As Namaste TV expands, you may find yourself wondering, “who are these Namaste Yoga instructors, anyway?” It is our distinct honour to introduce them to you! In this installment, we chat with Koralee Nickarz about her Namaste memories, career as a musician and current campaign to produce new music.
A seasoned actress at the time, Koralee Nickarz walked into auditions for Namaste Yoga in her "casual audition uniform": a pair of jeans, sparkly top and three-inch heels. Prepared to simply meet producers, she was surprised to be greeted by people in yoga gear! Thankful she had shaved her legs; this resourceful and physically active professional borrowed a pair of shorts from a man possessing a slight build and kind heart, and proceeded with her audition.
"When I went into the audition room, we all laughed about the part of the shorts that I wasn't able to fill," Koralee recalls, "but I was willing and determined, and that is pretty much my personality."
Kate Potter nicknamed Koralee as "The Wildcard," because she was an actress who practiced yoga but wasn't a teacher. With nearly a year between filming the promos and production, Koralee worked extensively with Kate and expanded her practice so she would be on par with the other instructors. Production provided opportunities for building friendships that would extend beyond the Namaste sets.
"We were all of similar mind about health and well-being," Koralee shares. "My first Matcha was prepared by Kate! We created a little community that leant itself so positively to the quality of the work. Evangeline [Duy] and I became very close over that time and she is one of my 'sisters' now."
About a year after Namaste production wrapped, Koralee moved to Chicago to deepen her theater studies. "I also set upon a long road of personal development," she explains. "All along my path, I was doing yoga. No matter where I found myself, I found a space for yoga."
It was during this time Koralee's music career began to surface. Music was part of Koralee from a very early age. From pictures of her as a toddler holding a microphone, to her participation in choir and musical theater as a teen, music had always been present, but secondary in focus and priority.
"Even while shooting Namaste, I was writing songs in my free time," Koralee recounts. "It was during a workshop I took in Monterey, California, that I met Eliot Sloan." Sloan, the lead singer for Blessid Union of Souls, songwriter and producer, was teaching a songwriting component of Koralee's workshop. She decided to share a song she had written about her late sister (Link: https://youtu.be/K3fxh07FDcI) with him. Sloan was excited by what he heard, and wanted to work on the song immediately. "We ran around the conference grounds, trying desperately to find a piano! We convinced a security guard to unlock a room that was off-limits," Koralee shares. "After about 15 minutes on an old, dusty piano, we had a song that I went to demo with in his studio a month later. I am still an actor, but I now know that music is my first love."
Koralee Nickartz has moved through her music career with simplicity, choosing to be referred to as "koralee". Currently, she is working on a new EP of original material. This is a follow-up to her first EP in 2010. koralee intends to record in Santa Monica in May and June, in the studio that once belonged to the Beach Boys. Marty Rifkin, who will engineer and produce koralee’s EP, now owns the studio. "Marty has worked with Bruce Springsteen, Jewel and Tom Petty, to name a few," koralee shares. "Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Jan Linder-Koda is another producer on the project, and I will create the tracks with Matt Moss, producer, composer and musician whose works can be heard on shows like The Big Bang Theory and The Voice. I am going to be in very good hands."
All of koralee's productions have been independently financed to this point. The high cost of production has hindered release of her music in the past, and koralee was frustrated to not be able to present her music the way she wanted. In planning this new work, koralee needed to address the high cost her creation was sure to incur. Her inspiration came in a quote from Sandeep Jauhar: "The only mistake you can make is not asking for help."
"I'm funding the recording and manufacturing through a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo," koralee shares. "The response has been overwhelmingly supportive! I'm so grateful to those whom have answered so generously with their support. People I have not spoken to in 20 years are sending in donations... I am humbled by them."
Koralee's crowdfunding campaign closes at midnight on April 12, 2015. If you would like to explore this, please visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/koralee-s-next-ep-please-join-me. "If you feel inspired to pledge, please know that I would be so grateful to you for helping me to continue to share my music," koralee says.