We had the good fortune of connecting with April Nelson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi April, how has your background shaped the person you are today?

I am from a town just outside of New Orleans, Louisiana called Mandeville. Growing up in the New Orleans area instilled a love for many things: the best seafood anyone will ever know, a love for different cultures, neighborly hospitality, unique architecture, deep rooted traditions, and above all else Jazz music and all that comes from the performance culture of the Crescent City. As an artist, I can’t imagine what my journey would be like without the influence of New Orleans and its many offerings. I was quite busy growing up in the south—I had the pleasure of attending the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, I performed at the regional theatre, Le Petit, right next to the historical St. Louis Cathedral, I sang in church services every weekend at our local church, St. Timothy’s UMC, and even became Miss Louisiana. During my Miss Louisiana tenure, I had the honor of traveling the state as the official hostess for the State of Louisiana and spokesperson for Louisiana Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, the Tobacco Free Living Campaign, and Louisiana Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. On top of all of that, I’ve also been to many an alligator farm, I know the best King Cake spot and where/how to get the best beads at Mardi Gras ; ) and if someone says “Who Dat?”, I know I’m in good company.

My identity is steeped in the soul of Louisiana and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m so grateful to have grown up in such a beautiful, colorful, lively place. Laissez les bon temps rouler.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.

I am an actor and a live-performance singer. I’ve done every “odd job” along the way including wearing a watermelon bodysuit in quite a few Whole Foods handing out samples just to afford to get to the place where I can really say I make my living as a singer and actor. I’m not gonna lie, when I moved to LA after college and began performing professionally, I thought the grind wouldn’t be as difficult as it was. But I’m so glad I had the humbling experiences, rejection, and focus along the way to get to where I am now. Sometimes looking back at where you came from makes the journey that much sweeter and more rewarding.

As far as performing goes, I’ve had the opportunity to try a little bit of everything! My proudest moment was singing ‘Climb Every Mountain’ during the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music at Miss America to over eight million viewers world wide. The icing on top of the cake was winning the Talent Competition and placing top-5 at Miss America. It was such a special experience and I’m so grateful to the Miss America Organization for all they do for young women. Now, I’ve been in Los Angeles for just over six years (still can’t believe that) and have had the opportunity to play lead roles in multiple short and feature films—including the most recent Lifetime film, The Pass. I am recurring on Indieflix and Seeka TV in the hilarious web series Bothered written and produced by my incredible friend Julie Phillips. I also had the opportunity to act in the riveting web series The White Room by another wonderful creator, David Beatty and flex some comedic muscles in Derek Deloy the Pool Boy from the delightful world of Emerson Niemchick. Additionally, I had the pleasure of appearing on Hulu’s Veronica Mars, ABC’s To Tell the Truth, Snapchat TV’s Solve, CBS’s Pink Collar Crimes and co-produced and starred in the award-winning short film Pokerface written and directed by my very talented friend Emerson Niemchick.

And on the singing front, I’ve been grateful to tour with the Fabulous Yachtsmen, sing in the Frog Choir at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, perform as a company member of the Beverly Belles (while appearing on Hallmark TV) and all over the country. On top of that, I have performed at Disneyland and on the high seas onboard Disney Crusielines and Cunard Cruise lines, while also singing recently with the Second Star Big Band for Disney World Beat’s Japan tour. I am ecstatic to be able to go back to Japan this August on a month-long tour singing all over the beautiful country.

Ultimately, I love creating with friends, jumping into new challenges and learning from others’ expertise. Supporting my friends gives me the most joy in this industry.

Reflecting on the last six years, I think my main takeaway from my career thus far is this—It’s ok to admit that you don’t know everything and it’s ok to not be amazing the first time you try something. But I truly believe if you’re curious, you continue to ask questions and work hard, you’ll find your “niche”!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh my gosh! I’ve done this on numerous occasions and I love playing the LA tour guide. A perfect tour day to me starts with some baked goods from Erin McKenna’s and a hike at Los Leones. After the hike, we get a smoothie at Juicy Ladies then go to El Matador Beach for a little exploration and sun-bathing with a potential stop over to the Getty. Then we would come back to my hood, Pasadena, for a little lunch action at Urth Cafe or Sage accompanied by my doggo Lennon (good boy) and then an afternoon stroll at the Huntington Library Gardens. After that we’d top off the night with dinner at Castaway in Burbank. I’m all about the ambience and the views when it comes to restaurants and LA is full of ‘em. That is a perfect day, IMHO.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

My family deserves so much credit. I would not be half the person I am today without them. My parents and my baby bro have always been my biggest supporters and have always pushed me to pursue my passions. My Aunties and Uncles, my Grammy, my Cousins have all come to soooo many performances and they never stop encouraging me. And then, of course, there’s my Husband Dan (good boy #2) who came along while I was in school in Oklahoma and I don’t know if I could’ve found a more supportive partner. I, like so many performers during the pandemic, debated throwing in the towel and my husband looked at me and said, “April, I know times are hard and things feel uncertain, but this is the time to double down.” I’ve been doubling down ever since.

I’ve had so many artistic mentors on my journey. My voice teachers Nancy Assaf and Brenda Holleman were instrumental in my growth as a singer. And out here in LA, I couldn’t imagine my career without the guidance and support of Mark McPherson and my Studio 24 Seven fam. Mark and my peers at the studio have fostered the greatest community for artists to grow and learn. I consider them to be dear friends and mentors. Lastly, my friends are the glue that hold me together. It would be a hard life and an even harder business to take on without them. I’m incredibly grateful and lucky to have them.

Website: imdb.me/aprilnelson

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aprillynnnelson/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aprilynnelson

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtER3rjWTyHBhkr6RVtDWEw

Image Credits
Emerson Neimchick Kelli Neimchick James Depietro

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.