Musician, songwriter, vocalist, teacher, and parent are amongst the words you could use to describe new neighbors Nastassia and Nathaniel Moore. The Moores, along with their young daughter and another child on the way, moved to Logan Square in October 2019. They were drawn in by Chicago’s jazz scene and excited to make their mark in the music scene and meet new people, unaware, like everyone, of the pandemic about to sweep the nation.
Though many of their gig offerings were put on hold, the couple talked with LoganSquarist about their aspirations as new musicians in Chicago, their work on upcoming projects alongside parenthood and hopes for the future after the pandemic.
How would you describe your work, whether that be writing, music, or teaching?
Nastassia: I would describe my writing as a place of solace for myself, honest, real, opaque, peculiar at times. The music I write apart from our band: the same as my writing. I would describe the music we do together as an amalgamation of real jazz, bossa novas, and original music. I also do session work, which I greatly enjoy. It’s an honor and great experience to be a part of someone’s vision and song. I love the collaboration of creative ideas and the interdependence it brings.
Nathaniel: I would describe myself as a teaching artist, because I am an artist first. I love to teach Jazz, classical and music theory. Mentoring serious students is a fantastic experience. My true passion is for composing and performing though. Which is why I am an artist first and only take a limited number of private students. Composing music for me is deeply connected to exploration and introspection. In a strange convergence that is often minimal and impressionistic. My work is greatly varied, jazz standards and bossa novas are certainly present. However, so are modern forms such as funk and minimalism. Since the pandemic I have been doing a fair amount of remote session work, which has been great.
What brought you to Logan Square?
Nathaniel: Well, I didn’t… Nastassia picked our landing pad here in Chicago and I fully trusted her research and the plan she laid out for us. We originally intended to stay in Logan Square for just a month while exploring the city and finding our spot. It seems our spot found us because we explored and stayed here.
Nastassia: I like Nathaniel’s response. Ditto! Nathaniel took a music job here and we wanted a change from Seattle, thus here we are. I chose Logan Square quite by accident. I was looking for a temporary space for us to stay through Airbnb that catered to children. The one that “spoke to me” was in Logan Square, and after a brief conversation with the host, I knew it was a match.
When did you know that music and writing was what you wanted to pursue?
Nastassia: I was a bit of a wandering soul for quite a while. Music and writing was just something that was a part of me that I never took seriously. I wrote lyrics and melodies for fun with friends as a child — probably as a result of listening to my mother and aunt’s vinyl, tape cassettes, and the radio back when they actually played good music. I seemed to naturally gravitate towards music and writing in school. I chose orchestra and played cello, took a piano class, and choir. I took a literature class where I found an intense love for writing. I say intense because I enjoyed writing at home in the comfort of my bedroom for hours.
Music came again as a result of my husband’s insistent persuasion. He heard me singing around the house, and said “We should record an album together.” I ignored him. I took private vocal lessons in college for fun, and my teacher told me I really needed to consider singing professionally. That gave me the confidence and push I needed to record our first Jazz album.
Nathaniel: Music has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. Those early memories are actually not all that pleasant to look back on. However, I eventually found my own path to follow. As a youth, I bought myself a guitar and began teaching myself to read music. I would go to the library and check out books on music theory, counterpoint, history and biographical of great jazz players as well as composers. I spent hours listening to musicians I discovered. Yeah, definitely an odd one out. Still am actually. Some things never change. I have been and continue to be in a livelong journey with music be it through study, composition or performance and recording. It has been an unspeakable joy and blessing to be able to partner with my wife in the last six to seven years. I really think that partnership has taken the music places it could not have otherwise gone.
Photos: Moore family.
How has parenthood changed the way you see your art?
Nathaniel: For me parenthood has not changed the way I see my art, nor has it changed my pursuit of the arts. I view parenthood as a great blessing and am grateful to be able to share this journey with my wife and two daughters. We are all on this crazy journey together!
Nastassia: Parenthood has definitely changed me and rocked me to my core in ways I cannot explain. It’s a blessing, it’s a challenge, and it’s incredibly humbling. I see my art now as something I need to do in order to model to my daughters that there’s nothing you cannot do if you apply courage, determination, discipline, passion, and grace.
What projects are you currently working on?
Nathaniel: I started a new funk band project and am currently writing and recording for that. I anticipate the first EP to be released later this year. In addition to that Nastassia and I are working on a new album for our Charlie and the Gyspy duo . I also have a few projects that have been a continual effort. A solo piano album is one of them. The other I hope to complete before the year is over — an online course for fingerstyle jazz guitar students.
Nastassia: I’m working on writing and composing an album of original pieces under my stage name Charlie Blu. Nathaniel and I are working on an album together for Charlie and the Gypsy. Moreover, I am working on releasing a third addition of my published book with more writing and hope to have it distributed to Barnes and Noble. I’ve been writing a living book about self-healing from abuse for years and I write for Medium sometimes. I continue to do session work.
What are you looking forward to once the pandemic is over?
Nathaniel: Building a community of like-minded people and playing gigs again, and traveling and exploring more of Chicago with my family.
Check out a video of the couple performing:
Featured photo: The Moore family