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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Q&A with Love Goddess' and Icon's Nick Lion

Nick Lion, Mystery Man
Nick Lion is a NYC promoter/ entrepreneur/ songwriter/ music producer with a captivating background. He recently released a new single, "Love Goddess," sung by Ari Gold, and his new club, ICON, in Astoria, will have its Grand Opening in October. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to do this Q&A with him. He may be a mysterious figure for the moment but, hopefully, when I get to ICON, the mystery will be over.

Dj Buddy Beaverhausen: Hi, Nick. So glad I could arrange this interview with you. I think you're such a fascinating character on the NYC nightlife landscape right now. And, to me at least, such a mystery man!
Nick Lion: Hi Charles, I'm so happy to be interviewed by you, I'm a fan of yours. I'll be sure to try to be as vague as possible in my answers so that I will still remain somewhat of a "mystery man" to you. [Laughs.]
DBB: We'll keep you under wraps for now.

DBB: Let's discuss your song, "Love Goddess," now available at Amazon.  I understand more remixes are coming via Sobel Nation. What inspired you to do this? And how did you get Ari Gold on board?
NL: The Love Goddess project has been a personal journey and true labor of love. Marilyn Monroe has been my fabulous obsession and inspiration since childhood. She is the great American success story, the Orphan who became a Legend. I felt, as a writer, I needed to express my feelings of love and admiration for her, hence my song tribute the "Love Goddess."  I also had a family connection to Marilyn. Joe DiMaggio was my grandfather's second cousin, so when they were married, Marilyn was a distant in-law. How cool is that?
DBB: Very!
NL: I always had a certain voice in mind that I knew would be perfect for "Love Goddess," and that was Ari Gold's. I was a big fan of his though we had never met. I learned he usually wrote and sang mostly his own songs, but I decided to take a chance anyway and send him the demo with a note saying "if you love the song and the concept, we'll make it happen!" Two weeks later he replied and the rest is history. Ari is a real old school singer, he can actually sing.
I truly believe he's a great artist who's sometimes underrated and undiscovered by the mainstream, but I know they will catch up.

DBB: Can we discuss your upcoming club opening in Queens in October. What has that been like? Has anything prepared you for an undertaking like this?
NL: My father was always in the restaurant and bar business, and owned the iconic NYC celebrity nite spot, the Loser's Club Bar on the corner of 64th & Lexington ave. back in the '60s. To me, a club should be like an extension of your home. Everyone in my home is treated like a special guest and everyone at my club, ICON, will be treated like a VIP guest also. I've undertaken many successful promotional nights and parties through the years for other club owners. It feels good to finally do it my way for my own club.

DBB:  Nick, you have the distinguished, polished  and gentlemanly good looks and style of a classic-era Hollywood star. Is that by design or can you just not help it? And do you consider yourself a high-maintenance kind of a guy?
NL: Yes,... I just can't help it. [Laughs.] Actually, my mother was referred to as the Marilyn Monroe of our neighborhood. She even shared Marilyn's hairdresser, Kenneth, back in the '60s. She was beautiful, sexy, glamorous and had great style. So, if I do have good looks and style, I owe it all to her. As far as being high maintenance, all I'll say is that I'm a Leo.

DBB: Could you tell us about your background? Where you grew up? What influenced you creatively?
NL:  I'm Italian American, a native New Yorker, and an out and proud Mama's boy. I was born and raised in Queens. My family moved around a lot but the majority of my childhood and adult years was and is spent in Astoria, Queens. My father was a frustrated singer and writer, and my mother was a big pop music lover. Music was a big part of my household growing up and a great influence. Today, it's my life's blood, can't get through a day without it. But it didn't start out that way. I first started modeling, then acting, followed by some attempts at a singing career, then finally realizing my real strength and true passion was for songwriting and producing.
I started my own record label, Lion Records and publishing company in the 90's so I could record what I want. "Love Goddess" is my current new single.  

DBB: Am I correct that you are fluent in Spanish and Italian? How have you been able to put those languages to good use?
NL: Yes, I am fluent in Italian, my ethnic tongue, which I learned just from hearing my grandparents speak it around the house growing up. The high school I attended didn't offer Italian for a language subject, so I took the next closest, Spanish. They're very similar and it came easy with my background, though today I find myself mixing them both together when I speak, creating a new language "Spanitalian." Whenever I'm amongst an Italian or Spanish speaking crowd, I never let on that I can speak it or understand it. Its a great way to eavesdrop and find out what they really say and think of you.

DBB: You're a songwriter, producer, manager, promoter. That sounds like a lot on your plate. Do you ever get overwhelmed?
NL: Yes, it definitely can get overwhelming at times as with anything, and only because sometimes there aren't enough hours in the day. But I love all my roles, it's a blessing to finally be able to work at all the things I love.  I'll never complain.

DBB: Have you ever had to take on day jobs to support your real careers? And, if so, what were they like? What was the worst? The best?
NL:  Yes, many jobs: waiter, bartender, travel agent. The most exotic was my stint as a locker boy at the infamous swingers club, Plato's Retreat. I saw scenes there that are too X-rated even for porn videos. My favorite and most recent was working with and for legendary KISS manager and producer, Bill Aucoin. He was an amazing man and mentor who knew everything there is to know about the music biz. I learned a lot from him, I miss him. We were working on a proposed Rainbow Tour before he passed away a couple of years ago. We were preparing a list of top gay and gay-friendly artists to  perform and tour all around the country. Of course, Ari was on top of that list. It would've been amazing, maybe we'll still make it happen one day.

DBB: Elton John's performing at the Russian Olympics this winter whereas Cher refused. Your take on that?
NL: Whether I agree or not, I don't like to judge other artists' choices or decisions on how, why, or where they perform. I've always known Elton to be an upstanding guy and humanitarian, and he certainly doesn't need the money, so maybe he knows something we don't. 
As for Cher, she's my hero.

DBB: We follow one another on Facebook. One thing I've noticed on your pics is that you're always the tallest person in them. How tall are you? And were you a tall kid, growing up?
NL: Well I came out at a normal size, then at age 19 I reached my final height of 6', though I lied on my model resume and put 6'1". Also, for photos, I always try to stand next to people shorter than me so I stand out.

DBB:  I so look forward to the club opening and hope to be there with bells on. The name and directions for our readers, please, who can go.
NL:  Yes, I'm very excited, its going to be a glittering gala red carpet event! You can find all the Club information and updates on our Facebook webpage for ICON. Thank you so much, this was a blast, can't wait to meet you also.

DBB: Thanks so much, Nick, for this Q&A. Wishing you the best and look forward to meeting you in person at your opening!

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