Nella Thomas is a singer-songwriter playing a CD release show at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Gas Lamp, 1501 Grand Ave.

Q: What got you started performing?

It's been a long time coming. My aunt was an elementary music teacher and she had all my cousins in plays in Mount Pleasant. In high school I was in band and choir, and then went on to Simpson where I got my music education degree. I was in some operas there and when I graduated I started meeting more musicians. Watching them create their own music inspired me to give it a whirl.

Q: How would you describe your influences?

I think it all comes down to the different things I've been exposed to. The more folksy-sounding material is definitely inspired by my musical family back home. As a kid there would be parties on the farm and we were always playing banjos and mandolins. When I went to Simpson I got a whole new appreciation for the classical side.

Q: With this album out, what comes next?

Probably building more of a fan base around here. I teach elementary music, so I'm a busy bee all the time, teaching during the day and playing a show whenever the opportunity comes up. That's starting to happen more now that the album is out.

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