ELM CREEK — A rural Elm Creek woman has made her place on the Country Main and IndieWorld music charts.
Since Nicki Rezac released her new country single, "Where Have I Been All My Life," nationwide and in Canada on Dec. 18, she has moved from 49 to 44 on the Country Main music chart. Her spot is just behind Trace Adkins’s "Still a Soldier," and one notch above Brad Paisley’s "Heaven South." Rezac also sits at 25 on the IndieWorld music chart.
"Some days I wake up, and I’m like, ‘Is this for real? Is this a dream or what?’" Rezac said.
Rezac, 48, said she has been dreaming of hitting the charts and having her music played on the radio since she was a little girl singing into a hairbrush in front of the mirror.
"Yeah, it was always a dream, and my parents taught us to be realists too. And, you know, I went to college, and taught school for 10 years, and then went back to school and I’m a nurse now," said Rezac, who is a Licensed Practical Nurse at Heartland Pain Clinic in Kearney.
"And I was fine with this not being, maybe, you know, maybe my main career, because I feel like God did give me a talent, and I feel like I have used it well over the years. But for this to happen to me, it’s enough," she continued as tears welled up in her eyes.
Rezac, who grew up on an acreage between Pleasanton and Kearney, said she has been working for years to achieve her musical goals. Rezac said she got her misical start as a first-grader at Pleasanton Public Schools.
With hair down to her waist, while wearing a little jean skirt and a shirt made of pastel-colored patches, Rezac sang her first solo, "Love Isn’t Love ‘Til You Give it Away," to the entire school.
"It was (fifth-grader teacher) Mrs. Green’s retirement tea party," she said.
From then on, Rezac continued to sing in school. Her grandparents and parents, Mike and Sandy Peterson, now of Riverdale, also drove Rezac to perform in talent contests and different churches.
Over the past 15 years, Rezac has sung in different bands and currently performs original and cover songs with her son, Morgan Rezac, in the Nicki Rezac Band. She has also been recording music in Nashville the last 23 years, but her music hadn’t been released to every major station in the United States and Canada nor had it been on a professional record label until now.
In 2005, Rezac first recorded "Where Have I Been All My Life," written by Jeremy Stover, with her friend Mike Chapman, the bass guitar player for Garth Brooks.
But they didn’t finish the project, Rezac said, because "life happened.’
After Chapman died of cancer in December 2016, the lead engineer on the project, Frank Green, contacted Rezac to join his new record label, Skytone Entertainment.
Green told Rezac, "‘Mike always wanted you to finish this project. It was always his dream,’" Rezac said.
The hit ballad is one of five songs that Rezac recorded at Skytone.
"So I recorded this song, like (at) 1:30 in the morning, and all of a sudden my producer was like, ‘This is what’s going to be your new single. This is not what I thought was gonna be our single,’" Rezac said. "And from that moment on, it was like Mike (Chapman) came to life. And it’s super cool to me because Mike’s playing on it, he’s playing bass on it, because we kept his bass part."
Rezac also connects to the lyrics of the song.
"One of my favorite lines in it is, ‘I’ve gave it all for nothing gained.’ And how many times in our life have we felt like we’ve given everything and got nothing in return?" Rezac said.
Listeners also connect with the music, Rezac said, which she attributes to the song’s popularity.
"It’s one of those songs that can, it can reach a lot of people, and it means a lot of different things to people," Rezac said. "So I think that’s why it’s getting a lot of radio play right now."
The new hit single is keeping Rezac busy with radio interviews, but she hopes to soon get back to playing music.
"... I really wanna get out to my fans, and I really wanna play and just tell people thank you. I appreciate it," she said.