The daughter of a California cattle rancher, it was in the adobe of the San Joaquin Valley that Claudia Nygaard's music took root. Growing up, she sang in school choirs, with the high school dance band, and in local musical comedy productions.
Winning the Miss Santa Clara title, led to TV commercials and modeling jobs.
It also led to a job for two and a half years as the weather reporter on KNTV Channel 11 News, an ABC affiliate television station in San Jose, California. While at KNTV, Claudia completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater from San Jose State University. She continued to work as the weather reporter until a major layoff left her unemployed.
It was then she began singing with Chuck McCabe. The late Chuck McCabe was a winner of many songwriting awards including the Woody Gutherie Music Festival Songwriting Competition. They performed at ski resorts in the winter, and on Cape Cod, Massachusetts in the summer. Adding "Tom the harp" on bass and harmonica, they toured as a trio.
After three years in that trio, Claudia moved to Los Angeles where she won a talent show at the famous country music emporium "The Palomino". She and her band became well known in Southern California, winning honors two years in a row as one of the hottest bands in town in the Music Connection Magazine "Pick of the Players Poll".
While living in Los Angeles, Claudia also won awards for her songwriting from the Los Angeles Songwriter's Showcase, and for both her singing and songwriting from the Music City Song Festival.
Performing at the San Mateo County Fair 1995
It was at this time that her band began performing at fairs and festivals. Her ability to engage an audience made her a popular fair attraction and she performed at over 150 fairs in nearly all 50 states. Sharing the stage with artists like Glen Campbell, Marty Stuart, John Michael Montgomery, John Anderson, and Marshall Tucker, she performed in front of crowds of up to 14,000.
STAFF SONGWRITER FOR GREENWOOD MUSIC
Encouraged by this success, she moved to Nashville, Tennessee where her writing caught the attention of Greenwood Music who signed her to her first contract as a staff songwriter. There Claudia was able to polish her craft. She has now formed her own publishing company, Cattlelog Music.
During her early years in Nashville, Claudia recorded two original albums:
"Prairie Flowers", and "Stay With You Tonight". She also recorded a gospel recording of well known favorites titled "Tryin To Give Something Back".
They are currently out of print, but a retrospective album with the working
title "Looking Back" is planned that will include past recordings.