Who is Dale Nichols?
I’m a citizen of the world, currently based in Dubai, UAE where I stay busy working as a musician and living an active lifestyle.
What is your background?
I grew up in Saskatchewan, Canada and eventually made my way out to the west coast as an adult. Growing up I was heavily involved in sports: playing hockey, cycling, track & field and other school team sports. I’ve kept up with fitness throughout my life and continue to take training courses from time to time. I’ve studied and worked in information technology, aviation & helicopters and music, which is my main focus today. I’m also an avid traveler and have been fortunate to visit several different countries and make friends all around the world.
How long have you been playing piano?
Pretty much my whole life! I got started when I was just four years old.
When did you decide to be a professional pianist?
I think I probably made the decision subconsciously when I was around 10 but I didn’t actually take it seriously until I moved to Dubai at the age of 29.
How is a musician’s life in Dubai?
As long as there are steady gigs it can be quite nice! But as things usually quiet down here during the hot summer months and the holy month of Ramadan, there’s a period where it’s beneficial to have some other skills to fall back on—or take a long holiday!
Are you working on any compositions of your own?
Yes, I’m always working on something of my own. I have some personal projects I’m chipping away at when I get a chance; mostly solo piano works and some orchestral material. However, much of my time is focused on composing for other film & media projects I get commissioned for. I’m also very busy with The Jazz Quarter, the band which I’m musical director and pianist for.
Watch and listen to Dale’s composition below:
I know that you are also a photographer, talk to us a little about it.
I got into photography when I was a teenager. I’ve dabbled a bit in film photography but at the time I was getting into it, digital photography was on the rise. With my fascination with computers, seeing the technologies overlap I was immediately hooked. Once I started travelling some more I felt really inspired to take photos of my journeys. It’s a great way to preserve the memories and share the stories.
How did you catch the travel bug?
When I was about 12 years old my family took our first overseas trip to Europe. That trip was really the first-hand experience that opened my eyes to the rest of the world that’s out there. When I made the leap to travel alone at 21 and found myself sitting under the stars at a camp in the Omani desert being fed fresh palm dates and mint tea by people speaking a language completely foreign to me, there was no turning back.
How do you combine your passion for sports and your passion for music?
I suppose it just happens naturally as I practice both. Sometimes when I’m doing an endurance activity like hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, or long-distance running I’ll get musical ideas flowing in my mind. If the ideas stick with me I’ll turn them into something when I’m back sitting down at the piano. When practicing music I can look at it from the same perspective as strengthening a muscle or refining a sports move. One of the beautiful things about both activities is there is always room to improve and learn more, no matter how long you’ve been doing it.
Do you have a training schedule?
If I have an upcoming event on the horizon I’ll create a specific training plan and stick to it, but otherwise I like to keep things free and just do what I feel like on the day. Sometimes that’s going for a run, lifting weights, swimming, or even just going for a walk to get some air and move around. Getting out for exercise is always easier if it’s an activity you enjoy.
Any advice for aspiring daredevils?
Stay curious and keep exploring; you never know who you might meet, what you might learn, or where you’ll end up.