Nicki Aycox is a versatile television and film actress. She is also a gifted musician. I recently chatted with Nicki about her acting, music, inspirations, feelings when performing and the Ladies of Supernatural convention. Read what she had to say below:
When did you first realize that you wanted to
become an actress?
“That was a very young decision I guess for me. It was really more of a question of what I was going to do. The real question was if I was not going to act would I do something different (laughs). I came from Oklahoma and the arts are not a big thing in the Midwest, so I went to college. It was kinda known by everybody that maybe I shouldn’t be an actress because it’s a really hard life and doesn’t happen easily. But I’ve been acting my whole life since I was a little kid. It was all I really wanted to do so I finally decided to go ahead and give it a try. I put myself through school at Long Beach State and came out here and started auditioning.”
What was your first professional acting job?
“Well, let’s see. It was a movie on HBO. It was in the ’90s with Stephen Rea and Heather Locklear called Double Tap. It kinda opened doors and lead to some bit parts on other shows. It’s very common in this business that when you book something then something else follows and follows because people like to have someone who is busy.”
You have an impressive television and film resume. Which medium do you prefer?
“That’s changed a lot in the last 5 to 7 years really. When I was doing television and film, it was a difficult thing to do because it wasn’t common that actors did both. You were either considered a film actress or you were considered a television actress and it didn’t really crossover a lot, but I did both just because I think for me I really enjoyed doing independent films in between my hiatus from television shows.
They were very different then because film was much slower and the process was slow and you were able to create more. You were able to really become a part of the role much more for film. Television shot so fast and had kind of a quick schedule and ran like a machine and you didn’t have a lot of time to put your own creative energy into the material so at the time, I actually preferred film.
But nowadays, it’s changed a lot and television has become more of your film medium. With so many great shows and with the Internet and cable and all of that, they’re really taking their time with the shows and you can tell there’s a lot of creativity that goes into that television show. Film is starting to shoot on a faster schedule and getting fewer people from theatre. I think that today I would much rather prefer to do a television show than a film.
For me, it’s about doing the work that’s in front of me and also a lot of it has to do with whether I like the people I’m working with. You’re on set with them day and night and it’s really great when you like the people. If that was the case for a television show or a film, it didn’t matter, as long as those factors were there. Supernatural had those factors. It had creative work, great writing and great people to be around. It was a wonderful project to be on.”
Supernatural fans know you as the actress who originated the role of Meg Masters. What was your most memorable moments on that set?
“Gosh, there were so many of them (laughs). For me, it was the day we shot the exorcism when Meg left the show for the first time. That was just a really great day. It was a long, a 13 hour day we spent it all on the exorcism. We were all very prepared. It was long, it was tiring, but both Jared and Jensen came into the room with all this great energy and Jensen had this animalistic intensity going into the scene and so it was just really solid, wonderful work. I felt good about it the whole day and I just kept feeling that it was some great stuff going on there.
It was going to be a great scene for the fans and for the show and it turned out I was right. That feeling was right, you know. I had a professor tell me once that no matter what the scene you should always find a place for humor and that everything in life has humor you just have to look for it. That every scene no matter how sad should have something in that you can find humorous because it helps the scene to become more dynamic. I’ve always followed that.”
You worked primarily with Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. But you also shared some great onscreen moments with Jeffrey Dean Morgan in Salvation. What was it like working with him?
“He’s great. He’s just such a professional. Everything he does comes from a piece of him that’s very organic to his personality so working with him is such a treat. It’s a very relaxing experience so you just kinda stand there and do the lines because you know you’re going to get something really good from him. You don’t have to worry too much about what he’s going to do and you just kinda have to look at him and react to him. I think that anyone who works with Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a very lucky actor.”
In researching you, I learned that your background is musical theatre. Have you
ever dreamed of incorporating your acting and musical background for a venue like Broadway or off Broadway?
“That’s something that’s definitely been a question for me in circulation with representatives and people and especially now that I’ve gotten into putting some music out. I’m very comfortable with my music and I do have some musical theatre and tap style to my music so it’s something that I’m thinking about and something I want to take on. But I think right now I have such a love for playing the instruments and singing as well. I feel like I’m not finished with my instruments and my voice and all of that yet so I’m going to keep on this road for a while. I’ll revisit that thought in a couple of months. But it’s something I’m thinking of.”
Who or what inspires you when creating your music, because your music, like you, is soulful and real?
“I don’t consider myself playing and singing from a technical perspective because, for me, it’s such a personal taste. I just enjoy when I hear a lot of personality and character in music in general. Whether it’s in the instrumentation or in the vocals. A lot of people who I like, let’s just say that they come from an earlier genre (laughs). I like people like Stevie Nicks, Janis Joplin, June Carter Cash. I like these voices that have a charactery style you just can’t just put your finger on who they sound like. I feel like they sing from a lot of emotion.
I also enjoyed listening to Edith Piaf as far as her cabaret style of music goes. That’s kinda where I sorta stay. I kinda start singing a song and letting words come out of my mouth by making a certain pitch or tone with it. I just let my emotions take me on and I kinda just let the emotions write the song. I can go back to the ’20s, Marlena Dietrich. Maybe it’s the theater in me. I like the dramatics. It’s hard for people to understand music from that time because the sounds weren’t computerized. It was just your voice and the instrument.
I knew that going on when I started putting my music out there. The people who like it, will find you. The people who don’t, that’s okay too. And I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised. I’ve had more people enjoying it than I expected (laughs)”
Can you tell us about any memorable moments you’ve had performing on stage?
