With more than 700,000 monthly Spotify listeners and a recent tour with rapper NF under their belt, the members of Nightly have quickly made a name for themselves in Music City.
Nightly is the creative product of cousins Jonathan Capeci and Joey Beretta. The two have been in and out of bands with each other since they were 12 years old.
“Some people played sports after school, we mostly just made music,” Capeci said.
The family tie strengthens their creative relationship, but they’ve really known no different.
”We can get into fights occasionally but know that it’s all good still,” Capeci said. “We give each other a little extra forgiveness.”
The name Nightly came from the shorthand text-speak of “night, love you.” The band’s connection with new ideas of romance and interpersonal relationships gives it a uniquely modern sound.
“We always had a clear vision of what we wanted to do, and that came through a series of really bad songs that eventually got better,” Beretta said.
Originally from Philadelphia, the band relocated to Nashville to start taking music more seriously.
“We had some friends and family here suggesting we should come here to meet industry people,” Capeci said.
The unique musical culture Nashville offers gave them a new perspective on their art.
“Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of people to look up to who did music full time beyond music teachers or classically trained musicians,” Capeci said. “There’s something magical about walking down the street and seeing record labels and studios and running into someone whose job is just to write songs.”
The two spoke at a convocation on Wednesday to serve as the examples they never had for Belmont’s aspiring musicians. They shared their insight on everything from the songwriting process, to connecting with the right people, to life on tour.
“It’s important to us to do these sorts of things, because when we were younger we didn’t have someone telling us this was possible,” Beretta said.
For students wondering if now is the time to get started in the industry, Capeci encouraged them to go for it.
“You don’t have to wait until after college, now might actually be the best time,” he said. “No timing is ever going to be perfect, it’s just about evolving into that.”
The first step would be to form a cohesive band whose members can bounce ideas off of each other to push the limits of the group as a whole, Beretta said.
“Part of maturing as a band is being comfortable in our strengths and each other’s weaknesses,” Beretta said. “When you’re in a group of people creating, you need to put your pride aside.”
Once that creative process is underway, the duo emphasized that the people involved in any creative endeavor are the key to keeping the momentum going.
“It’s about people who want to let you be creative and not put you in a box,” Capeci said. “They should be lucky to work with you — don’t downplay that value that you have.”
Nightly is one of many alternative-pop groups to call Nashville home. Such a crowded music scene can be daunting for many artists, but Nightly sees it more as an opportunity to grow.
“The pop scene in Nashville is really cool, because you connect and feel like you’re all doing it together,” Capeci said. “I don’t think it’s competitive, because you’re really only competing with yourself since people listen to so much music.”
That idea of the endless supply of instantly accessible music doesn’t necessarily take from their success, it adds to their level of authenticity, Beretta said.
“Oversaturation is one of the best things to happen to music, because everyone can see through the fake stuff.”
He echoed his cousin’s ideas about the sense of community and Southern hospitality the Nashville music industry brings.
”It’s competitive in that there are so many talented people, but it’s not cutthroat here. People aren’t trying to screw you over to get to the next thing or anything like that,” Beretta said. “There’s a broader sense of community here, and people are looking out for each other.”
With its first headlining tour starting later this month, the band has been working hard to step up its production, lighting and set.
“One of the ways you know you’ll be good as a musician is a need for variety,” Beretta said. “You get restless doing the same thing for an extended period of time, and you’re always ready for the next thing. That’s where we are right now with the tour.”
They’ll be hitting the road on Feb. 22 and finishing out the tour with a “chosen hometown” show at Exit/In on March 31.
The upcoming tour promises new sounds and new singles, the first of which will be released the day they kick off the tour.
With all the new steps the band is taking, it’s important for the members to remember and implement their own advice.
“If you view failure as a learning opportunity, then you have nothing to be afraid of,” Capeci said.
And their genuine enthusiasm means any bumps in the road they may face will roll right off their backs.
“The thing that matters is that you are you,” Capeci said. “We don’t need another John Mayer or Post Malone. They’re great, but we need a you, because the public hasn’t seen that yet.”
Photo by Will Renner, courtesy of UMUSIC Experience.