Danielle Nicole Schnebelen’s path of music started with her family while she was very young. As she grew older and wanted to be a part of her older brothers’ band, Trampled Under Foot, she had to learn how to play bass to be included.
“I got laughed at a lot as a female bassist starting out because I wasn’t great,” she said.
For an instrument not traditionally picked up by young girls, she stuck with it and said she loved it once she got past the anger and frustration.
“Once I got the hang of that, it got a lot of fun,” she said.
Now she’s an award-winning bass player with her own original band and they’re playing the Levitt AMP Concert Series in Carson City on Saturday. It will be her first time she and her band play Carson.
Schnebelen said she’s happy to be part of the Levitt AMP concert series in Carson City because she has played the series in other parts of the country, including Memphis, Tennessee, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
“It’s a really great community,” she said. “Every time we play it, it’s really positive and it’s really professional.”
She said the fans who come to these concerts are there for the music. She said the band looks forward to playing new places, and they especially look forward to places that already have a very welcoming community musically, like Carson City.
“It makes it way more worthwhile driving hundreds of thousands of miles and to be part of a group that is there for the music and experience,” she said.
Schnebelen’s music fits into original roots, soul, and blues, but she said she classifies the music as American music because it touches a little bit of everything and it’s all original.
The band comes as a trio. Schnebelen sings and plays bass. Brandon Miller plays guitar and Go-Go Ray takes care of the drums. She said the band makes so much music between the three of them, so there isn’t a need for more.
“We let the music speak for itself,” she said. “With the music that we do, we don’t need a lot of extra instruments.”
She said it’s just her voice with the other two bearing their souls.
“I’m lucky to have the bandmembers I have because they put all their creativity into it and it happens to translate together that way,” she said.
Schnebelen has been nominated and won awards ever since she started her solo career in 2014, including a Grammy nomination for Contemporary Blues Album in 2019. She most recently won Best Instrumentalist for bass this year at the Blues Music Awards.
She said it’s humbling to be recognized compared to the people she looks up to. She said she appreciates the recognition, but it’s also hard to accept knowing that there are many other musicians working very hard.
“I don’t feel like there can be a best in every art form,” she said. “It’s subjective to who is experiencing it.”
Schnebelen was singing way before she played bass. She said her family had good taste in music and she grew up listening to Etta James, Bonnie Raitt and Aretha Franklin. Then as she got older, she listened to pop singers Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.
“Thankfully, I was exposed to that at a young age and knew how powerful it is when you put your ‘all’ into it,” she said. “You put your heart and soul into every note.”
For bass inspiration, she appreciates current players John Paul Jones; Corey Duplechin for Tab Benoit; J.T. Cure, who plays for Chris Stapleton; and Nik West.
INSPIRATION TO CHILDREN
Schnebelen said she wants to be an inspiration to all children who want to be musicians and hopes they find an interest in the blues. She said there can be a stigma about the music being boring or sad, and she wants to get rid of those ideas.
“It’s the foundation of America’s music,” she said. “If you can play the blues, you can play anything.”
She also hopes she inspires young women to pick up instruments not traditionally for girls such as bass, drums or saxophone.
“You can do this, and you can earn respect,” she said. “Plus, bass is so much more fun than guitar.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Danielle Nicole at Brewery Art Center’s Levitt AMP Concert Series
WHERE: The Change Companies Stage, 449 W. King St. at the Brewery Arts Center
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13
MORE INFO: daniellenicolemusic.com; breweryarts.org