EXCLUSIVE : Interview with Nikko Gray

Sve je krenulo prilično bezazleno. Na Last.fm-u slušala sam Muhsinah radio, i naletela na Eyelash Wishes, stvar sa albuma LOVE SEEN by Nikko Gray (sve njene stvari možete da čujete ili kupite ako kliknete na LOVE SEEN).

Nikko 1

Easy going & mellow, catchy refreni, interesantni tekstovi, sjajan glas. Nešto poput Ragen Fykes i pomenute Muhsinah, pinch of Yukimi Nagano, a bit of Andreya Triana, a speck of Nneka – seriously, what’s not to like?

LOVE SEEN je poseban, zato što raspolaže sa najrazličitijim pesmama, od onih ultimativno ženskih, mekih i dubokih, poput Love Scene,

preko gleeful & sassy Nail Polish-a, sa simpa tekstom i opasnom produkcijom,  do ubedljivih hitova, sa odličnim ritmom i mellow vokalom poput Angles and Demons, i naravno mog favorita – Eyelash wishes , najdominantnije stvari na albumu, bar što se mene tiče.

Uglavnom, u toku spremanja  projekta čiji sam i sama deo (o čemu će ovih dana biti reči), palo mi je na pamet da uradim neku vrstu intervjua sa nekim od muzičara čiji album intenzivno vrtim tih dana. Nikko was kind enough da nam svima izađe u susret.


Hi Nikko, how’s the weather in L.A.?

NIKKO: Right now it is lovely and Sunny. Just how I like it!

So … in really broad terms, your music would fall in category of neo soul, soul and r’n’b. Is that generally where you see yourself?

NIKKO: I think I see myself in slightly broader terms. I like to say I make LOVE Music. There is no Box for LOVE, only infinite possibilities. I feel like there are so many sounds that I am influenced by and that I feel I'm able to create, that if I had a specific genre attached to my Art it would limit me. Of course there is a lot of soul in my sound, that's where the sound comes from. I suppose people can call it whatever they wish to call it. It's all open to interpretation.

You grew up in England and Netherlands. How much do you think that growing up in a city as London, with such diverse and rich music culture, determined your particular style?

NIKKO: I definitely have a huge appreciation for not only having had the opportunity to experience the European side of music, but also for my mothers influence on musical exposure. We listened to everything in our house. Miles Davis, The Beatles, Youssou N'Dour, Finley Quaye, Bach, Edith Piaf, George Michael. All were huge influences on my musical taste after my mother showed introduced me to their music. I can remember growing towards artists such as Massive Attack, Radiohead, Mariah Carey, The Cure and The Fugees on my own as I became a little older. 

Nikko 2

There is this joke about London, or perhaps England in general - that music is brilliant because people don’t know what else to do in such bad weather conditions.  Was that the time when you actually start thinking about music? :)

NIKKO: Haha! Well I must say I don't really rememeber  the weather that vividly. But now that I live in Cali, I really do appreciate the Sun. I think I always wanted to sing because I adored my mother and wanted to be like her when I was little. I think when I was about 5years old I wanted to dance like Madonna. And when I was 7 I learned all the Mariah Carey songs by heart and knew for sure I wanted to be a singer. 

We really enjoyed your collaboration with Afta 1. How was it for you?

NIKKO: It's been amazing. We're just wrapping up our EP right now. I've learned so much about the creative process through being around him. How constant that process is. He listens to every sound around him at all times. We could be walking down the street and he'll point out the rhythm the Motor of the Bus is making at the Bus stop for example. I've learned how to listen more. I appreciate the openness he carries in his spirit.

 AFTA-1 - H(eye)LAND ft. Nikko Gray

I’ve read on your Facebook page that Raphael Saadiq contacted you, and that something new is cooking. Can you tell as more about your current projects?  Is there a new collab on the sight?

NIKKO: It's funny because we've been in contact over the past 5 years on and off via different sources. We've spoken many times and though various different circumstances have missed meeting up in person by a fraction of time. I'm sure that when the time is right, we will land in the studio together. I adore his work and would love to collaborate. It's been in the works for a while, so it's coming :-)

Is there anyone in particular, that you would really want to collaborate with? Singer or producer?

NIKKO: I absolutely love everyone I'm working with right now. Of course I am open... but it's funny. I no longer have a big list of people I am dying to work with. I love Bilal, James Blake, Badu, Saadiq, Prince, George Michael. I would of course be thrilled to work with them. Equally as thrilled to keep creating and learning more about myself as an artist at this particular moment.


I’ve already mentioned Love Scene as one of the songs that speaks for itself, the ultimate girls song with strong and vibrant lyrics. I have to ask you this regarding the name of your album and this particular song , i guess it’s deliberately ambiguous - is there some kind of story behind it?

NIKKO: Yes there's a story and a half behind it! :-) Basically the songs were inspired by a romance I was experiencing right around the time we started working on the album. It was an experience that brought all these words out of me and I would write for hours about it. At the time I was writing the album, I felt as though my emotions were so dramatic. As if it were a movie. That's the Love Scene part. Although, we were never able to be together, there is an understanding I am fascinated with. I was able to bathe in the whole experience, witness, and see it all. That's the Love Seen part. We're still friends to this day. I think he is as pleased with the outcome as I am.

You live in L.A. right now. There’s some pretty good music coming from there these days – correct me if I’m wrong : FlyLo and The Gaslamp Killer, Madlib, Dudley Perkins, Georgia Anne Muldrow… I mean, what do you think of L.A. scene right now?

NIKKO: I absolutely love it! There's so much wonderful talent around me, I'm so inspired and grateful to be a part of it. There are so many amazing people making wonderful music. It's lovely.

I ask everyone this question : How would you describe yourself in one snappy line?

NIKKO: I am a lover . It's really that simple .

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