NANDO: Rising Music Artist with Unique Style and Impressive Talent

Written by: Monica McCafferty
Photographed by: Ferrell Dixon Jr.

Fernando Wagner, better known as ‘Nando’ easily catches eyes and ears with his signature Y2K style, glowing complexion, and velour voice; all the elements he presents are extremely well done. High standards, taste, perfectionism -  these self-admitted traits have led to a small but solid body of work and foundation for more chart-knocking music to come.


Nando may fly under the radar for a few reasons; his primary producing studio has, until recently, been located in Nashville. But with the expansion of high-quality producing opportunities in Tulsa, he is now working locally and accelerating the pace of his work. Nando is also completely self-funded. A successful career in finance allows him a lot of freedom to work on his music from a place of independence and self-actualization. He even does his own photoshoots, ensuring that his clear vision comes to life.


Confidence in his talent and vision comes from a true well within Nando, mastered through experience with high-level mentors and parents who instilled a sustainable value of quality and success. At 18 years old, Nando landed a top 3 spot in ‘My Big Break’, a singing competition hosted in Tulsa, which allowed him exposure to high-level producers and studio time. Between then and returning to making music in 2021, Nando worked his way through college, began a corporate job, and admittedly settled into the comfort of that lifestyle as the course of his art simmered on low - but his dream of making music carried on.


The recent switch to Tulsa for production, addition of a spare bedroom turned studio, and increasing local interest to showcase him as a performer, have amassed momentum toward releasing more songs. Nando now finds himself in a season of pressing the petal on his dream. “Even to be at a place where we are able to create is such a privilege… I need to not take this privilege for granted, stop being too comfortable, and really give it all I’ve got,” says Nando.


Reflecting on some of his peer’s successes, Nando says he “saw the power of what one really good song could do. When I’m mixing my music, I’m listening to the top 10, top 20 songs at the moment…What’s hot right now, and where do I fit? That’s my standard,” says Nando.


“I see those who are doing it on a grander scale, and I don't see any difference between me and them…but I’m one amongst, how many artists that want the same thing? It's just consistency - like with anything, you never ever stop. I will only never make it the day I stop.”


Even with Nando’s steadfast capability and confidence, he admits that the shadow of imposter syndrome still heavily casts. “I end up listening to a song a thousand times before it's out, so by the thousandth time, I’m kind of over it - just ready to let it go and move on to the next song... It's so vital for me to keep going: to hear feedback.”


His first released original song came out in 2021, ‘Me n You’, followed by an EP of Christmas covers, and in summer 2023: his latest single ‘Down’. Covers have been a big part of Nando’s development over the years. Working through the Michael Buble catalog, he began to fall in love with jazz music. “I can sing a lot of the classic jazz standards and American classic songbook - I know it all by heart…I’m a singer at the end of the day, so just getting up and singing, really crafting your instrument - that's what I use covers for. But to establish artistry, you can only be as good as your own music.”


Though Nando is content working on his craft and building up a larger base of original songs, performing more is also on the horizon. “I always say that recording is perfecting the sound, and performing is expressing yourself - there is not a standard of it being perfect, it’s just about creative expression,” he says.


Keep an eye out for upcoming opportunities to take in a bit of Nando’s talent and music through recorded live studio sessions and maybe a cozy Christmas special. Fingers crossed.


Follow itsnando_ on Instagram and find Nando on Spotify for previous releases, including the Me n You music video.