Singer-Songwriter Nicolena Cronin knows all too well the hurt that a loss of a loved one brings during the holiday season. She lost her grandfather on Christmas Day when she was 11 years old.
“The holidays are often hard for people who have lost a loved one, and I feel that this song has the ability to bring a bit of closure and comfort to those who are hurting this holiday season,” she noted of her new composition, “December 25th.”
The Mount Laurel native wrote the song in honor of her late grandfather. It was released on Nov. 24, just in time for the holiday season.
“I should be saying thank you to that bottle of cream soda, cause with every last sip it gave me a shoulder and I should be saying thank you to that hospital window cause even though they didn’t want me to it gave me my last glimpse of you.”
The song celebrates life, love, and the lessons Cronin learned from her grandfather, along with the things she wished she could have learned from her grandmother, who died before she was born.
Cronin has been making a name for herself in the last two years as a budding singer-songwriter in the South Jersey area. To date, she has three other songs that have been released on streaming platforms: “Sometimes,” “Side of Change” and “Back In.”
Cronin credits her upbringing for an eclectic style that reflects on moments with her father – who plays the guitar – and her grandfather, learning to play instruments like the flute, piano, ukulele and guitar. She highlights her proud Irish roots as another avenue of inspiration and recently spent a couple of months in Ireland visiting family and writing songs.
At 7, Cronin was an active kid participating in sports – specifically gymnastics – that would ultimately land her in a music room housed in the same building as her sport. She started taking piano lessons from a woman named Liumyla Boreiko, whom she credits for her current creative abilities as a singer.
“I started doing music lessons with her for a few years, (and) honestly, I credit so much of my music career to her,” Cronin noted. “I just feel like without that, I don’t know where I would be right now.”
Both of Cronin’s parents had connections to Mike Birchard – or Mikey B Media, as he’s known in music circles – a producer and member of the band Split Decision. He now helps Cronin produce her own music. The two have spent time in the studio putting out singles.
Although her career is just blossoming, Cronin hopes to one day collaborate with her idol, Taylor Swift. She’s also fond of artists like Green Day and countless others. From the time she was a little girl, Cronin considered herself a performer, given the fact that she was active in so many different art forms.
As time went on, singing became an outlet of self-expression for unspoken troubles.
“I feel like I’ve always been a performer,” she explained. “I’m a very outgoing, expressive human being, but singing really became a thing when it started to be how I dealt with my emotions.”
Cronin describes “December 25th” as heartfelt gratitude and reflection. She will study at Boston’s Berklee College of Music beginning in January.