Interview with Neyla Pekarek of the Lumineers (Westword 8/8/2018)

photo by Andrew Kelly

INTERVIEW: Neyla Pekarek of the Lumineers
by Adam Perry for Westword 8/8/2018

“I’ve always been a super-nerd,” says Neyla Pekarek, cellist, vocalist and pianist for Denver’s internationally renowned Americana band The Lumineers.

“Even in my introduction to the Lumineers, I had listened to so little mainstream music at that point in my life. I was really into musical theater and vocal jazz and things that weren’t necessarily cool. I’ve definitely felt like an impostor most of the time. Where I feel best is when I’m around a bunch of theater nerds or other weirdos like me.”

Pekarek, a Denver native who studied musical theater and music education at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, joined the Lumineers after graduating, much to her parents’ chagrin.

“They were not excited about it,” recalls Pekarek, “partly because I had just paid all this money to get an education to be a teacher. I graduated during the recession, and there were no teaching jobs. I didn’t think this would really be a long-term endeavor, and I think they thought I would grow out of it, too. It just turned out that the band ended up being a more practical job than teaching, at least at the time.”


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