Interview – Nikki W

By: Amanda Hather

Nikki Whitehead, also known as Nikki W is a 16 year old singer/songwriter from London, Ontario. Although young, she has already been compared to heavy hitters in the music industry, Lana Del Ray and Metric. Her upcoming album, ‘Sad Generation’, is due to be released on July 29th. The six track release was co-written by Gavin Brown, who has worked with artists such as the Barenaked Ladies and Lady Gaga. Her powerful voice is surprised for someone her age and is sure to grab your attention the minute you hear it.

I had the opportunity to ask Nikki a few questions, so keep reading to find out more about this new artist!

First off, how do you feel when people compare you to someone as well-known as Lana Del Ray or Metric? Did you ever expect that kind of reaction at all?

Nikki W: It is kind of unexpected, but it’s also a huge honour. When I was writing these songs I had no idea if people would actually like them, so to be compared to two amazing acts, it’s amazing.

What track are you most proud of off of ‘Sad Generation’?

NW: The track i’m most proud of would be Sad Generation. I wrote the song almost two years ago and just to see the changes in it and how its grown, just makes me very proud. I also feel that the song ties together the whole message of the EP, that you are never alone and to stay hopeful.

What was it like working with Gavin Brown?

NW: At first it was extremely intimidating, Gavin is an amazing producer that’s worked with so many huge acts that it was surreal almost to be working with him. Gavin really let me grow through the process, he made me feel like I belonged in the studio.

Is the music industry intimidating when you come into it so young?

NW: I think the most intimidating part is how many acts there are out there, and the fact that you’re not just competing with local bands but with well known artists as well. In order to be recognized you have to be great, not just ok, there are so many musical options out there that you have to really be top of the game, and that parts a little unnerving. It’s also intimating being younger because I don’t have the experiences older musicians have, so i’m looking forward to making lots of mistakes and creating my own experiences!

Do you plan on going on any touring anytime soon?

NW: Nothing is set up right now, but hopefully soon i’ll be booked as an opener on a tour! I’ve never been on tour before so the concept is exciting but intimidating as well.

What made you want to pursue music in the first place? Was there a defining moment when you said “I’m going to do this”?

NW: Ever since I was born a little girl all I’ve ever wanted to do was sing, it’s always been my passion. The defining moment was probably when I was 11, I was playing my first ever show with my band, Poet. I remember being up on stage singing ‘Come Together’ by The Beatles and just knowing that performing is what I needed to do. Ever since then music has been my entire life, I don’t really do anything else.

If you could tour with any band or artist, who would it be?

NW: I would love to tour with the Arctic Monkeys or The National. I’m really into their sound and think our music has a cohesive sound that would compliment each other nicely.

What can fans expect from your upcoming album?

NW: An album that is full of heart and love. This was truly a process and I put myself totally into all the songs. I hope that people will listen to the EP and connect with it, I just want to make peoples lives a little better by knowing that they’re not ever alone.

And as always with Canadian Beats, we like to ask a few questions to help your fans get to know you better:

What is the first song you remember listening to?

NW: ‘Here Comes the Sun’ by the Beatles.

What was the first CD that you bought?

NW: “Aquarium” by Aqua. My favourite song on there was ‘Barbie Girl’.

Any guilty pleasures?

NW: I love Twilight. I’ve read all the books a million times.

Oddest habit?

NW: Whenever I listen to a pump up song I always record myself on my computer wearing weird wigs and dancing along (not very well).

Favourite TV show/movie?

NW: Sherlock on BBC or Sex and the City.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

NW: My dream was to go to Paris, and I went there this April! But now the Czech Republic, my mom was born there.

You’re stranded on a desert island, name three things you would want to have with you.

NW: Dehydrated food, a water filtration system, and a tracking device so someone could find me.

Any Canadian band/artist you would recommend to your fans?

NW: I would recommend this artist from Montreal who goes by the name “Violett Pi”. I love his EP, Violette, it’s very easy to listen to and has great lyrics (if you can understand french).

If you could see any band or artist in concert, who would it be?

NW: I’d really love to see Joan Jett, she is one of the reasons I decided to become a musician. I just love her songs and how bad ass she is.

Top three places you’d like to travel?

NW: Switzerland, The Czech Republic, and England.

And finally, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?

NW: Thank you so much for the support you’ve given me while creating this EP, I hope you all love it and connect to it! Thank you so much.

Nikki W on social media:

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