Musician dreams of ‘successfully’ recording original songs


Michael Nicoli Ferrey, 32, music major, plays his guitar at his regular spot between the MBA and Music Buildings at ECC on Oct. 14. Nicoli is a multi-musician who also plays the piano, drums and bass. “Currently my goals consist of recording my music successfully finally because it’s been a long process that I haven’t accomplished yet,” Nicoli said.

As his hands quickly set along the strings, he strummed his acoustic guitar sweetly and hauntingly with the tree leaves brushing and chattering in the wind.

In his down time, Michael Nicoli Ferrey, 32, music major, likes to play his guitar and sometimes sing along at his regular playing spot in between the Math Business Allied Health and Music Buildings at El Camino College.

“Currently, my goals consist of recording my music successfully finally, because it’s been a long process that I haven’t accomplished yet,” Ferrey said. “I’m trying to make something sublime; I just want it to sound the way it’s supposed to be and feel the way it’s supposed to be.”

Ferrey is a multi-instrumentalist musician, who is currently learning more about reading sheet music at ECC.

“Recently I started to get reading music which has been a huge struggle for me,” Ferry said. “Even though I knew my instrument very well in feeling, I didn’t know it very well in the theoretical sense. I started connecting the dots with reading and playing music.”

Ferrey can play piano, guitar, bass and he’s been practicing both the violin and viola recently, but his favorite is drums when playing with others.

“My favorite to play along with people are drums,” Ferrey said. “I’m a good listener I like to think, so I’ll usually just listen and follow along accordingly, appropriately to what they are playing.”

Ferrey is a drummer at the Roman Catholic Latin Church and is currently teaching eight students from the Heavenly Vision Church of God.

“My neighbor goes to this church that doesn’t have a choir or a band, or a worship group. He asked me if they could pay me to teach the youth there how to play musical instruments,” Ferrey said. “There’s two to every instrument, guitar, drums, bass and piano.”

One of Ferrey’s proudest moments, musically was when he played guitar after getting better with reading sheet music at the Applied Music program at the ECC Robert Haag Recital Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 12.

“She showed up, we set up and just started playing. That was my last Applied performance,” Ferrey said. “Everything I had been practicing basically was coming together a little bit without me thinking about anything, plus my parents were there.”

Applied Music is a program in which students have to apply and audition to be accepted according to the Applied Music Program page on the ECC website. Ferrey showed up ready for his first audition but was not registered.

“I didn’t know you had to preregister. I was the first one to show up and I’m like, ‘Hey I’m here for my audition,”’ Ferrey said laughing. “I auditioned for guitar, but the guitar teacher knew that I played drums so he asked if I would like to audition for drums as well. I got in.”

In addition to getting a degree, Ferrey also had other goals he wanted to reach when deciding to come to ECC.

“I’m going to get my AA,” Ferrey said. “My goals when I came here were to meet other people and build connections; it was more about learning music in the educational sense and forming a band.”

Ferrey reflected on what it was like not having a regular group to perform with before creating the connections he currently has at ECC.

“I didn’t have a band, I wasn’t interacting with any other musicians. I had been in a bunch of one-night-stands I call them, where you find people, you guys practice, you play the gig and you never hear from them again,” Ferrey said.

Ferry has now organized a band called “Evicted Melody” with band members who he met at ECC.

“We’re all friends and we all get along really well. We understand each other really well. We’re more like brothers than friends actually,” Ferrey said.

One of Ferrey’s bandmates, an 18-year-old music major and the bands bass player, Jesse Eads, touched on the diversity in music Ferrey has the band play along with other occasional jazz musicians.

“We do covers, we do a lot of originals of his. It’s interesting because we work with a lot of jazz guys but his riffs are more diverse than jazz,” Eads said. “We’ll be with really hardcore jazz players and he has them play really fun rock tunes, sort of popish tunes but he has his own style.”

Another one of Ferrey’s bandmates, a 21-year-old music major and pianist, Daunier Thompson, described watching Ferrey’s personal growth as a musician over the last two years.

“He has grown exponentially. He was pretty good back then but he’s way better now,” Thompson said. “He’s doing great in his musical studies and learning the jazz language. I can’t wait to see how much more he grows down the line.”

To Ferrey, the importance of music is in the feeling he gets when playing it.

“What it makes me feel, it makes me feel alive, I guess,” Ferrey said. “It brings me joy.”

Ferrey also shared some musical advice along with a self-evaluating question for any aspiring musicians who want to go down the music career pathway.

“You can practice for an hour and not have any productivity. Let’s say it took you an hour to get it right one time, then you have to practice it right a bunch of other times for it to be valid. Are you determined? Find your feel,” Ferrey said.


Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct grammar on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 6:15 p.m.