Artist Q & A: Andrea Nixon

After growing up on Edmonton’s north side, and dealing with tragic loss at a young age,
Andrea Nixon describes herself as a “sensitive scrapper” who’s always been drawn to
melodic songs with meaningful lyrics. In 2017, she debuted her first album, Diary of a
Housewife, a summation of her heartache, angst and joy.

Q: How did a north side city girl end up loving country music?

A: My mom’s family is from Castor, Alberta, and my dad’s family is from rural northern Portugal. My parents listened to country music and this probably sounds corny, but if you’re a smalltown person, it somehow comes through the bloodlines. As soon as I left the city, even just going to my aunt’s in Fort Saskatchewan, as soon as I was on the highway it was like, “oh, the world is open and there’s all this possibility.”

Q: What brought your small-town parents here?

A: I was born in northern B.C., and my dad got sick the year before. So he needed the medical help, and the best doctors were at the university.

He passed when I was 11. He was a stay-at-home dad. My mom was a waitress for a while and when I was four, she went to nursing school. I don’t know how she did it, with two young kids, a dying husband and going to nursing school.

Q: There’s the lighter, anthem-y side of country music, and the darker, bottom-of-a-whiskey-bottle side. Fair to say you’re more the latter?

A: I’m more bottom-of-the-bottle, but I also like to have fun, like a Loretta (Lynn), or a June Carter. If you watch those early performances, they were laughing at themselves. And laughing at life as well. Like on “Hey Loretta” it’s, I’m gonna be the one swinging from the chandelier.

Q: Was there a connection to that situation and your early love of music and poetry?

A: That was it for me. The melody [of country music] drew me in, but the lyrics hooked me. Because I was struggling to know what was even happening. I felt like the songs knew what I was going through. I wasn’t writing songs but I was writing poetry to make sense of what I was experiencing.

Q: You’ve said Diary of a Housewife is a very uncool title. Was there pushback?

A: I released the album independently but when I went to see the guys from the Canadian Country Music Association, they were like, “You’re so much more than a housewife.” And I was like “yeah, that’s the point.” I wanted to reclaim the title in a way that was proud and positive. So I called it that because that’s what it is. This is what I wrote after putting my kids to bed. These are my thoughts as a thirtysomething coming to terms with a life I didn’t even know existed. And by not talking about being a housewife, we’re also not preparing our daughters and sons to fill that role happily. My husband is a househusband and he’s home with the kids right now. And it’s a job, and I value him doing it. Every meal I appreciate. All our choices are valid and commendable.

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