Featured

Mother

“Yet so many of the stories that I write, that we all write, are my mother’s stories. Only recently did I fully realize this: that through years of listening to my mother’s stories of her life, I have absorbed not only the stories themselves, but something of the manner in which she spoke, something of the urgency that involves the knowledge that her stories- like her life- must be recorded.”   Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens.

After reading this essay, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, I thought of my own mother obviously, and her stories she told me and my siblings. I remember how much it irritated me, since it was the same stories I’ve heard from the womb. But now, as I reflect on the stories that I’ve written, I’m reminded of those times she’d sit with us, and tell us about her life, like we were her recorder, documenting those times that were missed. I can’t help but see my mother staring back at me from my pages.

All my life, I’ve tried not to be like her, my mother. I’ve avoided experiences I believed would lead to one of her tragic endings. How sadly ironic, that the stories I was trying to forget are the stories that I’ve been unconsciously writing, that I can’t ignore because they make up who I am.

Walker also spoke about the lengths her mother took to transform their, shabby, home into something special, unique and warm, and how this act was her mother’s way of expressing herself. It was a manifestation of her mother’s love: planting an ambitious garden. It was, also, a reflection of her mother’s artistic abilities. This has opened my eyes to my own mother’s ambitious gardening.

When I was a kid, I never considered what my mother did in our home as a manifestation of her artistic abilities, mainly because it wasn’t something people celebrated, valued or respected. It was taken for granted, and considered something that women are expected to do. There wasn’t anything special about keeping a home, and raising five children.  Now, as I’m older, I regret that I never recognized and appreciated my mother’s ambitious gardening.

She knew how to make, and keep things beautiful, my mother. Even when she didn’t have the correct tools, she invented her own tools, and her own style which made everything even more special. She had the eye.

I miss her so much. And words can’t bring her back.  Nothing can imagine her back, or how much I miss her, my mother (My Imaginary Margin).  Especially since she can no longer share in my revelations.  Selfish, yes. Even now, when she’s dead.

I can’t remember exactly when I stopped celebrating Christmas, especially since it was such a huge deal for my mother. She’d go the extra mile, staying up all hours of the night on Christmas Eve, redecorating with new curtains and bed sheets.  The smell of freshly painted steps, and polished furniture swelled throughout the house, giving an exciting sense of newness, of home.

And of course the food, the food that was made with my mother’s hands, seasoned with all her love: baked fish, chicken, and stewed pork, macaroni pie, ham, callaloo and beans, and avocado salad; gingerbread, sweet bread, fruit cake, carrot cake, punch de creme (a Caribbean punch made of cream) and sorrel (a Caribbean drink made from the buds of the sorrel plant that grows in the Caribbean) that is boiled with ginger, and then sweetened with sugar, or if you like wine or rum.  Hmm, yum. The cooking was insane.  As a child, the kitchen was a garden of wondrous smells and deliciousness.

Mother is my substance, whose love I suckle upon
absent of thought to what she is.
Mother is my substance, whose skin is young as mine
even as waters sweeping along oceans and rivers
glowing brownish illuminations as the sun.
Mother is my substance whose personality
I mistakenly guise as funny, and foreign to mine

I’ve noticed in fact, the tendencies to hold my head like mother
my rear end suddenly resembles the roundness of her bountiful rump
and I’ve recently discovered a colony of moles on my neck like mother’s.
My laugh has changed as well into her scandalous octaves
which made you join in with joyous glee
I am reminded everyday of her presence and her legacy.
My mother, my substance, my ambivalent substance.

QUARREL EP RELEASE SHOW (OCTOBER 30TH)!

I’ve been really torn about promoting my EP release show, since the world is becoming darker and darker, and posting about a show seems sort of frivolous. If not, just completely dense! But, I really believe in this album and its message. As it is sort of a fight against the crude maliciousness we are facing. The songs came from a place of seeking hope; finding another way out of despair. I truly believe art and music saves us. It has saved me time and again!
A week a go made it a year in which I went into Spin Recording Studio and recorded my debut EP, QUARREL. I didn’t sleep the previous night, as I was both extremely excited, and completely terrified! I was sitting on these songs for at least six years prior to taking that huge leap of, YES I AM GOING TO RECORD THIS EP. It was a long process getting to the place of YES, and many obstacles stood in my way, including believing I can do this.
Once I made the decision, everything came with such clarity… Even during moments of doubt, I walked through them with a flow which felt right. It was as if I was meant to do it, or I made myself to be meaning to do this! I knew what it should look like, how many songs, how they would unfold into each other while standing as themselves.

