MUSIC MATTERS: Nicole Reynolds – @PianoCole
With the exponential rise in popularity across video sharing platforms such as TikTok and Instagram Reels, more and more musical influencers are sharing their stories and their talents, bringing music to the masses and inspiring more and more people to let learning music into their life.
Today we speak to one such influencer who has skyrocketed her following by producing fun, engaging and simply mesmerising piano content that really pulls at the heartstrings. Nicole Reynolds, known online as PianoCole, is a 26 year old pianist who’s popular niche has become adapting classic wedding entrances into musical masterpieces, bringing unique medleys of popular songs into a wedding setting.
We spoke with Nicole to learn more about her own musical history, how social media has changed her life, what she hopes to achieve and how she intends to use her platform to inspire more and more people to let the piano into their lives!
“I think for me, getting involved in music was completely by chance. Neither of my parents or family are particularly musical. I got a small barbie toy keyboard when I was little, I just started playing little tunes on that and then upgraded to my aunty’s keyboard, which was a small Yamaha and I’ve just been playing ever since!
For me, I like being able to hear something and then recreate that in my own little way. I’ve always had a natural connection to piano and it seemed to just come relatively naturally to me. I think that has been quite a blessing and a curse because when you can pick something up quite easily, when I tried violin and guitar which I was terrible at, I did have to work at other instruments. I’d just say ‘no’ which I really regret now!”
Nicole’s playing skills truly are amazing and throughout her late teens and early twenties, she was a hotel and restaurant pianist, where she built her skills to medley and shift seamlessly between songs, however when she unleashed her sound onto social media and particularly her wedding entrances, her following began to grow at an even more phenomenal rate.
“Working in restaurants was actually some of the best training I could ask for because they hate silence, so they like everything to flow seamlessly, so I just kind of combine the songs together in the same way I would do a medley.
The wedding entrances came really out of the blue actually! I was watching The Little Mermaid because I’m 26 but not really an adult and when Ariel gets married, you see her in the wedding dress and the boat sails away. I just thought, we didn’t see her walk down the aisle, but if we had, here’s what I think it could have sounded like.
When I put that out on TikTok, that was my most popular video for a long while with over half a million views. From there people were asking if I could do different Disney princesses or villains or Harry Potter, so could you do this specific thing for my family? It’s just spiraled in a really great way that’s now just completely out of control!
People have some really incredible ideas, if you have a favourite song, 9 times out 10 you can make it sound pretty. It’s just a nice thing to have your favorite song featured in your wedding entrance.
It’s so nice to be able to help people. One request I get quite a lot is from people whose father has perhaps passed away and want something to commemorate them whilst walking down the aisle, so they play their favorite song whilst walking down or things like that. It’s nice to be a tiny part in making someone’s day a little bit better.”
Music has an incredible impact on people and affects everyone in different ways, as Nicole is a full time musician, we wondered how this might impact her connection with music and how playing the piano has continued to help her in other aspects of her life.
“For me, playing piano has really helped with my mental health. It’s helped me with my anxiety which I’ve struggled with since I was a teenager, it’s always helped me shut every aspect other of my life somewhere else and just focus on music. It’s one of the only times I can really switch my mind off and focus purely on something else.
I also think that in terms of everyone else, music has this really unique ability to bring back memories and sometimes those might be memories of people who are no longer here that nothing else can really do. It triggers something in the mind, and it’s that magical element that I’ve always really enjoyed about it because you can hear a song that might remind you about something that you’ve completely forgotten about.”
Nicole believes that music truly is for everyone and that whilst social media can be a fantastic source of inspiration, it shouldn’t dictate how we use music as a form of enjoyment.
“I think it’s easy for people to get really wrapped up in the idea that if you’re going to do art, you have to be amazing at it. Which of course you really don’t! For example if you put me alongside a classical pianist, they would walk all over me.
I can’t sight read very well and won’t be playing Rachmaninov anytime soon. I think it’s impossible to tick all of these boxes of what a musician ‘is’. Despite that, I’ve still managed to grow a following and make music my full time job. I believe that you should literally just play because you want to and you enjoy it and if other people happen to like it too, then that’s just a great bonus.
As I say, for me, the mental health side of playing is just incredible. I think that more people should give playing a try, maybe it could be your new favourite thing in the world and could help you feel better. Even if you have just one song that you can play and every day it makes you feel that little bit better, then you’ve achieved your goal in my opinion!”
With her following continue to grow, Nicole truly has taken the world of #PianoTok by storm. With such fast growth, she has some incredibly exciting plans for the year ahead and more time to create unique pieces and share more musical stories.
“Thanks to my following, I’m able to experiment so much more with my sound and have more time, so I’ll still play weddings and teach, but now I’ve got all this time and freedom to do more of what I want to do and unlock little bits of me that I didn’t know I was going to share with the world, so that’s been lovely.
For me, this year has been a really big shift. I was just doing hotels all the time, now I’m taking that leap of faith to try to release my own material which is really exciting. The aisle entrances are going on YouTube very soon, which I’m really excited about so people can use them. That’s the only reason I did them, just so people can use them.
Then at the end of this year or at the start of next year I’m going to be releasing solo piano covers of songs on Spotify. Songs that aren’t commonly played on the piano. It’s terrifying and incredibly exciting at the same time. “
We may be biased, however we absolutely love the message that Nicole is spreading and even further, the lives that she has touched through her music. With social media continuing to influence and inspire the way we live our lives for both the good and bad, it is a great pleasure speaking to an artist who is continuing to share the emotional power of music and the joys that playing the piano can bring to the world. We’d love to thank Nicole for her time and are excited to see the next chapters of her journey unfold!