I hang with musicians, storytellers and creators, and I respect anyone who can decide for him or herself whether something is “good” and explain why.

Give us a behind-the-scenes look at your average day. I’m currently managing all forms of content for Lloyd Cos., so I get up at about 6:30, read or play a musical instrument for a few short minutes and get ready for work. I get to work a little after 8:00, grab my coffee and revisit projects I completed the day before while mapping out the workday ahead. My days vary wildly and might include a video or photo shoot, writing a blog post, drafting a proposal, or creating ads for different forms of media. I love my team at Lloyd Cos. and the variety of things on which I get to work and experiment. I do have a traditional 8-5-type job, so when I’m finished for the day at Lloyd, I’ll head home, spend some time with my wife and then carve out an hour or two to read, write or create at home. This could also include rehearsals, video shoots, or whatever else I need to tackle to move my projects forward. I also work part-time at Embrace church, so some nights might involve my musical responsibilities there, and I’m always involved in an athletic league of some kind…usually basketball or volleyball. No matter what the situation, though, I try to sit down for at least an hour to write/play music. I’ve set aside 8 A.M. to noon every Saturday for creative projects. And my Sundays are nearly booked solid leading music at Embrace. Even though working in the morning hours is often suggested in blogposts, podcasts and books, I’ve found that the night hours suit me best. Many nights I’ll see midnight, but I try to keep that as quitting time no matter what I’m reading/working on.

What challenge in your life or work are you most interested in overcoming? The biggest challenge for me is just being okay with where I am at. In the past, I’ve had a tendency to look for the next big thing rather than live in the moment and pour myself into the work in front of me. I remind myself daily that life isn’t about an arrival point, but a never-ending journey. I want to overcome this challenge every day…be happy where I’m at…and just keep moving in the right direction.

If you could do any job, what would you do and why? If I could do anything, I would write and perform songs. I’m a pretty darn good singer, but also, I find it fascinating that the creative process begins with nothing and ends in a physical, tangible product that will outlive even its creator. In a way, I make things to avoid being forgotten. I also hope that my creations can have a positive impact on those who consume them. My songs can make people think, tap their toe, dance, smile, and sing along…long after I’m gone. It’s a pretty amazing thing.

What is the most beneficial aspect of living in the OTA region when it comes to your career? Being a musician/writer from South Dakota, no matter how unique I am as an artist, the fact that I’m from this place seems to be more noteworthy to outsiders. I also love the inspiring landscape and the fact that the wide-open spaces allow for big thoughts and hopes and dreams.

At what intersection do you live your life? I live at the intersection of the middle of nowhere and the center of the universe.

Where do you think good ideas come from? Thinking of the ideas I’ve been most proud of, it always feels like the universe taps me on the shoulder and whispers them in my ear. The best ideas come from listening.

What’s one current trend you think will change the world? Handcrafted goods. These days, people seem willing to pay more for something that is made with care and attention to detail. Consumers are more appreciative of the story behind the good, the material from which it was made, and its maker. This is good news for everyone and the environment.

What’s the best way to put inspiration into action? I think inspiration naturally takes action. Sure, when it strikes there are a number of things that need to happen in order for a project to move along toward completion, but it’s the hunt for inspiration that requires the bulk of the work. It requires a great deal of passion and commitment to a project or idea–to be in it and after it day in and day out.

What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken? I took out a sizable personal loan to put together my last musical record.

What’s your biggest failure, and what did you learn from it? To piggy back on the previous question…let’s just say it took me awhile to pay that loan off. That record was a financial failure, but I’m still more proud of it than anything else I’ve ever done. I made a number of poor business decisions throughout the process, but I learned the importance of paying attention to your community and your followers and understanding what they want and need as consumers. Most of the time what I want is a whole lot different than what they want. While my art is about what I want, whether I’m financially successful or not depends on how well I can combine what I want with what consumers want and still be proud of the finished product.

Who do you hope to leave a legacy for? I’m passionate about the city of Sioux Falls and the state of South Dakota. It would be neat to leave a legacy for this community and region.

Who is the most connected person in your life, and what personal characteristics make him or her so well-connected? John Meyer of Lemonly continues to do amazing things in our community because of his connectedness. His passion is obvious, he cares about his community, spends time educating and giving back to them, and he continues to do great work. His follow through, fearlessness, and desire to make connections, not only for his own benefit but for the good of his community, have made him a conduit in the OTA region.

Who is the most creative person in your life, and why? Dan Ludeman is the most creative person I’ve ever met. He’s an incredible musician, producer, photographer, videographer, and visual artist. He was born to create and is not bound by form or medium. He can do it all. Find something he can’t do, and he will learn how to do it better than you in a day.

Who is the most community-focused person in your life, and how do they impact their communities? Brian Rand and Clint Brown of The Bakery have spent the last year building and growing an indestructible community. They impact their community by empowering them to be a community, and to serve and give and learn and grow together. As a founding member of The Bakery, it’s been pretty cool to see the growth they’ve experienced over the past year.

Why are you a Trailblazer? I hope to build and grow and pour into the creative community in Sioux Falls. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make the creative community in Sioux Falls recognized across the states. We can and will be a destination for musicians, artists, and creatives–not only to pass through, but to settle and contribute to the community themselves.

What project do you plan to focus on as part of the Trailblazers Program? I plan to focus on opening and operating a mid-sized music venue in Downtown Sioux Falls.

What change / advancement do you hope to achieve as part of the Trailblazers Program? I hope to help the Sioux Falls community acquire a taste for live music by curating experiences downtown and to create opportunities for local artists to connect with musicians on a regional, national and global scale.

The Trailblazers program is sponsored by Midco®, the regional provider of business and residential internet and networking, cable TV, phone and commercial IT services.