Nicki Kris - Rise
Nicki Kris is an award-winning singer-songwriter based in Raleigh, North Carolina. She has been on the official ballot for the Grammy Awards for the past seven years in numerous categories including: Song Of The Year, Record Of The Year, Pop Vocal Album, Pop Solo Performance, Best Rock Song, and Best Rock Performance. Her unique and powerful voice has been compared to artists like Pink and Adele as well as top female rockers of the past, Pat Benatar and Stevie Nicks, while her songwriting yields a modern, contemporary style. Nicki's music has captured an international audience since the soul stylings of her debut album, 'I Come Alive in 2013.' Her songs have been featured in award-winning movies, TV shows, and on radio stations worldwide. Nicki’s latest release, Heartbeat [N.K.M Records], is a 14-track album filled with empowering anthems and catchy sing-along tracks. The new album features 14 songs that showcase her powerful vocals and catchy pop-rock songwriting. The early singles from this collection have earned over one million streams on Soundcloud, as well as many international awards. The end result is a masterful collection of Alternative Pop/Rock songs that showcase her polished vocals, vibrant and vivid songwriting, and meaninful lyrics. Nicki has already been recognized in several international songwriting competitions and her songs have over a 1.5 million streams.
Nicki Kris is one of the artists who will be featured on BWH Music Group’s ‘On Peace Street,’ a compilation album featuring 19 songs about peace and social justice.
What is the name of the song you have on Peace Street?
What is the inspiration behind your song? Or, what is the song about?
Rise was originally written as a female empowerment song shortly after the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings as a message of support and encouragement for the #MeToo movement. The song quickly became an anthem supporting and encouraging women, in particular, to band together and raise their voices by voting for changes that promote equality.
How did you write your featured song? Or, can you describe your songwriting process?
I generally don't follow the same songwriting process each and every time. Sometimes a piece of music might inspire me or maybe I'll get a lyric stuck in my head. I do tend to binge write or only write when I'm inspired by something I've read, seen, or a particular event. Sometimes it takes me days, weeks or months to complete a song. Some I've written in minutes.
Rise was one of those songs that was inspired by what's been going on in our country for the past couple of years. It was one of the few times that I knew exactly the type of song that I wanted to write. Even though I had a lot of lyrics swirling on paper, it wasn't until I started writing the music did everything quickly fall into place. Once I had the melody down the entire song was probably written in less than 30 mins.
Who are your major music influences?
I have so many musical influences and they change daily depending on who I might have stumbled across when searching through various independent artist sites I like to frequent. I have a few primary influences I like to listen to when I'm looking for inspiration. My top five would be Pat Benatar, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Linkin Park, Skylar Grey, and Adele.
When you wrote this song, did you have a goal in mind? For example, were you trying to raise awareness about an issue that’s close to your heart?
I absolutely had a goal in mind when writing this song. Rise is a call to action song, that by coming together, using our voices and our votes we can influence change.
"One voice may not be heard, but millions together cannot be silenced." - Nicki Kris
How did you get started in music?
Music has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. Even at a very young age, I had the urge to sing and perform, and I spent most of my youth doing just that. In high school, songwriting became an escape for me—an escape from low self-esteem and not-so-great family life –the songs became my family and with each one I finished, it became clearer that I wanted to pursue a career in music.
After taking a "life" detour for a few years I've been knee-deep in a musical rebirth if you will since 2011. Although I love to sing and perform, songwriting or shall I say storytelling is my true passion. I love the whole "from nothing to something" concept and when I have a completed song, it usually blows my mind regardless of whether or not it ever gets recorded.
Of all the songs you’ve written, what was the most challenging and why?
Probably the toughest song to write and record was "Call My Name," which is on my new album, Heartbeat. Call My Name was a direct result of the death of Linkin Park lead singer, Chester Bennington (my all-time favorite band) and a longtime friend’s daughter, both from suicide. I wanted to write a song that not only honored them but also offered hope to others that might be suffering. Hopefully, I've done that.
How do you think music help promote world peace and social justice? Do you have a favorite social justice song?
Music has long been used to seek social change. Think back to the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. The artists and songs of these eras showed the world that it was possible for individuals of different races, religions, backgrounds, countries, sexes, etc to encourage, inspire collaboration, along with fostering a sense of community across many platforms.
Music can bring individuals together and make them feel greater than the sum of their parts. It can empower and motivate individuals to work together to accomplish goals and achieve ideas unimagined by individuals alone. It’s universal and doesn’t discriminate. Why wouldn’t we encourage and use music, in the same way, today as so many did back then? Think of the possibilities.
In terms of my own favorite social justice song, I actually have more than one. Imagine by John Lennon is my all-time favorite, followed by Man in the Mirror, by Michael Jackson, and One, by U2.
What’s coming up in the future?
I’ll be wrapping 2019 up with a re-issue of “Best Part Of Christmas Is You”, a Christmas original as well as finishing up a few co-writes with various other songwriters. I’m still promoting my album, Heartbeat along with gearing up for several collaboration projects and songwriting workshops already set for 2020.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
Links to all of my music and social sites can be found on my website