NICOLAH – Out of the Pie
ARTIST NAME: NICOLAH
SONG TITLE: Out of the Pie
RELEASE DATE: 10th May 2019
NICOLAH is a Cumbrian singer-songwriter based in London. She has just finished performing in a play; Section 28 and The Queer State directed by Kay Adshead at the Alexandra er Palace and she is now ready to share her next single, Out of the Pie.
Her music is a sum of fresh life experiences about faith, sexuality, culture… A unique and empathic world view built on a foundation of classic songwriting.
It blends pop sensibilities with an indie spirit. She shares similarities with early Katy Perry and her Christian pop roots, the sweet strum, and vocals of Joni Mitchell, and the stadium pumping energy of Coldplay’s anthemic choruses.
In the summer of 2018, she won the Open Category – Mayor of London GIGS Competition chosen by Judges Newton Faulkner, Lauren Churchman (BBC6music), Fuzz Chaudhrey (BBC Radio 1), Swarzy Macaly (KISS FM), and James Brister (ICMP).
After playing live for literally millions on London’s busy underground platforms, her first single ‘Flow’ won the 2016 Mayor of London GIGS Songwriting Prize sponsored by PRS for Music taking her to play Glastonbury 2017 alongside Everything Everything, Naughty Boy & Mullally. Since then she’s received support and multiple airplay from BBC introducing’s Tom Salmon, and in August 2018 recorded a live session for the show.
The previous release ‘Waiting on You’ invited listeners to be introspective: To see the power and completeness of themselves. It was featured on Hoxton radio show Get in Her Ears, Spotify playlist Talk About Pop Music and the music video was premiered by the blog, She Makes Music.
The next release Out of the Pie is an elegant and bold mix of soaring melody and deep, dark thought-provoking lyrics like “… makeup theories to survive…” Influenced by the emotional discord Nicolah has felt over the last 19 years, it will strike a chord with anyone feeling confused and divided right now.
Tell us how you build up the tune for this song.
I wrote this song quite a while ago now, but from what I remember the melody for verse and chorus came out quite quickly. Once I got the structure clear in my head I finished off the lyrics and then spent a while in the rehearsal studio with my drummer and bass player working out the final arrangement.
Tell us the best means of becoming a famous artist and selling more records.
I wish I knew. Whilst I try and figure out the answer to that question I’m focusing on writing and releasing new music and playing live.
Tell us how fans are reacting to your music.
All my mum’s friends at church really love it! I think people can see what I’m putting out is real and seems to be resonating with people, particularly when I play live.
Explain how to deal with fear on stage.
I’m still working on dealing with it; I start by imagining everyone’s naked! I think the most important thing is being prepared, plan your set, have an idea of what you need to say and how you’re going to say it, and then play, play and play again.
Tell us your point of view on the quality of production of today’s songs to old songs and point out what you think has changed.
I’m a bit conflicted about this. As much as the production of a song and writing is connected to a culture, a zeitgeist, I also feel older music has more substance. Just as you had to be more reliable before we had mobile phones.
Personally, I prefer the art of substance, no matter the production, lo-fi /hi-fi… mid-fi?! I’m a fan of artists like Kate Tempest, Stormzy, and Four Tet as much as Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, and Carole King.
Tell us an interesting experience in your music career that is significant.
Interesting… I’ve been busking for the last 3 years on the London Underground, lots of interesting things happen there.
Once someone walked past covering their ears shouting “That sounds terrible” another time a homeless person came up stayed for a while dropped some coins from the little he had and said ‘Thank You’ which is so humbling.
So you never know what you’re going to get, that’s interesting – That the most beautiful thing about music it brings people together, and that’s special.
Tell us how you come across the lyrics of this song.
Over the last few years, I’ve tried to push myself lyrically. One technique is to first look for different phonetic sounds to go with the melody. It’s good because it encourages me to be less conscious about the lyrics and often leads to more interesting lyrical destinations.
Tell us your best means of expressing yourself.
I would say the best way of expressing oneself is being unafraid, to be honest, and show your raw self. What I know best is through writing a song and I’m learning how to expand my creativity visually. I’ve just started producing music videos and graphics to go along with my singles…
Tell us your opinion on using music to deliberate on issues affecting people like corruption, immoralities, politics, and religion.
I think the job of art, in general, is to comment, question, and make sense of the world. I believe it’s the music maker’s responsibility to do this, as much it is to provide escapism.
Discuss how you plan to create a piece of timeless music that your fans can cherish forever.
I plan to write the best songs possible, rich in melody and story. Production and sound change, but melody and lyrics remain, and ultimately that’s what matters to me.
List the names of individuals you can point out as legends and state your reasons.
I love that quote, “…with great power comes great responsibility…” I think anyone that is: unafraid to be their unique themselves, that strives to be the best they can be, treats others with respect, and utilizes love to conquer hate is a legend, famous or not.
Tell us your viewpoint on discriminating.
Discrimination is wrong. But we don’t live in a perfect world so it happens all around the world in many different forms. And even the conscious of us discriminate subconsciously. What’s important to me is to remain a good listener, to accept that I can unintentionally discriminate, and to endeavor to be better.
Tell us your favorite books and state your reason.
Ask me in a few years…I need to read more! As a songwriter, the dictionary and thesaurus are very useful. I’m a fan of biographical and factual books; they tend to be the books I can’t put down. I’m currently reading Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming.’ And I’m trying to get into more fiction and poems. I’m open to recommendations…
Tell us what triggers your creativity.
I wish I truly knew exactly what it was. I know when I don’t play or write for a while, I miss it. And that often gives me an urge to get back and play again.
For me the trick is keeping it fresh, once I feel I’m repeating the same kind of melodies, chords, rhythms… I get bored.
I’ve noticed how my consumption of art and culture directly impacts how inspired I feel. I try to keep in mind the famous quote, I think it’s from the Dalai Lama:
“Take care of your Thoughts because they become Words. Take care of your Words because they will become Actions. Take care of your Actions because they will become Habits. Take care of your Habits because they will form your Character. Take care of your Character because it will form your Destiny, and your Destiny will be your Life.”
Tell us how you generate musical ideas for your composition.
Most often I get this feeling that I want to write. It’s like a creative urge, a bit like the urge to go to the toilet but the desire is to pick up my guitar and write! This often happens when I get back from a holiday and I haven’t played much or I get bored playing covers when I’m busking and I just start jamming something out. From there, ideas build and I’m looking out for this kind of fuzzy feeling I get when something feels right.
In the last few years, I’ve developed a kind of ‘ad lib’ style of writing where I allow and encourage myself to make different vocal sounds and this leads me along more interesting lyrical paths.
Tell us your greatest song and state the reason.
My most significant song would be ‘Flow,’ It’s my fight song, to remind me to follow my heart and not give up. This song was my first single and the song that took me to play Glastonbury 2017.
Tell us how you compose your song.
Generally, the music comes first, a chord progression or riff, the melody second then the lyrics start to fall into place.
Elaborate on the song.
Out of the Pie, is a complex one. It’s a reflection on my life, of how I’ve felt over the last 19 years of my life. The emotional discord that has been playing in my heart, mind, and the world I see around me. Its confusion, contradictions, loneliness, judgment…the list goes on!
Elaborate on your artist name and the title of the album.
My name is my name, Nicola with an H on the end. The H is the first letter of my last name.