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Behind the Mic: Nicole D'Amato


 

BEHIND THE MIC: Nicole D’Amato

Songs from Cloud Nine, Saturdays 1-3pm 

Every Saturday afternoon, Nicole D’Amato brings you Songs from Cloud Nine – KMHD’s all-vocal jazz program. You’ll hear long lost favorites from bygone eras, as well as new sounds from today. It’s the 100-plus-year history of jazz vocals in a neat, two-hour package. We caught up with Nicole to learn a little more about the woman behind the mic.

How did you first get into radio?

I first got into radio in the small town of Talkeetna, Alaska, for the station KTNA. I hosted a two-hour evening music show and read the Tuesday evening news. Less than 400 people live there year round and some use the radio as their only connection to local and national news. It wouldn’t be unusual to cross paths with a moose on my walk to the station. I’ve also hosted music shows on KBUT in Crested Butte, Colorado. Both radio stations served as a touchstone for these small, isolated communities. 

What would surprise people most about what you do in your personal life?

International travel is really important to me. I am constantly planning and researching my next adventure. Currently I’m planning a trip to Lisbon this fall. I usually let music or food determine the direction I travel in. 

When you aren’t listening to the music you play on KMHD what are you tuned into?

I love all kinds of music. I have feelings tied up in many genres so it really depends on the day, mood and environment. I am an avid listener of KMHD and I have a long list of favorite shows that I try not to miss. I love the freedom of music that is explored through community radio so I listen and stream a few stations. I really enjoy XRAY, KFAI, KUAC, WMSE and Colaboradio out of Berlin. 

Tell us about an interesting hobby you have.

I really love biking. I commute by bike, I enjoy long bike rides with no constraints on time, and I love how beautifully Portland is set up to accommodate biking. I love participating in Pedalpalooza, advocating for bike use and encouraging everyone I interact with to join me for a ride. 

Where do you live and what are some of your favorite neighborhood spots?

I live in the Brooklyn neighborhood in SE. I’m usually hanging out at Know Thy Food or People’s Food Co-op, but I like exploring the city for eats so I’m not always sticking to my neighborhood. A few of my favorites are Chiang Mai, Sweedeedee and Laurelhurst Market. 

If you could bring someone back to life from jazz history and hang out with them for an afternoon, who would it be and why? 

Oh this is easy. Anita O’Day, of course. I’d love to hang with her in the later part of her life – after a lot of the stories had already been written so she could narrate them for me. She had such an amazing, long and tumultuous career in jazz and I just love her wit, sass and style. Hanging with Anita for an afternoon would be an incredibly entertaining and informative lesson on her mark in the history of jazz vocals. 

 

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