Nikki Yanofsky Talks Solid Gold EP & Much More In Our Interview
22 year old Canadian singer-songwriter and future pop goddess, Nikki Yanofsky, recently unleashed her Solid Gold EP, largely produced by Nikki herself with additional production from Wyclef Jean, via A440 Entertainment. The sterling collection – which features lead EP single “Young Love” – is the latest step in her incredible transformation from child prodigy to bona-fide pop star.
We caught up with the singer for an in depth conversation about her early beginnings to working with a legend on her latest project. Check out the interview below.
Parlé Mag: How did it actually all begin for Nikki Y, in terms of actually following your dreams?
Nikki Yanofsky: One of my earliest memories of performing was when I was 6 years old. I’d make signs around my house for my family to come and watch my “concert” in the den downstairs. If anyone would talk, I’d stop and get mad at them. Little Miss Sass! *giggles*
Parlé Mag: Your are a native of Canada, correct? So growing up in ‘The True North,’ who did/do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?
Nikki Yanofsky: Well, I don’t think that being Canadian really altered my musical influences. I listened to a ton of The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin… the one thing I will say is that I don’t know that I ever would have found jazz without Montreal. I got invited to open the Montreal Jazz Fest at 12 years old. That made me very curious to listen to jazz. Even though I was singing soul and R&B, a ton of Motown, I figured I should learn some jazz for that show. So that is how I discovered my greatest musical influence, Ella Fitzgerald. I looked up “jazz” on my computer and found her. Had I never been asked to do that festival, who knows if I ever would have fallen in love the way I did with Ella’s voice!
Parlé Mag: At what point in time, specifically, did you opt to pursue music on a professional level?
Nikki Yanofsky: It wasn’t a specific time. Everything, up to now, has happened in such an organic, ‘par hasard’ way. I always said I wanted to be a singer, as far back as I can possibly remember. I started doing charity shows around Montreal at the age of 11, and one thing led to another. Then the Jazz Fest, then a live show that got recorded and released, and started getting traction and some attention, etcetera. It all just sort of happened naturally! So for me, it wasn’t even a question. It was always my plan A, B, C and D.
Parlé Mag: That being said, how do you classify your overall sound and/or style?
Nikki Yanofsky: Very live and honest. My influences play a big part in my sound. I’ve always listened to sooo much old soul, jazz and a lot of pop. My style revolves around what flatters my voice and what sounds suit my lyrics. I gravitate towards soulful chords and melodies and I’m very groove oriented. It’s all very “on the floor” and real.
Parlé Mag: “Miss You When I’m Drunk” — Tell me about this particular track? How did it come to fruition?
Nikki Yanofsky: I wrote most of this song in the shower one day. I kept repeating the chorus so I wouldn’t forget it while shampooing! *more giggles* The inspiration for the lyrics comes from a real life experience. But when I first started writing it, I wasn’t sure if I could pull off the lyrics. I thought maybe I could offer it to a friend of mine, Alessia Cara. But by the time I finished it, I felt so connected to it, lyrically and melodically, because I had lived it, that I was just like “you know what, I’ll release it.” Honesty is so key!
Parlé Mag: “Miss You When I’m Drunk” comes courtesy of your brand new EP Solid Gold. Conceptually, what does that title represent both to and for you?
Nikki Yanofsky: Well, the full album – coming soon, under the same title – is a concept album. It chronicles my 6 years long, and counting, relationship. Every song talks about a specific situation I’ve faced, with and without him. The title comes from the first song I wrote for this record. It’s also the most vulnerable song I have. It’s called “Me, Myself and I.” It’s all about me facing my fear of being alone.
Parlé Mag: For it, of course, you teamed up with Wyclef Jean — How did this collabo even come about?
Nikki Yanofsky: Wyclef and I met a long time ago, when I was just 13. I was working with a charity he was also working with. After we met, we did a song for The Electric Company (show) then, and we always said we wanted to do a full project together. Well, the timing finally worked out!
Parlé Mag: What do you feel you bring to the music industry that we don’t already have in other performers?
Nikki Yanofsky: Something that isn’t over-complicated. What you see is what you get. But, I feel every performer has something unique to offer.
Parlé Mag: What do you want people to get from your music?
Nikki Yanofsky: I want them to connect to my story, I want them to feel the honesty and I want them to get lost in the music.
Parlé Mag: If you could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Nikki Yanofsky: I think it would be Ella Fitzgerald, because I learnt so much from her, just listening to her records. I can only imagine how much more I could learn if I got the opportunity to peek into her process.
Parlé Mag: If you could play any venue in the world, which one would you choose and why?
Nikki Yanofsky: Madison Square Garden. I am obsessed with NYC. I think part of it comes from spending so much time there growing up, recording there. I am always so inspired when I get to spend time there. I also love how honest and no nonsense everyone is. It saves so much time. To me, if you could play MSG, and impress a city of cynics, you know you’re doing something right.
Parlé Mag: Do you have any other additional future aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?
Nikki Yanofsky: Within music, I’d love to write for other people, besides myself. Outside of music, I love painting. Mostly abstract stuff. One day maybe I’ll do something with that, but right now it’s just a hobby.
Parlé Mag: As for the immediate, what’s next for you, Nikki Y?
Nikki Yanofsky: More music. *smiles*
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