10 Questions With… A series that delves into fresh new releases from some of our favourite artists. With a focus on our Melodic Distraction hosts and wider community, this lil natter gives us an insight into their musical escapades when they’re in their studio, not ours.
Ahead of her performance at Boom Bap this evening, we chat with Liverpool-born artist and rapper, Nikki Blaze! Nikki is on a high dose of creativity, fusing soul, dubstep, hip-hop and much more. Hip-hop has given her the opportunity to travel across the globe performing, educating younger generations and interviewing the likes of RZA, GZA and DJ Premier for BBC Radio. She now managers a number of artists from the UK and US, alongside performing a part of international group ‘OF COURSS’. Read on to find out more about her prolific career so far, what it’s like navigating the music industry as a black female artist and much more…
Hi Nikki! We’re really excited for your performance at Boom Bap later today. How did you first get into music?
I’ve been in the entertainment industry from the age of 3. I started as a dancer where I had my first performance at the age of 4 at the Neptune Theatre (now The Epstein Theatre). I danced up to the age of 12 performing in many places, then became a rapper at the age of 13. I was asked to come into a studio called PINBALL – this was where my career in hip-hop started.
If you could describe your sound in 3 words, what would they be?
TO. THE. POINT. Lol
How do you usually prepare for a gig? Any pre-show rituals?
I go for a long walk in the park while listening to the beats and good music.
What’s been your favourite performance so far? Dream artist(s) to play alongside?
This is a hard question to answer as there have been so many over the years! I enjoyed headlining with the hip-hop group Onyx on a Caribbean French Island called Guadeloupe.
As a black female artist navigating the music industry, what challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them? How do you hope to inspire young people going through a similar experience?
Over the years there have been some very hard moments to overcome. Not only do other females get jealous, so do some men. I have experienced other male rappers who don’t want me to be on stage, causing me to fight for the mic. This has given me thick skin as time went on.
As I am a mentor to many young artists, taking them overseas and getting them involved in music projects, I have passed on what knowledge I have.
How would you describe the hip-hop scene in Liverpool?
The hip-hop scene in Liverpool can be very up and down, but we have a scene that exists and has done since the late 70s. hip-hop has always had a place in Liverpool, but still needs a home and to be accepted by the higher authorities.
Do your surroundings have much of an impact on the music your create/work you do?
Yes it does. As I live in two places (Liverpool and New York) I get a lot of inspiration from real life and what is around me.
What was the record/song you bought?
I think it was Queen Latifah or Bobby Brown.
Are there any other local artists you’ve got on your radar at the moment?
Nate Trillion, just waiting for him to release his new music. I also like the DJs Girls Don’t Sync, they are refreshing and what the city needs.
What’s coming up next for you?
Nikki: My husband and I are in a hip-hop group called OFCOURSS. You will be hearing new music coming out soon, but in the meantime check out our track ‘Currency’.
My team and I have recently started a company called ‘Liverpool Hip Hop Festival’, which celebrates the elements of hip-hop culture. Throughout the year we’ll be presenting different events, theatre pieces, art exhibitions and creative workshops. The team is made up of a group of professionals who have been in the scene for over 30 years now. From spending time on BBC Radio, Juice FM and co-hosting, we have interviewed some of hip-hop’s greatest legends, giving us a great understanding of what the scene really needs.
Get down to Boom Bap at Melodic Distraction Bar this eve to watch the incredible Nikki Blaze live, alongside more local talent Tardast, Isaiah The First and Dada Shanti! In the meantime, check out her latest track ‘There You Go Again’ featuring Diagnostyx and Chizzle Rose below.