Raw tal­ent ar­rives late

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - LIVE ’N’ LOUD -

SHE’S been hailed as a ‘‘south­ern fire­ball’’, the next in line for the throne as queen of vin­tage rock ’n’ roll, but you prob­a­bly haven’t even heard of her. With her gritty pow­er­house vo­cals and sound that re­sem­bles soul sov­er­eigns of yes­ter­year – Nikki Hill (pic­tured) has been dealt a sen­sa­tion card from the mu­sic gods. The North Caroli­nan songstress re­mains so un­sung – for now – be­cause a mi­cro­phone has only been un­der her com­mand for two years. The ex­er­cise-phys­i­ol­o­gist-turned-rock’n’roll-god­dess brings her retro flavour to Aus­tralia for the first time next year as part of the lineup for By­ron Bay’s 25th an­nual Blues­fest blowout. Hill says she was in­spired to hang up her white cloak when re­quests for live shows started flood­ing in last year. ‘‘I recorded my first EP in sum­mer 2012 and started get­ting emails and calls about gigs, so I did a west coast tour. It went re­ally well,’’ she says. ‘‘When I was on the road and my man­ager kept call­ing ev­ery day, it lit­er­ally hit me the fourth or fifth time he called with a gig. I thought, I don’t think I can go back to work.’’ The vin­tage fe­male songstress says she made the right de­ci­sion at the right time. ‘‘I wouldn’t change a thing, ev­ery­thing has hap­pened right on time,’’ Hill says. ‘‘I think if I tried ear­lier, I wouldn’t have been as pre­pared. Some­times it’s such a good thing to let your­self de­velop slowly in­stead of throw­ing your­self out there too quickly.’’ Hill’s band in­cludes her gui­tarist-hus­band Matt, with whom she co-owns in­de­pen­dent la­bel, Deep Fryed Records. ‘‘Hav­ing the best friend by my side (on the road) is a great feel­ing,’’ she says. ‘‘I don’t even have a goal list – I’m just let­ting it hap­pen. The way things have taken off, so un­ex­pect­edly, I am just along for the ride, wait­ing to see what hap­pens next.’’ The retro-dress­ing, tat­tooed singer re­leased Here’s Nikki Hill ear­lier this year. Hill says it’s a rock ’n’ roll record. ‘‘There’s noth­ing like rock ’n’ roll, the en­ergy and the feel­ing. You are free to let your­self go in it. The at­ti­tude and the sound – it’s ev­ery­thing,’’ she says.

– ROSE SADLEIR

Nikki Hill plays three shows at the By­ron Bays Blues­fest, at Tya­garah Tea Tree Farm, from April 17-21.

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