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Milwaukee musician Nora Collins balances on the cusp of fame in country music

Nora Collins is the 2014 WAMI singer-songwriter of the year
Nora Collins is the 2014 WAMI singer-songwriter of the year
Copyright 2014 John Schulze

The buzz about Nora Collins and her burgeoning music career began as a murmur in Milwaukee music circles a few short years ago. That murmur has since developed into a roar. The 20 year old singer-songwriter and country music artist began her career in the humble space of her bedroom, teaching herself how to write songs at the age of 14. Armed with an old guitar and four chords, Collins focused her early ambition into her 2009 debut CD she titled, "Red Chuck Taylors," and embarked upon her journey into the music business with the full support of her family. Collins has never looked back except to see how far she's come.

Truthfully, Collins has come pretty far since her decision to make a career for herself in music. Nora is now universally recognized in Milwaukee as a musician on the cusp of fame in the music world. The many accolades given to Nora over the years have been hard-earned, which is perhaps what makes her musical journey so special and so honest. Collins has accumulated an impressive list of accomplishments since her 2009 debut, each one earned through hard work and dedication to her career. Collins has indeed become quite a guitarist, but it's her pitch perfect vocals that really set her apart from her peers. Nora has an expressive vocal tone that is rich, dynamic and can modulate effortlessly between silky and powerful when required.

In 2011 Nora entered the Great Lakes Songwriting contest and was a Top 20 Finalist out of 700 songs for her song, "First Heartbreak." Nora's music video for “Don’t Slow Down” finished in the Sweet Sixteen out of 600 videos in Country Music Television’s Music City Madness competition and was featured nationally on CMT and on local Milwaukee ABC, FOX and NBC newscasts. Collins has also seen success with the Texaco Country Showdown where she was a Wisconsin state winner and twice a Milwaukee winner. In 2012 Nora's video for "Dimples Filled With Lies" aired nationally on The Country Network, later renamed Zuus Country, and she was named the "Breaking Out Artist of the Week."

In 2012 and 2013 Nora was the “Rising Star” Award Winner at the 32nd annual Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) Awards. Collins was also the 2013 “Female Vocalist of the Year” Nominee at the WAMI Awards. 2013 also found Collins winning big at the Shepard Express Best of Milwaukee awards where she won both "Best Female Vocalist" and "Best Acoustic Musician" awards. The final notable award of 2013 came when Collins won the Beloit International Film Festival + Music “Best Singer/Songwriter” award.

One of the biggest awards for Collins came earlier in 2014 when she won the coveted “Singer/Songwriter of the Year”Award at the 34th annual WAMI Awards. That award summed up the culmination of Nora's career so far and brought into the spotlight the deep passion that she has for her musical journey. Nora relentlessly performs throughout Wisconsin and beyond and for the last three years has exceeded 200 performances a year while bringing her music to audiences near and far. Collins has become a regular performer at many notable Wisconsin events, including Summerfest, Wisconsin State Fair, Waukesha County Fair and Bastille Days.

The opening slots keep getting bigger as well. Nora will open the Ronnie Milsap concert at the Pabst Theater on Thursday, Sept. 11 and help celebrate 40 years of #1 hits with the Country Music Hall of Fame member. Two days later, on Sept. 13, Nora will open for Daryl Stuermer of Genesis at the Inaugural Rock Be Their Voice concert at the Milwaukee Athletic Club Grand Ballroom. Nora has opened up in the past for such musicians as David Nail, Josh Turner, Josh Thompson, American Idol winner Lee DeWyze, Sixpence None The Richer, Katie Armiger, Paul Thorn and The Turnpike Troubadours.

Nora debuted new original music throughout the summer of 2014 that displayed a next level to her songwriting skills. Inspired by the world outside her, and the brightly creative space within her, Collins has been writing and working with co-writers on music that peels back the layers of her personality, exposing the depth of positive growth she has achieved as a developing singer-songwriter. Unafraid to take the next step, Collins appears to be, song by song, piecing together what will certainly be her strongest and most dynamic album to date.

Nora's schedule can be found at her official website. The best way to support an artist like Nora is to show up at her performances and buy her music. Nora has two physical CD's for sale at her performances, the 2013 release "Only The Beginning" and the 2011 release "Run Away With Me." At Nora's website you can also purchase digital copies of all three of her albums. You can also follow Nora on Twitter and like her Facebook page. Be sure to catch Nora perform on Sept. 5 at the Yellow Phone Music Conference Showcase at Collectivo Coffee in Milwaukee's Third Ward. Details for that performance can also be found at Nora's official website.

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