The latest album from UK singer/songwriter Nikki Loy comes on the back of the most rigorous of self-imposed song-writing challenges.
Nikki, who will be supporting Shane Filan at Portsmouth Guildhall on October 22 at 7pm, set herself the task of writing a song a week for a year, putting it up online around 6pm every Tuesday.
As she says, effectively it meant writing and posting a song in a day once a week for 12 months: “I would actually write it on the Tuesday and then spend the rest of the week recovering until the next Tuesday! And then from that, we chose 12 songs to go onto the new album. Actually, it was ten songs – and then there will be the deluxe version.
“The result is we have got a strong album. The other songs I will work up if I get to do another album, and some of them will just have to go into the archive.”
As she says, you have got to be ruthless: “You can’t be too precious. The ones I don’t use will still have served their purpose.”
The album, her third studio recording, will be called Pivotal. Due out on October 14, it sees Nikki collaborate with producer George Shilling (Mary J Blige, James Brown).
“It’s really exciting. The first two albums didn’t receive anything like the production that this one has received. Really this has been the first time I have been able to throw absolutely all my creativity at it. For the first two, I didn’t have a huge team of musicians. I didn’t have a professional producer. I just had a lot of nice guys around me. I have experimented in the past between doing a lot of acoustic and doing things with my band. But this one has been with George who has got 30 years in the business, with George in one room with me for a year and a half together giving it absolutely everything I had left to give.
“I am so excited about it. If I feel down, I just put on the album and it makes me feel really excited.
“Before I started recording the album, I was gigging maybe four or five nights a week, and if I wrote a certain song that I like and that fitted into my set, it would become part of my set. I chose some of the songs that way. And there were a lot of songs that I took to the producer, and George would be quite critical, bless him, in a good way, and eventually we just brought it down to our favourites.”
So what did Nikki learn from her song-writing challenge?
“I learnt that it doesn’t get easier. I just had to get better at being disciplined. A lot of people have the attitude that they write when inspiration comes. But a lot of it is really, really hard work. One of the songs on the album is called Tongue Tied. I usually put the songs online at 6pm, and it got to 5pm and I still hadn’t written anything, and I was getting so frustrated and cross. I had nothing! But out of the anger and the rage and frustration, this song came. I didn’t even think it was any good because I was so cross with it, but it has turned out to be one of my absolute favourites!”
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