Erika Wollam Nichols

Hometown: Acton, MA (the same town as Steve Carell!)

How long have you been in Nashville?
Since 1984 when I went to Belmont University AND that's when I began working at The Bluebird Cafe!

How did you get here?
I was the Program Director for the Summer Lights Festival, a city-wide event that was 4 days of music, art, dance and theater in downtown Nashville.  I handled all the entertainment from folks like Wynonna to the local theater company.  The event boasted an attendance of over 150,000 people with talent on up to 8 outdoor stages.  Left there in 1996 to run Tin Pan South for NSAI from year 5, (1996) to year year 9 (2000) after which went to the Country Music Hall of Fame as Director of Public Programs and then VP of Marketing & Comm Outreach. Returned to NSAI in 2004, went to grad school for my MFA, and went on to run The Bluebird when we took it over in 2008.

Tell about your best songwriter experience:
Having breakfast at the Shoney's in Gallatin with Dallas Frazier before he performed at the Legendary Songwriters Concert at the Ryman in 1999 and visiting Cindy Walker  at her home in Mehia, Texas for Sunday dinner in 2001. She made fried chicken and her famous "Cindy Sundae" with maraschino cherries and vanilla ice cream. After that visit with Cindy, we would talk on the phone periodically and she would always tell me she loved me when we hung up.  Sometimes I have to pinch myself - so many amazing and wonderful experiences!