Shay Nichols

Artistic Flint & Steel: Sparking Cross-disciplinary Combustion
Type of work
Performing Arts

Composer Shay Nichols and faculty partner Tom Sherry created nature-based compositions with local musicians and led public listening excursions to discover the beauty and power found in the “chorus” of the Southern Louisiana natural environment. Inspired by the residency, Shay created The Natural Music Institute bringing together groups of local musicians, scientists, and environmental activists to listen to threatened ecosystems, finding ways of working together and synergizing their work, and inspiring environmental awareness and reconnection through the power of listening.

Deeply inspired by the wisdom of nature, Shay Nichols is a recording artist, performer, and teacher. A graduate of the California Institute of Integral Studies Voice/Sound Healing program and Open Ear Center, Shay loves helping people experience the power of listening and creating music in nature. She has created the Natural Music Institute, an international organization which fosters collaborations between ecologists and musicians to produce recordings inspired by natural environments.

“Something has taken root. Just as plants grow in soil, artists grow with the right amount of support, freedom, and inspiration. What we say, sing, or express depends on if we feel that we are honored. I feel that beautiful reciprocity here, I am heard and I am listening.” – Shay Nichols

“Shay inspires me, the scientist, with her emotional calmness, her deep reverence for nature and life, and her growing passion about climate change and the need for activism. I bring to our relationship my systematic, scientific and natural history training and thinking, and my own passion about acting on understanding and acting on climate change.” – Thomas Sherry