Culturist: Nikki & Rich | Music Duo
Photo by Ashley Sky Walker
What’s your AMMO?
Rich: My family. They have supported me throughout all the ups and mostly downs. I would love to give back to them, and let them know how much they have helped me to follow my passions and never give up.
Nikki: I have always been fueled by my inability to never give up. Being in this industry is never easy. Its almost more easy to throw in the towel at times. Very few are fortunate enough to have overnight success…for the rest of us it can take years of hearing NO before you get a YES. I am Inspired to prove to myself that you can truly acheive any goal and make any dream come true. I am inspired by resistance, I am motivated by the belief others have shown in our work, I am challenged daily to learn and expand based on the never ending well of amazing music we have access to…its truly a gift.
What inspired the title of your latest EP Finally Free?
Rich: Finally Free is exactly what it sounds like. Since recently parting ways with Warner Bros after a year of being on the label. We had been dying to get some more music out there, so when the paperwork was inked that we were officially off, Nik and I decided to just throw a free EP out there for people that gave a sh#t and just wanted to hear some new N&R music. We love what we do and understand its a business, but sometimes you just gotta give your music away without all the politics.
Nikki, there seem to be many blues influenced sounds in your voice… With the beautiful way that you express love, pain and happiness, how have past musicians inspired your sound? Who are some of your key musical influences?
Nikki: I am inspired by all music. From the deep rooted soul in Gospel music to the beautiful tone of James Taylor. I am attracted to music that makes you slightly uncomfortable and toys with your emotions. There is nothing more amazing to me than to be truly moved by music. As a child, Gospel music Inspired me to do what I do today. Cece Winans was my greatest inspiration. I can hear any one of her songs and be transported to a place no other type of music can take me.
Rich, the combination of your DJ style with Nikki’s voice on stage is amazing. How do you guys find a common creative ground when in the process of making the music?
Rich: I know when I’m coming up with the music , I never have a plan. I just sit down in the studio and begin with either creating a drum pattern that I layer keys and synths on top of , or vice versa. Once the music is at a place I’m good with Nikki will come in and just sitdown with a pen and paper and begin the writing process. Everything we do is just us, which is the gift and the curse. Because if its good, then great, we get the credit, but if it sucks than look no further, its us. Ha.
I notice a Hip Hop infusion on songs like City Lights and Danger. What brought about the idea to add rappers to these songs? And of course, when/where did your love for hip-hop begin?
Nikki: Rich definitely brings the hip-hop soul infused sounds in his production. He got his start producing for artists such as Eve, Robin Thicke and received a Grammy for his work with Ludacris. I am a huge lover of hip-hop so when Rich suggested reaching out to Fabulous and Hayes for these tracks I was completely in agreement.
What is the best part about working with each other?
Rich: She’s not hard on the eyes. Ha. And Nik inspires me all the time. I haven’t heard a voice that connects to the soul like hers does , since the “good ol” singers of the 60’s.. She’s just a pure raw talent, and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to be working with her.
Nikki: Rich has an ability to bring mind blowing sometimes epic sounding music to the table that I feel can always challenge me in my writing. Without even trying you naturally become better because the quality of his music lends itself to raising the bar. He also has the most comedic witty personality I have ever met. You never have a studio session without cracking up and having an amazing time. You just want to be around him.
What can fans look forward to from Nikki & Rich in 2011?
Our album! Ha. The last year we have been focused on being in the studio and writing. This year we have decided to start booking live performance shows and getting on the road.
For more on Nikki&Rich go to nikkiandrich.com