Twenty-eighteen has been both a really trying and surreal year! I’m so thankful to have released my EP, QUARREL, and to have worked with humans who continuously inspire me. This will be our last show of the year, but we’re looking forward to a brighter twenty-nineteen. We’ll be coming through shredding some intentional guts!
Next Sunday, we’re back at the Williamsburg Music Center. Come join us!
The Sea by Nikkiesha McLeod
Anna Wintour by Azealia Banks
You’re Gonna Need This by Nikkiesha McLeod
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!
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!
Drinking Again by Aretha Franklin
Leyendecker by Battles
What Would I Want? Sky by Animal Collective
Deep Cry by Nikkiesha McLeod
Nessun Dorma by Aretha Franklin
The Parting Glass by Mackenzie Shivers
Falling in Love with Love by Ahmad Jamal
On a Highway by Animal Collective
Lilac Wine by Nina Simone
Why Did You Separate Me From the Earth? by Anohni
But For Me by Ahmad Jamal
Atlas by Battles
Execution by Anohni
4 degrees by Anohni
Quarrel by Nikkiesha McLeod
Believe by Mackenzie Shivers
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!
Happy to announce that my second single, Quarrel, was released this week! You can stream and download on all platforms! Here are a couple:
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.”
“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!
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!
Deep Cry, the first single off of my upcoming album – Quarrel – has been receiving really great responses (see below).
From Magnet Magazine:
“Nikkie McLeod’s emotional Quarrel EP debut is set to be released October 30. Coming to Brooklyn all the way from Trinidad, McLeod struggled with the feeling of being a black immigrant, as well as establishing an identity as being queer/non-binary. McLeod’s music expresses their emotions, discussing society and their own experiences with the uncomfortableness in it.
The six-song Quarrel also serves as a tribute to McLeod’s brother and late mother. On “Deep Cry,” McLeod expresses feelings toward their mom’s death through sounds rather than words. McLeod’s skills on the steelpan (Trinidad’s national instrument) come through in this emotional piece. ”
From Fresh on the Net:
“Nikkie McLeod’s song Deep Cry was one of the most popular tracks with voters and moderators this week.
Before reviewing I watched an interview titled ‘Gentle Lone Rider of The Masculine And The Feminine’ which tells the story of their childhood in Trinidad & Tobago and their move to Brooklyn, New York aged 18.
Nikkie McLeod is an inspiration, having grown up in a world that has been mostly unaccepting of their ‘beautifully singular androgyny’.
Nikkie is softly spoken and passionate, grew up a feet away from the Panosonic Connection Steel Band Orchestra, and spent nights listening from their bedroom to musicians playing steelpans. Following a move to the US, Nikkie learnt new instruments, and listened to R&B, Blues, Jazz, Rap/Hip-Hop.
Nikkie has distilled everything they have learned into their first album, which is dedicated to their late mother and brother.
Deep Cry is the album’s first single. The song takes us on a musical journey through Nikki’s life. Steelpan rhythms form the bones, and periodically new instruments accompany the arrangement, guitars, strings and beautiful harmonies. The resulting sound is unique to my ears and is a complete triumph.”
From Week In Pop:
“Brooklyn based rising star Nikki McLeod shared the powerful & vibrant single single “Deep Cry”…”
From Skope Magazine:
Afrofuture single from Brooklyn’s Nikkie McLeod
Born in Trinidad & Tobago, McLeod grew up listening to and playing the country’s national instrument, the steelpan. As a non-binary immigrant now living in Brooklyn, there is a wealth of influence behind their music. “Deep Cry” soulfully embraces a film-like reel of memories in each individual note. The first song McLeod wrote on the steelpan, its meaning wouldn’t become apparent to them until months later. They explain, “It’s a regretful song surrounding my mother’s passing, and not being able to say goodbye or make any reconciliations. I personally could not put words around losing my mother…all I had was the sound of it”.
From Diamond Deposits:
“Brooklyn based artist Nikkie McLeod gives us our Weekend Track titled Deep Cry–a haunting futurist pop composition with a lush dramatic instrumental rife with steelpan and deeply emotive vocals. Melancholic poetry with a future forward flair…”
From The Autumn Roses:
“Psychedelic and adventuresome, it leaps across genres and eras with a willing, thumping, hopeful heart.“Deep Cry” is the intricate, expansive brand-new single from Brooklyn, New York’s Nikkie McLeod.”
Download and stream Deep Cry!
Last week, I released a single off my first album, Quarrel. The album is a tribute to my mother and brother whom have passed. The track released, Deep Cry, was particularly written for my mother. When she died I didn’t have words for what I was feeling, which was mostly a gamut of confusion, great sadness, an unbearable feeling of guilt, and an urgency to understand why? The only way I could express/communicate what was happening was through sound…
I still remember everything… I remember what I was wearing: a green striped button down shirt, tan khaki pants, and light brown leather shoes. I was sitting in my cubicle at work reading/responding to emails… At 1pm, I received the call on my work phone. I didn’t understand… I still do not completely understand… Because it was impossible. Still impossible! I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I had to get up. I had to go outside because everything was closing in on me. I remember what outside smelt like… Fresh like flowers… The gentle chill in the air was clean… But I couldn’t understand what was happening, what had happened – the impossible had happened. My mind kept playing the sound of your voice… It was alive and real! I can feel it! Impossible! The thing which still burns the most is our last conversation. We said regretful things to each other. You were always blunt, but I’ve always been aware of your enormous heart, as it is one of my many blessings from you! Your friends told us about the day this photo was taken… They said you treated yourself, spent the day pampering yourself, went and had your photo taken… It feels so good knowing this, and seeing your joy shine! Rest in Power
You can stream and download Deep Cry at my bandcamp page:
Quarrel will be released on my mother’s birthday, October 30th. Thank you mommy!
I’ve been working with Magnetic Island, an exprimental, indie rock band based in NYC, on the single Subterfuge.
Not only did I play the drums, and the steelpan on the single, I also sang!
It was so great being back in the recording studio, and playing in general. Even though at times it was a challenge, I learned so much from the experience.
Working with Magnetic Island was really refreshing as the sound is completely different from my band Telenovela Star.
I think the difference is that I was more focused on percision rather than power. Less concerned with trying to prove how fast I can play or how much agility I have, but more concerned with how to bring out the song, make it tell the story that it’s dying to say.
Working with these guys also gave me the opportunity to break out my steelpan, which has been sitting in my closet for sometime now, and as well as to sing. Being brought back to my first instruments, my voice and the steelpan, reminded me of why I desired to be a musician. I was blown away. I didn’t realize that I was capable of expressing myself through these other mediums, especially singing. I realized that I can do more than carry a tune. I have a voice. I can sing.
All in all this was an eye opening experience for me, and I’m thankful to have had the chance to work with such talented, and genuinely remarkable musicians. They brought out a side of me that was starving to be explored.
Here are some shots of us in The Fort recording studio: