NIK:11: All about the music

Nik11 in LA web

by Nicole Tindall

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parkly outfits and anxious faces rush by as I sit in the green room waiting to go on stage. It has been a grueling several years – entering one talent competition after another. I almost groan outloud just thinking of it. But I’m finally starting to get some recognition that is well deserved. All my hard work seems to be paying off, I think.

At a show in LA, an attractive, very hot man walked by. He looked vaguely familiar, I thought maybe he was a movie star. He had that look about him that just screamed, player!  He stops and says, “Are you ready to kill it out there?”

“Yeah, I’m ready to rock the house, if that’s what you mean,” I reply. When I say this guy was hot, I mean he was smoking and I wondered if I hit the hot guy jackpot. We chat it up for a bit and then… the owner walks up and says in a very agitated way, “Oh I see you met my boyfriend.” I then realize that this might be the last time working at this club. Here I am trying to pull myself together and focus on the music I’m about to provide to an audience of, oh about 3,000. And I may have blown my chance for getting booked again at this venue.

This type of drama would never happen at a performance in another country. Large venues are so much easier in that respect. No people to deal with but maybe the security that are just there to keep me safe. I really don’t need any extra stress before heading out onto a big stage, crowds waiting with excited anticipation to feel the beat of the music in their bones. I’ve learned a lot over the years about channeling that nervous anxiety into pure energy and the thrill of exciting the crowd.

Exciting the audience in Japan was so easy. The people there love American performers. As soon as I set foot on stage in Osaka the crowd went wild without me ever playing a note. The young crowd was screaming and reaching out for a chance to just touch my hand. I was all smiles. The love was intense. The feeling of their appreciation permeated through my entire being. I reached down and placed my hand on a young girl’s face as she watched me with wide eyes. It was a moment I will cherish forever. We connected on a level that was beyond words.
We were all just human. In the moment, feeling the music in our hearts and minds. She faded back into the crowd as others reached out for that connection.  I had to stay focused but it was an incredible feeling to see such enthusiasm for me and the music.

Leaving Osaka was emotional. We boarded the bus to head to Kawasaki. As we pulled away for the two-and-a-half-hour drive, I began to notice some fans running after the bus. With tears in their eyes they were screaming words I didn’t understand but I could tell they just didn’t want us to leave. How dangerous, I thought. But I just loved the fact that their everyday lives must have consisted of work or school and this was a great escape for them even if it was just a few hours. They were escaping their reality with us, and they didn’t want it to end. It wasn’t because they loved us per se’ it was the escape from reality they craved. And they found it in the music.

I finally hit my favorite city to rock the stage, Las Vegas and I’m ready to jump on stage within minutes. I can hear the roar of the crowd. Screaming for more as the  band is gathering up their equipment to exit the stage.  I check my hair and makeup one more time. It’s all good. It’s not about me really, it’s about the music. And these people know my music. Every city is different though.
I had the most amazing experience, when I was touring in Montreal. It was funny though I had no idea where we were when the bus stopped on a hot summer day.  I stepped off, no makeup, no costume, into the steamy air  and saw crowds of people yelling to me when they couldn’t have even known who I was at that point. They were reaching with their entire arms through the links of the fence just for a touch. They were speaking a language other than English and in that moment  I had no clue what language it was until that evening when I was told we were in Montreal.

When you are touring for months at a time it can become a blur, you can forget the date, time and destination. Show after show, city after city. But here we were, it didn’t matter what destination this was… could have been almost anywhere. All I  knew was I loved it. Young people running up to me, hugging me and trying to get pictures and autographs. They know me and appreciate the music I create. Every time I have an experiences like that, it reminds me I am on the right path, I am doing God’s work in a spiritual sense. Many artists do it for the money and many for the recognition, I create for the love of music and people.

Ten minutes to go. I make my last stop to the bathroom. Dirty floors. Graffiti walls. Smells like piss and stale smoke. One last check in the mirror. The bouncer, a big burly man with lots of tattoos, asks if I’m good to go. Hell yeah, lets rock it, bro. He pushes his way through the crowd with me hiding behind him.We make our way to the turntables. As the beat continues from the last DJ I fade in the first track and BAM. I hit the hard wiht 128 BPMs of hard bass. And hit it hard non-stop. That’s how I roll. But it’s not about me. I’m all about the music.