“There’s always a consistent memorable moment and it’s not necessarily performing music. It also happens in theatre. Sometimes you just keep going and you’re on stage, you can get so involved in what you’re doing and connecting with the audience and you can have a feeling that you’re in the exact spot where you’re supposed to be. You don’t have it all the way through a performance. You just get it in moments and I believe it’s when you’re so connected to the audience, they’re enjoying what you’re doing. You can feel that they’re enjoying what you’re doing and you’ve done your job and you’re happy that they’re happy and all those things come together.
Just talking about it, I’m getting goosebumps and chills. I can be performing and I kinda get this chill that goes down the back of my neck. That’s what it’s all about. You want to show the audience that you care enough to give them a good time kinda like a host at a party (laughs).”
You recently completed your EP Red Velvet Room that includes memorable songs such as Johnny, Charcoal Rain, and My Secret. What was the process of creating this EP like?
“Anytime I create music right now, it’s a new experience because there’s so many different ways to do it. I’m still in the stage when I’m trying different things out, different processes every time I write something. “My Secret” was actually something I already had for quite a while and I didn’t play it for anyone. I sorta kept it to myself for almost a year and finally I played it for Dan Shortley who did the EP with me.
I played the first couple of lines and I stopped and he said that’s good, I like that and it gave me the courage to play it again. As far as the whole EP together, I sorta fell into the nostalgic feeling. I remember living in NY. How I felt walking along Broadway and how the Fall felt and the trees looked beautiful and the crisp air. And I wake up in the morning and I have my coffee and I start thinking about it, my mind goes there.
I would end up in my music room and my goal is just playing the guitar and letting whatever words come to mind. I like to meditate a lot. I like to start my day kinda meditating. It gives me some quiet time so when I walk into the music room, my mind is very open to pick up words. I can come up with the strangest words and a few minutes later, I have a song.”
Can you share with us any of your current acting and music projects?
“Right now, I’m playing Armageddon in New Zealand in October and that has kinda led to being asked to do another show next year in New Zealand. It’s going to be a long show. Then there’s some other stuff coming up in England I was asked to do so right now I’m on this road of playing live. So as of right now in the next month or so, I’m making sure that I get enough material that I feel comfortable with playing.
I’m not an artist who likes to split my focus between things. Some people can do it. I tend to be more of a one art type person. Once I’m in it, I’m in it. So when I feel like I’ve accomplished that and I feel like my show is really great and the audience can have a great time. Then I’ll probably move on and maybe start looking at some acting jobs again. I do have one thing that I can’t say for sure because it’s not a guarantee yet, but there’s some interest in me doing a show when I’m actually a musician on camera so that would be mixing my acting and music together. I think that would be a perfect thing for me sorta bring this stuff all together in one place. So that’s kinda in talks right now.”
How do you come up with the names for your songs?
“I don’t put much pressure on myself. When I’m writing, I call it a bunch of things until one just sticks and I feel it needs to be that. “My Secret” I kinda started off calling it “I Do Too.” As I’m writing, I started calling it what comes to me first.
Usually when I’m playing it, I usually call it what stands out first and say yeah, that must be it. I kinda just trust the instinct and let it go because I don’t like being bogged down with what do I call this, what’s going to sell it more and what are people going to respond to more.”
Do you have any routines you follow before you write a new song?
“Meditation. That’s a great question. I don’t think we put enough importance on sitting and being quiet especially today. Everything is about work, work, work. With the Internet, you have companies expecting people to work on their day off because they’re connected to the computer, their phones so people don’t take a second to be quiet with their own thoughts. When you’re able to do that, you can get your mind very clear. It’s very open and when you start to create, you get a lot of great ideas that come through. Every morning I do have a 20 minute meditation period when I just sit quietly, I don’t think of anything in particular and I start off just counting. I become very focused and let my thoughts go in and out whatever they are. I’m very free and clear when I start to write.”
Tell us about your experience working on Dark Blue. Do you keep in touch with the cast?
“I loved working on Dark Blue. It was a lot of fun. It was a very flashy touchy show so there was a lot of emphasis on the clothes and a lot of emphasis on the makeup and a lot of emphasis on the action. But sometimes, that’s a lot of fun, too (laughs). I think that I was at a point in my life when I had been acting and kinda taking acting very seriously for a long time so when I did Dark Blue, I kinda felt like it was a little less about the acting and a little more about the technical side and what it looks like and all of those things put together. It was refreshing.
I think I really needed that where I could just sit back and have fun. Dark Blue pulled me out of always taking things seriously. The cast was fantastic and I still keep in touch with them. I keep in touch with Dylan through email mostly and Omari as well. Sometimes we joke. We text back and forth. And I’m sure they keep in touch with each other. We only did the show for 2 seasons, but we stayed close.”
How did you get interested in folk type music?
“That was a combination of things. I’m into the ’20s, I’m into the ’60s, the ’40s and ’50s as well. And I’m from Oklahoma. I grew up listening to Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash and Willie Nelson. So I think the folk style came from kinda growing up with that music in my ear. Mixed with all the music from the ’40s, ’50s, ’60 and ’70s along with other world music I think that makes it folk music because it’s not pop. Folk music has this kinda beautiful, raw, organic sound.”
You’re a big supporter of the Ladies of Supernatural convention. Is there anything you would like to say to the fans who want to see the convention happen?
“Right now, they’re below their goal, but there’s still about $4,000 or $5,000 that’s been raised and it makes me feel proud that there are people who will stand up and fight to see the women get a convention of their own. It makes me feel very good about the fandom. I’m really proud to see how far they’ve come and I really hope they make it the rest of the way to have a convention dedicated to women and their artistic abilities as something that’s a bigger thing. You have to remember that it’s not just the actresses. They want to invite women writers, directors.
It’s so important because women are still fighting for equality in the entertainment business. It’s about fighting for women to get recognition in the business. Thank you for anyone who has donated, supported and spread the word. Hopefully, we can make it happen.”