Nora Kirkpatrick

Nora Kirkpatrick grew up in rural Midwest, and studied in Spain, England and Africa before graduating from UCLA's school of Theatre, Film and Television in 2007. She has been working steadily in both TV and Film since her graduation, most recently playing Esther, Dwight's new love interest from the farm, on the final season of NBC's The Office.

Active in the indie film world as well, Nora has a supporting role in the film Big Sur, starring Kate Bosworth, that screened at the Sundance Film Festival this year.
She has two other films coming out in 2013: Sexy Evil Genius, starring Seth Green, and a voodoo thriller Bayou.
Nora is heavily involved in the sketch and improv world, often performing at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Los Angeles. She also co-wrote and starred in two Funny or Die produced and funded webisodes entitled “Happy Place."
On the musical side, Nora has been playing accordion, keyboards and singing in the folk-rock group Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros since its inception in 2009. The band has appeared on Letterman twice, Jimmy Kimmel twice and on Conan three times. Their first album yielded a gold record, Rolling Stone listed the second album in its top 10 for 2012 and the third album comes out in summer. Earlier this month, the band won a GRAMMY with Mumford & Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show for best long-form music video, the film Big Easy Express, that also won the audience award at the SXSW Film Festival. 

The band has played Coachella, Lollapalooza (both in Chicago and South America), Bonnaroo, SXSW, Newport Folk Festival, Outside Lands, among others, and many European music festivals. It curated a series of sold-out concerts and performance art in the Old Vic Tunnels in London at the request of Old Vic artistic director Kevin Spacey.

In her free time, Nora also writes songs and film scores. Her scores have appeared in several short films (Peter at the End, Elliot and others) and she wrote and composed original songs for the upcoming feature film Never, starring Zelda Williams.

R. An interesting journey you've had so far in both television and film. What has been the highlight so far?
NK. Being apart of "The Office" has been a definite highlight. The cast and crew are incredibly welcoming and unbelievably talented. It was an honor to be part of the show.

R. What was it like working with Seth Green and William Baldwin?
NK. Seth Green is one of the funniest people I've ever met. He can get a room laughing like no one else. The whole experience of tat film was great. We shot it in 10 days in one location, like a play. And the writer of his film Scott Lew has an incredibly story. Even though he is almost completely paralyzed by Lou Gehrig's Disease, he still writes diligently every day using these amazing machines that track his eye movement. He is such an inspiration and such a great writer.

R. Tell me a little bit about your experience on "The Office". What was it like being a part of a show which is ending after years of success?
NK. It was a complete honor. Working with Rainn Wilson and the rest of the cast was incredible. They've created such amazing environment over there that really cultivates creativity. It's such a feat to create 9 years of great TV.

R. Musically speaking your also very talented… When did you join the Magnetic Zeros?
NK. I've been with the band since the first album. It's been about 5 year now of touring. I play the accordion, it is a blast. We have our third album coming out late this summer.

R. How did the band get their name?
NK. Edward Sharpe is the name of a fictional character in a novel Alex (the lead singer) was writing. It is not a real person.

R. Thinking back to early childhood, what was your first experience with music for the first time like? What instrument or song do you remember most as a child?
NK. I always loved gospel music, or old doo-wop songs like Sam Cooke. I also love music from Africa, Ethiopa, Bulgaria, a lot of stuff that I find along the way. Big voices singing in groups always gets me.

R. What are your songs about?
NK. They are about a lot of things. But a lot of them deal with questions we all ask ourselves on a daily basis navigating our way through. And a lot of them are about love.

R. How much creative control do you have over your own music?
NK. We put out all our albums on our own label in conjunction with a larger label called Vagrant. Because we record all of them ourselves, we have all the creative control. They are a great support group, but do not try to guide or change our sound. They just like us for us, and want us to do what we do.

R. What has been the biggest challenge for you or the group?
NK. Touring with 10 distinct personalities can sometimes have it's moments, but overall it's really wonderful.

R. What's on the horizon for you?
NK. I have some acting projects in the pipeline and we are about to go on a summer tour of the US and Europe, culminating with a headlining show at the Hollywood Bowl in August.

Last but not Least…

R. What has been your strong influence to continue performing?
NK. I don't know if there's an influence other than my continued curiosity with life's questions and the questions within myself that i feel get dealt with or expressed best through various art forms. Be it through a character in a film or TV show, or through  a song or film score, both acting and music are such viscerally emotional releases, and keep me driven and curious like nothing else. I'll never have them all figured out, but that's the beauty of it. That means I can do it forever.

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Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros