Once upon a time in 2010, a very timid RJ from 2020k walked into the Ava Lounge in Pittsburgh, PA, armed with two friends who were dragged to see an upcoming Nikki Jean perform a set of songs from her forthcoming debut album, Pennies in a Jar. I had just finished an 8 hour shift as an intern at a recording studio downtown, was extremely exhausted from the long day. As I walked through the door, an upbeat Nikki instantly threw her hands up and walked over to offer a friendly introduction, thanking me for coming to the show. After a brief conversation, my friends and I sat down and I went from being tired to being extremely excited to see the show and show my support for an artist I’d been watching since 2007 when her YouTube channel (which she updates frequently) launched.
Through the years, she’d blog of frustrations of working at a coffee shop, to what it was like opening up Lupe Fiasco’s sophomore release The Cool to listen to the track “Hip-Hop Saved My Life” of which she was featured on. Also, the flawless releases of Longtail EP & Free Money EP by the band Nouveau Riche of which she provided lead vocals to, and everyday things like arranging meetups with her fans and sending them cookies.
Oh wait..? Weren’t we talking about a show? Yeah, sorry, sidetracked.. It was a minimal and extremely grounded & admirable production — just Nikki, her keyboard, some lights, and a couple fistfuls of happy faces all anxiously awaiting to listen to the tracks that we’ve been waiting forever to hear. It was flawless and afterwards we snapped a pic together.
“Anxiously” and “forever” seem like good words to describe Nikki Jean’s walk to stardom — but it’s finally upon us. With an album release date of July 12th, 2011, Ms. Jean has finally given us the first taste of what’s to come with the upload of the title track on her YouTube Channel. It’s a classic emotional production, with Burt Bacharach on the music and Sam Hollander on the production desk. Nikki? They’re her words, her lyrics, her voice, her vision and this track is the reason for our celebration!
Track rating: 10 out of 5. Off the Richter Scale and why? Let me tell you..
Sometimes music doesn’t have to be based on whether it has the dynamic range of a saint or some Christ-like reverb. It doesn’t have to have sparklings of lyrical genius or instrumentation that pluck your heartstrings. Luckily, this song has all of those traits and more, but it’s given a 10 out of 5 because it moved me. Nikki’s entire journey has inspired and continues to influence me. At the end of the day, isn’t that the true point of music?
Needless to say, I’m anxiously awaiting the release of the album. You’ll get an actual review of this song when the entire album is released and I have a lossless copy in my hands.
* – Don’t worry. The Nouveau Riche EP’s were uploaded to Mediafire by the band. They’ll love you if you download it.