Celebrating Black History Month 2024: Nicole Comer

February 14, 2024

Nicole Lorraine Comer was born with a song in her heart. Whether she’s performing jazz standards and original melodies as LadyLove – her stage name – or in her role as assistant director of operations for patient transport and patient safety attendance with TouchPoint Support Services, she strives to hit all the right notes. Compass Group celebrates Nicole as part of Black History Month and as someone who exemplifies the theme of Black Futures – African Americans in the Arts.

Introduced to music by her jazz singer father and her soft rock mother, Nicole grew up in a family that would sing songs around the house and at gatherings with relatives and friends. At six years old, she and her twin sister Bianca harmonized the gospel spiritual “Trees Don’t Want to Be Mountains” in their church choir. It proved a powerful experience in public performance at such a young age.

“I still remember the feeling, it gave us a lot of confidence,” Nicole shared. “And I loved what my sister and I together were giving in that moment with our voices.”

Nicole and her twin were inseparable when it came to singing. In 5th grade, on their way to performing at a big event at school, her sister fell sick with the flu and could not sing.

“My heart dropped because it would be the very first time that I ever sang by myself,” Nicole recalled. “I thought to myself, I have to do this because I can’t let my sister down, I can’t let my family down, and I definitely can’t let the students down.”

She performed Anita Baker’s “Fairy Tales” alone and, to her astonishment afterward, the whole audience stood and applauded her. “I was so honored,” Nicole said. “A legendary gospel singer was there because her daughter was one of the dancers. I looked to see her response and she gave me a nod, and from that that point forward I knew I could do it alone if I had to.”

In high school, Nicole joined several choirs that represented different genres of music, studied music theory and learned how to write music. She naturally gravitated to the arts at Wayne State University where she started dancing. Then she pivoted her focus to marriage and raising a family. Like her own childhood, she sang to her kids and filled their home with music. All three of her sons grew up to be standout solo musicians.

Nicole and her twin sister joined their cousin’s band, JSurrender, and she continued to hone the alto and contralto range of her voice. She cites as influences Sarah Vaughn’s “very sultry, very lulling, very calming voice,” the “fun rhythms” of Michael Jackson’s songbook and the “saucy, sassy, one-of-a-kind voice” of Whitney Houston.

Nicole’s talent has led her to do background vocals for R&B singer Keith Washington and open for Charlie Wilson and the Mary Jane Girls. She currently performs with the Satin Dolls, a group of seven women who portray jazz icons. And in the tradition of the great jazz singer Nat King Cole and his daughter Natalie Cole, Nicole and her father perform duets together.

Just as the discipline of connection – to listen and be present – contributes to Nicole’s musicality, she applies it in her patient care work at the hospital since joining TouchPoint in 2017.

“I try my best to feel where patients are, just like I feel a note or hear harmony,” Nicole added. “Your mind can’t wander when you’ve got to hit a certain note, and if I can give a patient the best experience like I give my audience the best experience, it’s very fulfilling for me.”

The song that was born in her heart now resonates in her soul.

Listen to Nicole sing at ladylovemusic.com.