By Noah Sheidlower
Sitting in her car, Ms. Nicole Spinelli listens to a simple acoustic and piano melody, trying to formulate lyrics that match the rhythm. Twenty minutes pass by as the song repeats again and again; meanwhile, ideas begin to form into metered stanzas. Ms. Spinelli grabs her phone and tells Siri to take a voice recording. Within fifteen minutes, Ms. Spinelli has written a new song.
Ms. Spinelli, a science teacher at South, and her band Gate Thirteen, recently released their first song, “Earth Re-Entry.” Although having written several poetry books in the past, this was the first time that Ms. Spinelli set her ideas to music.
“It’s very difficult to comprehend that none of this was done intentionally,” Ms. Spinelli said. “It was like a portal had been opened; I began completing song after song, as though once I started, there was an overwhelming momentum to continue writing.”
Ms. Spinelli developed a passion for music as a child when she would listen to her father and uncle’s band rehearse in her garage. Oftentimes, she found herself practicing drums or playing “guess that song” games with her father. While she chose to pursue a career in science, Ms. Spinelli explored music through dance throughout high school and college. Following a knee injury in July 2016, however, Ms. Spinelli discovered a new platform to express her love of music: singing and songwriting.
“Once [dance] was no longer an option, I felt compelled to find a new vehicle for expressing myself as an artist,” Ms. Spinelli said.
Her song discusses “Luci’s lucid dream,” a character whose “broken wings resurrect” the narrator from blindness. The music video features erie biblical sculptures, elegant flowers, and mysterious amusement park rides at Coney Island. The song and the music video illustrate both Ms. Spinelli’s vitality and creativity.
“I’m inclined to believe that I wouldn’t be able to bring the same energy to the classroom that I presently do if I didn’t make time outside of school to create music—to create something out of nothing,“ Ms. Spinelli said.
In addition to expressing herself through music, Ms. Spinelli also paints and choreographs dance routines. She is also the coach of South’s cheerleading team.
Ms. Spinelli hopes to share with young generations of potential musicians, scientists, and other workers to view earth as a classroom. She said she wishes that society would adopt the ideology that people are not on earth to make money but instead to learn about the world and how it functions.
“I dream of a world of seekers,” she said. “I dream of a world free from branding, conformity and moral ambiguity. I dream of revolution.”
Spinelli’s new song is now available on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, and on her website http://gatethirteen.com/.