Can you give us a little background information about yourself as a performer?
I started singing as a little girl and my mom recognized there was something different about my voice; I didn’t have a normal little girls’ signing voice. There was something more there. So she asked me if I wanted to sign up for singing lessons and of course I said yes right away. At this point I was about 7 years old and I loved singing but I was so mad at my singing teacher because she was making me sing these childlike songs when all I wanted to do was sing the songs on the radio. Which is funny because that’s still all I want to do haha, just now my own songs are on the radio. From there I went on to performing at various competitions and showcase over the next several years, while also spending a lot of time in the recording studio really developing my sound and my style, which is one of the best things I have ever done; to really play with all the different styles and direction my voice could go and then deciding what felt right and what sounded really great and fun to me, and most of all, natural. After spending a few years with a management team in New York City that had me in New York and L.A. a bit, I then decided it was time to reinvent myself. And so I came to Nashville. It’s the best decision I have ever made in my life and in the 5 years I have been here, my vocal chops, my songwriting, and my performing have all grown tenfold. And I’ve blossomed in some pretty neat ways.
You have just released a new single, Favorite Hello (Hardest Goodbye). What process did you employ from the initial germ of thought about music to recording it?
Well for me, writing a song starts off as predominantly a melodic experience. It’s a melody I’m humming as I’m driving or cleaning or what not. I grew up loving pop music and I still do. So I naturally gravitate to catchy pop melodies, therefore I tend to recognize them easily too. So when I’m humming along and I hear something that I thing sounds like a catchy one line melody, and that I’m pretty sure doesn’t belong to anyone else, haha, then I’ll grab my phone and record it. And either save it for when I’m sitting down to write or develop the idea right there. And it’s about repetition, building that melody, trying it as a 4 line hook, does it work? Does it lose my interest? Does it get annoying? Is it so annoying that you can’t stop singing it and therefore it’s a keeper! And then I work with the verse melodies and what transitions well into and out of the hook? Next I decide what vibe these melodies are giving me, what mood are they putting me in. And that helps decide the content of the lyrics and what message I want to give here. Luckily as a songwriter, we all have an iPhone full of lyric and melody ideas at our fingertips that we’ve been saving and jotting down as the ideas come to us, so we can pull from there and reconnect with where that idea or thought or feeling originally came from.
Which musicians possess the greatest influences to your overall sound?
Gosh there are so many that influence my sound whether I realize it or not, you know? I love Miranda Lambert and her music and draw from the vulnerability of her softer side. I love Ashley Monroe and the way her music combines both contemporary and traditional sounds, and that quality of her voice where she has this slight yode. It’s just gold. And I tend to have some really “country” qualities in my voice at times that I embrace and never shy away from because it’s all part of being uniquely you.
While an artist’s font of influences may change over time, one thing we’ve noticed is that a musician continually grows and changes. How has your music evolved since your earliest music?
My music has actually become more organic over time; less machines and computers and more instruments. I started out heavy into the pop/r&b scene, which don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against because I love that type of music. I listen to it daily! I love all types music. However my early music never allowed me the opportunity to experience singing with a guitar or with a band. And performing with a band is one of my absolute favourite parts of this whole journey, so I’m thankful I get to do it now because it’s so much fun to have a team of people on stage with you; we laugh, play music, and have a great time! Another major way that my music has evolved is lyrically. I mean, no doubt about it. Before, I would write and sing about anything a manager or label rep or music industry person told me I should write and sing about. But now, I only write and sing from my heart.
How can listeners hear samples of your music?
They can head to my website www.nikkishae.com and head to the music page!
What other events, music, and matters does the rest of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 hold for you?
My single was just released in the UK and it’s been getting great reception and feedback! So my next step is to plan a radio tour and get face to face with all these incredible fans who have been enjoying this song. I’m just so thankful and so excited!
What has been more of a boon for you – traditional word of mouth meeting or online (Soundcloud/Facebook) interactions?
Online social media has been huge and so great to me. I’ve made so many friends that way that maybe can’t come to town for a show, but they tune in online, you know? And I’ve kept these friendships up for years now, so Facebook and Twitter have been good to me.
Generally, what has the role of the internet been for you as a performer?
The internet has played an integral role for me as a performer and Artist. My career is my business and the internet has allowed me to build my business, advertise and market it, and reach places in the world that would be physically impossible any other way. Also, as I mentioned before if I’m doing a show in Nashville but fans in other states or countries or even continents can’t come to Nashville, they can tune in live, which is incredible! They get the real time experience that without the internet, they would have never even known who I was…ever.
How has Nashville helped and hindered your career?
Nashville has helped my career tremendously. I’ve learned a lot in such a short amount of time. And there’s so much talent here that it forces you to raise the bar for yourself; it makes you want to be better and pushes you to be the best you can be. Practice more. Be bolder. Go after opportunities, don’t wait for them to come to you. Being here you get to learn from the best musicians and songwriters too, so you become a sponge and soak it up and just strive for better and better.
Has it hindered me? I don’t feel it has hindered me. I mean we only hinder ourselves. But if I’m forced to say something here then maybe it could hinder someone to be in a town full of so much talent and wonder why these people have not “made it”? And then you could start losing hope and faith in yourself because if “so and so” hasn’t been signed (and you think they’re the best singer, songwriter, guitar player, performer you’ve ever seen) well then there’s no hope for you. I don’t know…it’s all your frame of mind really.
Finally, do you have anything else that you would like to mention about yourself, your music, or anything else to our readers at NeuFutur?
I just want to give huge shout out to all my friends and fans on Twitter and Facebook! We chat every day so you know who you are! Thank you to everyone who has bought my single; this song is so special to me and I love that you are on this road with me. And thank you NeuFutur for chatting with me and for supporting artists like you do.
Everyone stay on touch with me on my social media sites and let’s get to know each other!