She is: Nicole Khoury balances careers in law, music, philanthropyWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Nicole Khoury’s look reflects her multiple roles in the Toledo community. She is wearing a classic suit — but her hair is streaked with blue.
Khoury has her own law practice and also works part time for the public defender’s offices in Sylvania and Maumee. And when she isn’t working, Khoury is rocking out with her cover band, Arctic Clam. Oh, and she runs her own nonprofit, Project iAm, a charity that provides funds to Toledo-area children with autism for various needs.
“I love what I’m doing right now. This is a great time in my life. I can’t imagine changing anything, except maybe I’d like to sleep a little more than I do,” Khoury said with a laugh.
Khoury, a University of Toledo law school grad, grew up in Toledo’s South End with her three younger sisters. From the beginning, music has been a big part of her life.
“My dad’s whole side of the family is vocally very talented. My dad was in a band his whole life. He’s an amazing guitar player, a great harmonica player. My mother’s side of the family sang and played the piano and choirs and everything like that. So from being born, I always say I knew about Jimi Hendrix before I knew about math,” she said.
The singer/guitarist began playing acoustics with Mick Mason since 2006, before getting more band members and officially becoming Arctic Clam in 2011. Music serves as Khoury’s respite from her busy work schedule.
“The law is so hard on the heart, and it’s so hard on your soul and the mind,” she said. “So you throw in something like music, that really balances it out and lets me go up and have a great time and lose a lot of energy and that stress.”
Still, Khoury emphasized how much she values her day job. “If I didn’t love what I did though, I wouldn’t do it. I’m very lucky to love my job,” she said.
Part of what made Khoury stick around Toledo is its criminal defense community, she said.
“It is amazing. You walk into another courtroom somewhere else and … it’s not the feeling you have here. Everyone really works together here,” she said.
Toledo in general has allowed Khoury to flourish. “It would take a lot to pull me away because I’m not going to be able to move to a big city and make the money that I make in the time that I make it and be able to be a rock star and have a charity,” she said.
Khoury has big hopes for her city’s Downtown. “I want to see more people living down here and once we get all this going, then the stores will start coming and we’ll start to have our own little, mini-Chicago,” she said, adding that she believes that is the direction the city is headed.
“I would love to see Downtown what it is on a Friday or Saturday night or what it is after a Mud Hens game all the time,” she said.
Khoury is bringing Pittsburgh-band Rusted Root to the Shops at Fallen Timbers for a Sept. 21 benefit concert. Tickets are $11 and are available at http://aboutprojectiam.com/. Khoury started Project iAm after talking with her best friend, whose child has autism, about the struggles families can face when it comes to finances.
“I don’t ever want a family not to get their kid tested or not seek a treatment,” she said.