It was hard to pick a God… There were so many to choose from.
From an early age, music has been an influential force in Nikkiesha’s life. From the time they discovered Michael Jackson and wanted to sing and break dance like the King of Pop, to being so consumed that Nikkiesha and their siblings performed talent shows in their living room while their parents were both audience and judges, they knew the importance of music.
Nikkiesha (Nikkie) grew up with music around them! In addition to countless talent shows, their home was literally seconds away from a panyard - Panosonic Connection Steel band Orchestra’s panyard. On many late nights, when they should have been asleep, Nikkie’s parents would find the seven year old perched at their bedroom’s window listening to the orchestra practice for the largest steelpan competition in the world: Panorama.
Nikkie’s older brother played the tenor pan for the orchestra. It was witnessing their brother practice which ignited their mesmerized obsession with the instrument. Nikkie took any opportunity to try and play the song their brother was practicing. They didn't care how much noise they made, or how many times they got into trouble for beating their brother’s tenor pan. Nikkie couldn't resist the pan’s allure.
Their love and passion for the steel-pan never died after the age of seven, as twelve year old Nikkie, determined to be a part of the steel-pan culture, began running away to the panyard, and giving the rehearsal director hell - picking up the orchestra’s panists’ sticks and beating any of the unattended steel-pans.
At the time, they were unaware of the difference between beating and playing the pan or any other percussive instrument. The rehearsal director started them off on the Gurndig - better known as the Double Guitar. The Gurndig is similar to the rhythm guitar in a rock band. He told Nikkie if they can learn and master how to play the Gurndig well, they could then move onto their desired pan: the shiny chrome tenor, the soprano, the lead pan in the orchestra.
Knowing they weren’t going to stop running away to Panosonic's panyard, Nikkie’s dad decided to become the orchestra's manager.
As Nikkie got older, they began listening to R&B, Blues, Jazz, Rap/Hip-Hop and Rock music. To their great enthusiasm to hear and experience different forms of music, after migrating to the US, Nikkie was exposed to sub-genres and even more diverse sounds.
Inspired they began to play different instruments: acoustic guitar, the congas, and the drum-kit. Eventually spending more time behind the drum-kit, Nikkie began playing with various rock and punk groups. Most notable, the woman fronted rock trio Telenovela Star whose single, "Car Song" was the theme music for The N Channel’s Beyond The Break.
After many years of playing behind the drum-kit, Nikkiesha is bringing all that they have learned to create and produce their first album, which is a tribute to their late mother and brother.
On BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other episodes 13 & 14, I wrap-up the podcast’s first end of year ‘best ofs’. On episode 13, I looked back on my favorite moments from the interviews with the eight artists invited on the show. Listen HERE! And on episode 14, I play all of the amazing music by these artists. Listen HERE!
2020 was a really difficult year, with many changes and loss, but I’m so grateful to have this podcast. Talking with the various artists was eye opening and truly a gift. I can’t wait to continue on this path in twenty-one, bringing new artists on the pod, as we discuss and explore their creative processes, and how identity shapes their craft.
On episode 12 of BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other, I talked with UK Black feminist punk rock trio Big Joanie. We chatted about everything, from their creative process, being signed to the epic label Kill Rock Stars, to what books they are reading. Also, two members of the band are writing their own books! Listen to the interview HERE.
On episode 10 of BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other, I chatted with the politically conscious rapper, Billy Dean Thomas. We talked about everything, from the elections to what book they are currently reading. Billy Dean just recently dropped their album, For Better or Worse, which is available everywhere. I highly recommend checking it out! It was a real pleasure talking with Billy Dean, and listening back to the convo gave me hope for the future. You can check out the interview HERE.
On episode 9 of BTRtoday’s When We See Each Other, I chatted with the multi-genre duo The Black Creatures from Kansas City. We talked about all the things: their latest album, Wild Echoes, gender identity, race, current books they’re reading…! Check it out! This podcast is produced by Stereoactive Media.
Our communal bond severed into a mince of galaxies collecting into dust from a distance away.
I am grateful that you are still alive, even as our separation is a sort of a death.
Memories of seeing you leap into yourself and have the zoomies, and loving each moment of it. I am here in which ether points of being available are a reciprocity. Where I can no longer depend on you for the support you brought from the comfort of your tiger striped fur.
I sigh in a longing sense to not only feel your purring rhythm, which comforted me as I gently pet the wild part, the most visceral part, which you allowed, “Yes you may touch me.”
I keep thinking your crawl will bring us right back into this room of a heart where you’re used to, you will pounce onto the bed with a look of, “This is mine!”
I’m not sure what joy I brought to your life other than you ruled my universe.
On the latest episode of BRtoday‘s When We See Each Other, I interviewed Witch Prophet, a soul artists from Toronto, about their album, ‘DNA Activation,’ as well as their experience in the music industry as a Black and queer artist. ‘DNA Activation’ is a rich blend of R&B, Hip Hop, Jazz and African vibes, that draws on Witch Prophet’s Ethiopian/Eritrean ancestry and heritage. You can check out the interview HERE.
