Singer, Writer

August 2017
An excellent singer for her own music and others, and a lifestyle blogger for PETA, Nedelle Torrisi grew up studying classical violin and performing in musicals. She also studied jazz voice at Berklee College of Music and finished her degree in voice with an emphasis on jazz/world music history from San Francisco State University. Nedelle also gives some mean love advice, if you ever find yourself in need. Advice From Paradise.

“With the onslaught of information force fed to us every day, I like the idea of simplifying. It's not about how many friends you have, how many fans you reach, or what your "numbers" are. I find that the importance lies with the quality of your relationships and connections with people. Emily Dickinson is my favorite poet, and she has this poem that I recite when I'm feeling FOMO. Just kidding!, though it does feel like a mantra when you read it out loud. This poem works really well for me, since I write a love advice column and work for the animals." - Nedelle

"If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”
- Emily Dickinson

"The idea of putting something in my body that came from a place of pain seemed karmically weird to me."

What sparked your choice of going vegan and when?

I was pretty enraged when I learned how people treat animals when I was 15. At 18 I went vegan because I didn't want to contribute in any way, directly or indirectly, to animal suffering. The idea of putting something in my body that came from a place of pain seemd karmically weird to me (and I'm not even a new age sort of person!).

You seem to have quite an interesting family. Is your mother really an ex-nun and father really an ex-priest? Does anyone else in your family follow the vegan diet and/or do they support yours?

My parents met through a mutual friend in San Francisco, and it was a coincidence that they had both been in the order. My mom had been out for quite some time, but my dad had freshly left the Jesuit order. He was lucky to meet my mom - a total babe, smart, funny, and possibly the sweetest human alive. They've always supported my lifestyle, and everything I do, but my dad was worried about me for a while there. He used to try and slip me some cheese. (Remember, we're 100% Sicilian). He would be like, "It's only a little cheese! What's the big deal?!" He would get so frustrated with me.
Christians tend to use the bible as an excuse to eat meat. "Jesus ate fish" or "God gave us dominion over the animals." How do you feel about these justifications?

I've read some articles about this issue. I know there are some on PETA's website, and there are a lot of bible quotes and passages that contradict the Christian arguments. I've always believed that every sentient creature on Earth has one fleeting life to live, and to take away that life is a terrible thing. If animals could recite the golden rule, I bet they would. I always think of the Virginia Woolf essay, "The Death of the Moth," in which she writes about watching a moth die on her windowsill. She describes the moth's struggle and says, "One's sympathies, of course, were all on the side of life." I feel like empathy is the most powerful virtue, and if we could focus on that more, the world would be a better place.

So, you grew up in a small prison town? If you ever found yourself in prison, which of course you never will, and they didn't offer you vegan meals, would you protest in some way or keep quiet and eat what they give you?

I would first ask to be accomodated, and if they said no, I would probably just not eat the meat. I would have to eat something, though.

"I feel like empathy is the most powerful virtue, and if we could focus on that more, the world would be a better place."

"I try to keep a fluid, open mind to other peoples' views or else I might slip into a misanthropic, myopic rabbit hole."

You seem to collaborate a lot with your non-vegan boyfriend. Does him not being vegan affect your relationship in any way?

For better or worse, I have a lot of dating experience, and I've learned a few things. One is that to be too principled about every aspect of your life makes for a rigid life with lots of disagreeing. I try to keep a fluid, open mind to other peoples' views or else I might slip into a misanthropic, myopic rabbit hole. Most importantly, however, is that no one's perfect. Every relationship is just a big ball o' compromise, so you have to commit to compromising or get out. My boyfriend, Billy Uomo, and I co-produced my upcoming record together, and I'm very pleased with the result - so something's working!

Have you ever wrtten a song about animals or animal rights?

I wrote a song about my dead dog that was on an album I made for Kill Rock Stars. It's called "Tell Me a Story."
You've sang with other artists before, i.e. Sufjan Stevens, and have gone on many tours with your solo project, opening for Of Montreal and more. Was maintaining a vegan lifestyle hard on the road?

I remember going to Italy when I was 18, and it was pretty funny. Luckily, there's pasta and marinara sauce everywhere you go, and lots of veggies and olive oil too; however, sometimes, I would eat Cannellini beans out of a can. I also remember dragging the rest of my family to a vegan restaurant in Florence. I've always relied on creativity and resourcefulness when traveling and touring. In the states, it's just so different now. You can find plant-based food everywhere!

Do you, like many other vegans, think a worldwide vegan diet would have a significant impact on the direction of global warming?

The proof is in the statistics pudding...hell yes! Some people go vegan for that reason alone!


PETA, of course, and the lovely Santé D'or!


I have a new album coming out in 2018 on Frenchkiss Records. Stay tuned...

Special Thanks To: Santé D'or
Photography By: Amanda Farmer