13-year-old Toronto-born, Seattle-based artist Nikhil Bagga stirred the crowd into a rock frenzy with his electric rendition of “Star Spangled Banner” ahead of the Seattle Kraken/ Dallas Stars game.
The Seattle Times wrote,
“From the get-go, the Kraken seemed to have a step on their opponents. A rousing electric guitar performance of the national anthem by youngster Nikhil Bagga, 12, had the crowd buzzing beforehand and the electricity seemed to carry over to the home team’s performance.”
Since then, Nikhil has recently unveiled his debut album, Leap of Faith.
Recorded at Seattle’s London Bridge Studios with producer Eric Lilavois (Ayron Jones, Saint Motel, Island Apollo), the record features drummer Ben Smith (Heart) and bassist Jeff Rouse (Loaded), in addition to Bagga’s vocals and guitar.
“Leap Of Faith is about taking risks and trying new things,” Bagga says of the title track: “In this case, I wrote this song about the day my dog, Daisy, arrived at our home. She was shy at first but soon warmed up to us. She had to take a ‘Leap Of Faith’ to trust us. This song was inspired by Neil Young.”
The album also features Bagga’s eclectic range of further musical influences like U2 and the Rolling Stones. He is also unafraid to tackle issues often faced by teens: bullying.
“Being bullied is a tough time and ‘Gotta Try’ is the song about the time that I was,” Bagga says: “I would always think that maybe everything I did was stupid but ‘Gotta Try’ is kind of like my victory song. This was the first song I wrote and will always have a special place in my heart. Bullying is a big deal and this song is for everyone who is going through that hardship.”
Leap of Faith foreshadows a fruitful career ahead for the burgeoning rock god. Having opened for the Seattle Kraken, Bagga has also played the SMASH Seattle “Songs of Hope” Benefit, the Big Table Benefit supporting restaurant workers impacted by COVID, and Russell Wilson’s Why Not You Foundation.
My name is Nikhil Bagga. I’m 13 years old singer-songwriter and guitarist. I was born in Toronto and live in Seattle, and I love music. I started playing piano when I was four and picked up the guitar when I was 9. I moved to guitar because I didn’t like my piano teacher. I learned a few chords, and the rest is history. Besides Music, I love sports, history, reading, and all things Star Wars.
Performing the National Anthem at an NHL game was a surreal experience. I have always been a huge hockey fan growing up in Toronto, Canada. It was a very big part of my life, and to be able to perform for the Kraken was amazing. It makes you feel great inside just to hear the crowd’s roar and stand there on that ice, trying to process what was happening. It was incredible.
One thing I love about living in Seattle is the history there. I am a huge fan of Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana, so being young and exposed to these rock legends is amazing, and I am so lucky to be living in Seattle.
One guitarist that I love is probably Eddie Van Halen. He was, in my opinion, the best guitar player ever and was just significant. Van Halen is one of my forever favorite bands, and Eddie Van Halen will always be an inspiration to me.
Everyone should have one album by a Canadian artist in their collection: Reckless by Bryan Adams.
I’m Jenna, and I am the founder and editor of Canadian Beats. I have had a strong love for Canadian music, which started many years ago. I have a passion for promoting these talented Canadian bands and artists, and that’s how Canadian Beats came to be. I am so proud of what it has become over the last few years, with many talented music lovers and writers coming together to spread the word of Canada’s music.