On this episode of BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other, I interviewed Black queer, gender-nonconforming femme, soul music artist NYALLAH. We chatted about their debut album, Reflections, and how much it is a look back at the past and journeying into a healing future. We also talked about their experience in the indie music scene as a Black queer, GNC, femme. Check it out HERE or anywhere you get your podcasts!
On this week’s of BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other, I interview Black trans artist Anjimile. His album, Giver Taker, is scheduled to be released on September 18th, under the record label Father/Daugther Records. His gorgeous single, Maker which delves into gender/Trans identity and coming out, is so generous in sound and movement that you must listen, and mark the date for the rest of the album! It’s definitely going to be memorable! Also on this episode, there is music from R&B rising star TruVonne, and the contemplative track by composer Shannon Sea. You can listen to the interview and entire episode HERE!
A face in a square box, while my life has always been nonlinear in design to capture me in a pose. The lighting will have to render me in all essence that includes lines below my chin, possessing the means of my neck. My hair is wild and tightly coiled, a definition of my set ablaze heart. My forehead creased with question marks. My eyes as glorious as of a late afternoon’s sun glowing in the panorama. My ears piqued with sound, restless around my oval universe, seeking new varieties and variables. My nose broad and brimming my smile across my cheekful geometry. My thick layered cake lips blowing a kiss to the world.
Hello, I have some really great news! Recently, I was asked to do a podcast for Break Through Radio (BTR). The show will air every other Wednesday and feature Black, queer, trans, non-binary artists, in the hopes of sharing and exposing their work. You can listen to the first episode HERE.
My Black Joy is witnessing my nieces and nephews, my niblings, be alive. Thriving as the future, and me watch them and celebrate enough that their teenage, young adulthood makes them embarrass of my shout-out. Like, yeah aunty, yeah uncle, I hear you. Black joy is watching them cut up. Is that the phrase? Am I getting it wrong? When you are so right with your mashups, and your new language for something as old in its expression. Black Love is being a witness to their parent’s’ commitment, my siblings, which brought and nurtured the young in this world when Blackness is seen as dangerous.
Today and always I am forever seeing you out at large, a gift.
So this is a response to all the fireworks happening in the New York area and else where.
Explosions In The Sky
The sky lights up with the sound of Boom resonating through the walls. Like thunder it exists as a reminder of disaster, a Boom Boom Boom so you know who is in charge. Like a frighten dog, like a frighten cat, we escape under the bed. We take to cover and bury our heads into our arms. Hide our bodies and our love ones from the terror of what the sky is suppose to mean now. Safe? It is a word we dream about and fight hard to attain. Safe? It is a word that cares nothing about who is outside facing the elements which was created. We are looked as dangerous while our bodies, an esse, are the most vulnerable.
Spent the evening watching fireflies that’s what I did because it meant observing the nature of quiet while being restless with nerves by all that has happened and all that can still can… I watched those lightning bugs ignite pulses of pronounced intensity shortly appear to shortly disappear vanishing as the transition occurs dusk is their majestic moment where such leaping guts sparkle intermittently, they beam a breath of fire in the nigh night.
The weather exists outside your own intentions. The rain comes with its clouds regardless of your want to lookup at the moon, to receive and see its splendid aura. Especially at a time where I have to lookout for threat rather than beauty. The beauty in the sounds of joyous glee. The beauty in seeing the miraculousness of things of living a life. When I watch for the next killing, the next mourning in a hashtag. Am I next? Am I next if I step outside and demand my space as a human being? Will I be next because my fight/flight/freeze mode is at a vigilance, so my actions are seen as a danger, while you have been so dangerous to me!
Ignited moon gaze ricocheting in waves of Us, Oh the glory
We’re at the same juncture where Black people are met with the same struggle, one which seems to never end. We’re still fighting for our lives to matter. We still can’t breathe as the knees of oppression bends into our necks, killing us. We’ve peacefully marched, we’ve walked with our anger boiling beneath our rich and beautiful skin, but yet this ugly history of us being beaten down, being hosed down still continues today. A reflection of us standing up against the fences, the faces of an established denial of my place in the world, where I dream as much as you do. I wish to sing my troubles. But it is the same tune. What else is there for us to say out loud, write down and shout, We shall over come… Should I tell the next generation it’s up to them now, to carry this anger, this despair, this anxiety of living outside, while I can’t even escape it myself? My life is ordinary like the songs of any bird-call voicing an incandescent sound, but because of the hatred of my existence I am martyred for my race, for my color: Black!
Black is the beauty of the night forever and ever Black is what brings light
To survive is gonna mean more than just weathering today as you scrape together leftovers and create a spontaneous meal to feed the hunger inside our hearts. It will mean a new way of breathing, as your lungs can no longer take the pressure of the air of the past. It would mean your kidneys cannot renew your blood like it use to. It would mean your heart can no longer function as simply a tool but a bearer of all that is alive and living. The air which trees transport will be differently received, reciprocated as we wear a mask now. I am terrified as I am piqued with curiosity of where does this passage take us.