Alumnus Nick Poulios delays college for chance at music business

by Paige Goldner
High school graduations are typically followed by summer break, a bittersweet goodbye to family and friends, and a stressful move into a college dorm. After graduation last June, however, Nick Poulios embarked on a far different experience.
Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 1.57.34 PM

Poulios deferred his enrollment into the California Institute of the Arts and began to tour the country with singer Victoria Justice, most famous for her roles in Zoey 101, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and Victorious, and songwriter and producer Max Schneider who stars in the Nickelodeon show How to Rock.
Poulios and Schneider met at a music camp four years ago and have kept in contact ever since. “I worked with him a lot my sophomore year, making music with him in the city,” said Poulios. During his senior year he received a call from Schneider asking him to play keyboard for his band on tour.
Mid-July, Poulios and the rest of the band began rehearsal for the “Make It in America” tour, which ran from Aug. 2 to Sept. 14.
“We played in front of thousands of people every night, and then we got on the bus and drove off to the next show,” said Poulios. He pinpointed the meet and greets, the hour following the performance dedicated to meeting fans, as the most exciting part of the tour: “Fans would run for autographs and pictures… It was a rush.”
While most 19-year-olds were sitting in English 101, Poulios was sitting at his keyboard on legendary stages. Webster Hall in New York City, the Chicago House of Blues, and the Roxy in Los Angeles were Poulios’s most memorable venues.“There were huge lines around the sidewalk,” said Poulios.
Poulios plans to remain in Los Angeles, which he describes as “a big hub for people who want to be recorded.”
His connections within the “hub” have presented him with several new opportunities. On Nov. 7, Poulios played keyboard on FOX’s The X Factor. “Two of my friends had played on the show before, so the producers asked them for a keyboard player who could sub,” he said.
Although he is not in college, Poulios continues to keep busy writing and producing music. Currently, he is producing an album for Jordyn Taylor, a young singer who has recently signed to a label in Japan.
Many projects are on the horizon for Poulios and the rest of Schneider’s band, such as a performance in Hawaii on Dec. 23, and opening for Action Item on its five-day tour in January.
“College isn’t really what is good for me right now,” Poulios said about his decision to work in the studio. “There is a lot of stuff that I’m learning by just playing with musicians and being in L.A., which I wouldn’t learn from being in Valencia [at the California Institute of Arts].”
Poulios believes that energy and drive are vital to success in the music industry. “It doesn’t matter if you’re thirty and you’ve got your master’s degree and studied with the best composer; if you’re not constantly working and trying to improve yourself, it doesn’t mean anything,” he said.