Nields, Nerissa 1967–
Nields, Nerissa 1967–
CAREER: Singer, songwriter, and writer. The Nields (musical group), performer beginning 1991; musician performing with sister, Katryna Nields, beginning 1998; writing workshop leader. Vocalist on recordings (with The Nields), including 66 Hoxsey Street, 1992; Live at the Iron Horse Music Hall, 1993; Bob on the Ceiling, 1994; Abigail, 1995; Gotta Get over Greta, 1996; Mousse, 1998; Play, 1998; If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home Now, 2000; and Live from Northampton, 2001. Vocalist on recordings with sister, Katryna Nields, including Love and China, 2001; This Town Is Wrong, 2004; and Songs for Amelia (for children), 2004.
Plastic Angel (novel; included CD of song "This Town Is Wrong" and "Glow-in-the-Dark Plastic Angel"), Orchard Books (New York, NY), 2005.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Big Idea, a novel; How to Be an Adult, a memoir and self-help book.
SIDELIGHTS: A singer and songwriter, as well as one of the founding members of the musical group The Nields, Nerissa Nields has toured North America, had her music recorded on several major labels, and developed a following among folk-music fans in her native New England. In addition to continuing to perform as a musician, often in a duo with sister Katryna Nields—the two first appeared together in 1998 at Lilith Fair—Nields has broadened her creative horizons through her writing. In addition to launching into the field of children's literature with the novel Plastic Angel, she also conducts writing retreats and a workshop she calls "Writing It up in the Garden" from her home in western Massachusetts.
Released with a CD recording of two songs performed by the Nields, Plastic Angel was described as a "well-written and appealing story" by a Kirkus Reviews contributor. The novel focuses on two thirteen-year-old girls, their struggle with conformity in their upscale suburban community, and their ability to cope with family conflicts. It is through the eyes of Randi Rankin, the down-to-earth daughter of an indulgent musician, that readers meet Angela "Gellie" Riddle, Randi's best friend. A beautiful and talented model/actress, Gellie finds herself in a constant battle with her overbearing stage mother, who wants to dominate her daughter's life and career. Together Gellie and Randi decide to start a band, Plastic Angel. True to form, Gellie's mother rejects the idea, trying everything within her power to get her daughter to withdraw from the band. Gellie is then faced with a serious decision when she lands her first big acting role in a commercial film at the same time the band is scheduled to play its debut gig.
Plastic Angel "moves along well," noted the Kirkus Reviews contributor, "touching issues of family dissent and emerging individuality," while in School Library Journal Diane P. Tuccillo praised the two teen protagonists as "likeable" and cited "Randi's witty and perceptive point of view." Booklist contributor Debbie Carton also praised the "considerable charm" of Nields' teen characters, adding that the "pull between acceptance and self-expression" that these girls deal with in Plastic Angel "will resonate strongly with young teens."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2005, Debbie Carton, review of Plastic Angel, p. 2016.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2005, review of Plastic Angel, p. 594.
People, January 26, 2004, Ralph Novak, review of This Town Is Wrong: Nerissa and Katryna Nields, p. 36.
School Library Journal, September, 2005, Diane P. Tuccillo, review of Plastic Angel, p. 209.
Sing Out, summer, 2002, review of Love and China, p. 130; spring, 2004, Daniele Dreilinger, review of This Town Is Wrong, p. 139.
Nerissa Nields Home Page, http://www.nerissanields.com (November 6, 2005).
Nields Web site, http://www.nields.com/ (November 6, 2005).