That said, although I was 100% sure this was what I needed to do, I did have moments where I felt I was losing my mind, for real! But I wasn’t walking into this fire alone. I could not have finished QUARREL without my co-producer and dear friend Mackenzie Shivers, and as well as the seriously gifted musicians/artists on the EP.

How I ended up working with Mackenzie and these musicians/artists was serendipitous as well. As QUARREL couldn’t be possible without another dear friend, Kenyon Phillips! I’m so grateful I’ve found these amazing humans who I can say is my extended family! Thank you family! Thank you Universe!

Anyway, the night of October 30th will be so very special on all levels! It is the last installment of one of my favorite humans and co-producer’s, Mackenzie Shivers, residency. If you’ve never seen Mackenzie perform, you’ll be immediately swept away by her generosity of soul (no lie!).
I’ll also be sharing the stage with some seriously inspiring and magical beings who have been consistently giving me life. Whom I righteously call The Revivals.

 

WHERE: Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3, 185 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002
WHEN: October 30th, 8:00 – 10:00PM
WANT: $10

Finally, as QUARREL is a tribute to my mother and brother, I felt it would make for the best birthday gift to my dear mother, Bernadette McLeod.


QUARREL
is available everywhere on October 30th! You can stream the singles, Deep Cry and Quarrel on all platforms!
In the interim, I made a PLAYLIST for Fall. Which is kind of an assorted – get ready for Winter – sort of list. If you’re not on Spotify, below are the tunes’ title tracks (with links) in one possible listening order:

Quarrel EP Release Show & More!

I’m very excited as my debut EP, Quarrel, release and show is happening in a month (October 30th). The release show will be at Rockwood Music Hall, where I’ll share the night with the brilliant and wonderful Mackenzie Shivers. The night will be dedicated to my late mother, as it is her birthday!

Also, Quarrel the single is making waves. Here is a thoughtful review from If It’s Too Loud:

“The second single from Nikkie McLeod’s upcoming EP is a more traditionally structured song than [their] first, “Deep Cry,” was. “Quarrel” moves towards more familiar instrumentation for mainstream American listeners, but there is still plenty of originality for us all. McLeod constructs a song that starts off as a laid back singer/songwriter track, but that simmers with this undefined intensity right below the surface. That lasts for almost four minutes, and then the song restarts as an almost orchestral song. It’s an over six minute song that feels both familiar and experimental.”

Lastly, I made this super dope SPOTIFY PLAYLIST, which includes music by my favorites!

Follow me on SPOTIFY for more music listings!

 

Second Single – “Quarrel”

Happy to announce that my second single, Quarrel, was released this week! You can stream and download on all platforms! Here are a couple:

SPOTIFY

BANDCAMP

What they’re saying so far:

The Autumn Roses
“Written soulfully in the Parang style native to their home of Trinidad & Tobago, “Quarrel” is a well of wisdom and the poetic, epic new single from Brooklyn’s Nikkie McLeod.”

SKOPEMAG
“The new single from Afrofuture artist Nikkie McLeod is a swirling storm cloud of trial and tribulation breaking into overcoming resolution. “Quarrel” is a ballad in the form of Parang music, a traditional folk blend from Trinidad & Tobago. Its steady rise and fall captures each breath McLeod pours forth from an aching soul. The title-track is off the upcoming EP, which is a dedication and tribute to their late mother and younger brother, whose birthday is September 8. Quarrel (EP) is out October 30 in honor of their mother’s birthday.”

Both “Quarrel” and “Deep Cry” are on this really dope playlist – CHECK IT OUT!

Finally, I’ll be starting off my three month residency at Williamsburg Music Center this Sunday, September 9th, 9PM.

QUARREL, the album, comes out October 30th, which is also the release show date at Rockwood Music Hall!

 

Three month residency at Williamsburg Music Center

Happy to announce that Nikkie & The Revivals will be playing a three month residency at Williamsburg Music Center: September 9th, October 14th & November 11th, 9PMWMC RESIDENCY FLYER

Interviewed on BTR’s Music Digest

Spoke a little about Deep Cry, and my upcoming album, Quarrel, on Break Thru Radio’s podcast Music Digest (click on image above for link). It was such a pleasure being on the show. It was also really hard discussing the story behind Deep Cry and the album… Give it a listen, as hosts JLM and BRYAN B shared some awesome music by artists new to me! Thanks again for having me Music Digest!