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Exclusive Interview with Nikki Whitehead of Nikki’s Wives

unspecifiedStarting her career at the age of 12, singer Nikki Whitehead always had difficulties locating collaborators who shared her vision. She finally found this in guitarist Dylan Lauzon and drummer Nate Baylor.

And with that, Nikki’s Wives was born.

In the band’s relatively short existence, Nikki’s Wives has found success few bands can imagine. While touring alongside CeeLo Green throughout the summer, Nikki’s Wives released their first EP, For E*V*E*R.

Whitehead took some time to discuss the formation of the band, the EP, and the band’s future.

Nikki, you have said that you “found a creative home” with drummer Nate Baylor and Dylan Lauzon. What was it about the two of them that allowed for the increased creativity?

The connection was almost instant when we first started writing. Sometimes you click with people, and sometimes you just don’t. But writing with Dylan and Nate was so easy and effortless that it made me totally change how I like to write music. It’s really nice because someone always has an idea, or a way to make your idea better. The three of us are always bouncing ideas off one another and helping to make existing ideas better. So that really allows for increased creativity between the three of us together, and separately. 

Your vocals have a timeless quality to them. They definitely stand out, mostly due to the classic smoky sound. What sort of music influenced this singing style?

When I was first learning how to sing in a band, I was very much influenced by girl rock. So chicks like, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Debbie Harry, Fiona Apple… Etc. But as I started to develop more as a singer I listened to a lot of Amy Winehouse, Etta James, Lana Del Rey, and Louis Armstrong. Although these people are all pretty different, I’ve kind of taken inspiration from little bits of all of their voices.

Touring with CeeLo Green must have been quite the experience. What was it like to travel with an internationally known celebrity like Cee Lo?

It was honestly the coolest experience ever. CeeLo and his whole crew treated us like family and went above and beyond to make us comfortable on tour. We learned so much from CeeLo about what it takes to really make it in this business.  He kinda became our mentor by the end of the tour. 

The band’s debut EP, For E*V*E*R, was released this summer. What was the primary influence for the band while writing and recording?

We took a lot of influence from Peter Gabriel while writing our EP. We were listening to a lot of 80’s pop and rock at the time, which comes across in tracks like “Another Lie” and “Lonely Being Cool”. But the whole EP was a huge learning process for us. We learned how to be a band, how to write as a band, and how the three of us fit together. So FOR E*V*E*R is really us kinda figuring out who we are. 

Where did the title For E*V*E*R come from? My speculation is that you titled it this way just to make it harder for me to type.

I think we have all regretted naming it For E*V*E*R at some point because it’s such a pain in the ass to type out. But the title is inspired by a lyric in the first track “Forever,” where I sing “love me for E*V*E*R.” 

Is there one song that you feel like best defines Nikki’s Wives?

I personally feel like the first track of the EP does the best job to describe where our sound is going next. I really like the bad ass vibe that song gives off, and I think it does a good job of defining you. 

I saw that you are very into hip hop like Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Rocky. That’s a far cry from the indie pop that Nikki’s Wives plays. Have those influences played into For E*V*E*R?

The influences from people like Kendrick, Drake, and A$AP aren’t overly apparent because we mostly take inspiration from their vibe and attitude. We like having that badass vibe to our songs and the strength that those rappers put forth in their music. 
What’s next for Nikki’s Wives?

We’re about to head down to Texas for a big music festival with Snoop Dogg. So we’re pretty excited for that. Right now we’re in the studio making some new music and getting ready for touring in the fall. So stayed tuned for some touring and music announcements in late fall/winter!

For E*V*E*R is available now.

 

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Written by Nathan Badley

When Nathan is not writing about music, he might be writing material for his often neglected blog at nathanbadley.com. Or he might be writing something else. Or podcasting. Or playing music. Most likely he is just watching TV thinking about how he should be doing those things. You can tweet him @badlandsbadley and congratulate him on his mad 3rd person writing skills.

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