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Byron Shire
December 3, 2022

The insanely hardworking Nikki Hill

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See Nikki Hill at Bluesfest

I fell a little bit in love with Nikki Hill the last time I saw her at Bluesfest. Hill is one hard-working rock chick; her show is a high-powered blast of all awesome things.

Seven interviewed Nikki six years ago so we thought it might be fun to revisit some of those questions – and ask a few more…

How has your personal life changed/grown/expanded/reduced in the last six years? 

That’s a loaded question! I am constantly changing while navigating this crazy thing called life. Motivated by a combination of intuition, adaptation, fear, and impulse. No matter what, it always stays interesting! 

What are the songs on high rotation in your car right now? 

So many bands are just releasing these great albums right now. I’m having fun playing them from start to finish. Loving all the new releases from Starcrawler, The Suffers, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Big Joanie, Megan Thee Stallion… those are just a few from this year and I can keep going!

If you could sing a duet with anyone dead or alive who would it be and what would be the song? 

Dead: Anything with Otis Redding, Toots Hibbert, Amy Winehouse, Bon Scott, or Lemmy Kilmeister. Alive: anything with Mavis Staples, Barbara Lynn, Andre 3000, Joan Jett, Gary Clark Jr, and Tina Turner.

I want to ask about your new record Feline Roots – I am almost 60 and this feels like a fresh take on the music I loved as a teenager. Is that your intention, to cross generations? (Also, I have to say I am loving the drums.)

(A band is only as good as their drummer!) I love that the people listening to the album and the audiences at the shows can range from eight to 80. I never expected my music to reach many people, let alone people of different generations. If it speaks to so many, I love it! I think any age can pick up on vibe and energy, and Feline Roots has that. 

Is there a special satisfaction for you to self-release and produce? Or is it just bloody hard work? Or both? 

Both, on a gigantic annoying pendulum. It’s insanely hard work and I’m usually wondering what the hell I’m doing. But then when it works out or the project is done, I look back and see the results of the work and I’m back loving it! I thrive on chaos, I guess. I hate and love that about myself. Honestly though, so much of it comes from hearing horror stories about artists getting ripped off, taken advantage of, left with nothing and no ownership of their own work, etc. Especially as a female in this industry, and a Black female in this industry, I just really have gone into it with low expectations and trust of people to actually do right by my work, or to even understand me. I’m having to work on making sure I don’t block the people that do care and want to help, but I have also avoided a lot of vultures along the way. Not an unusual story at all. 

Is there someone you’d just love to see at Bluesfest next Easter? 

The lineup is looking great so far, right? I can’t wait to be blown away by someone I haven’t heard before. I am excited to see so many for the first time, and some that I have seen probably 10 times like King Gizzard, Mavis Staples, Talib Kweli, Allison Russel, LP, GZA, Big Freedia… I can’t wait!

For more information about Bluesfest, visit: bluesfest.com.au

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