Frontwoman Nikki Hill has been called the new queen of soul.
Hailing from North Carolina and influenced by Little Richard, Nikki brings her Deep South soul honesty to the stage. None of this is by accident. No, Hill has researched, revisited and re-invented the genre, to find a place of herself as a bona fide rock ’n’ roll diva.
Hill revisited the blues and rockabilly shouters of the 1950s with her approach echoing the phrasing of often lesser known soul singers such as Barbara Lynn. Once a teenage punk rocker, Hill has bought a mixed bag of influences to the creative table.
‘Punk rock was fun,’ she has said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. ‘Being a female of colour in the punk scene, I wanted my own style and my own image. So I started getting into vintage stuff and finding the most eclectic people of that time.’ And that was where she found Little Richard.
Her years as a gospel singer in a church choir soften the palette of Hill’s onstage offering. ‘It would be easy to just be a blues shouter; that’s a lot of fun,’ she has said, ‘but it’s always important and a challenge to get your point across when you’re not shouting. I credit learning that vocal control to being in gospel choirs, because that’s where you have to be soft or be harsh.’
This girl can truly sing her arse off. Hill and her band have been touring extensively since the 2013 release of Here’s Nikki Hill where she left jaws on floors all over the US. With a no-filter energy and explosive live show Hill and her band deliver a sound that mixes strength passion and honesty and an authentic approach to American roots music.
Nikki Hill – definitely on the must-see list for this year’s Bluesfest. For ticket and program information go to www.bluesfest.com.au.