Sophomore creates distinct musical image in a family full of talent


Nolan holding her outlet of expression for the past 10 years.

The Nolans have always been a musical family. At just 5 years old, current sophomore Joliana Nolan first discovered her interest in this form of expression.

From family jam sessions with her siblings and dad to playing on stage for an audience, Nolan found that music came easy.

In sixth grade, Nolan learned how to play her first instrument, the guitar. Her dad and older sister had been practicing the instrument for as long as Nolan could remember. Because of this, Nolan had an advantage over others who were self-taught.

“I already had my own tutors,” Nolan said.

With her help at home, Nolan found the guitar class she was taking at school to be boring. She was mastering the skills faster than the other students and eventually found a love for performing. She first participated in school talent shows and little concerts put on by the students at Trickum Middle School.

Although Diane Civin, Nolan’s mom, had been hearing Nolan sing for years, her thoughts on her daughter’s talent never changed.  

Civin has always been a supporter of Nolan’s talent.

“The first time I heard her [sing] my heart was just filled because she’s really got something special there and I could sense that,” Civin said.

Her first performance further convinced Civin that her daughter has a gift.

“It was a lot of fun and the crowd was really excited, so I was super proud,” Civin said.

Although she started young, Nolan didn’t discover she could write songs until last summer.

“I just had a line in my head and I was like, ‘oh that would be a good song,’” Nolan said.

From just a few words, Nolan was able to create a rhythm that matched her lyrics, and write her first song. She would follow it with three more as time went on.

When Nolan showed her mom her first original song, Civin was impressed.

“It was such a great song and I walked around singing the chorus all day,” Civin said.

With two other songwriters in the family, her brother and dad, Nolan is able to get help improving her songwriting skills.

“I always send my songs to my dad and he’ll give me tips on it,” Nolan said. Her brother has even helped her write a bridge to one of her songs she was struggling with.

Nolan is interested in getting her music out to the public more, but isn’t striving for a career in music.

“I would like to do an open mic night or something like that but I don’t know if I would want to be famous for it,” Nolan said.

Although Nolan doesn’t necessarily want a career in music, Civin believes she could make it.

“She has sort of this loungy, coffeehouse sort-of feel that would be very popular I think,” Civin said.

Nolan also writes songs accompanied by a ukulele.

Nolan’s humble, Civin said. She also finds it hard to get out of her comfort zone. Civin wants the way she feels about Nolan’s talent to be the way everyone feels when they hear it.

“She has a lot of different interests but I think that she is really creative minded and has a lot of compassion, so her writing I think could really reach people in ways that would be really cool,” Civin said.

Nolan hopes in the future that she can break out of her nervous shell and discover new ways to express herself through music.

“[I] definitely [plan on] improving and writing more songs, and then sharing my songs,” Nolan said.