Updated: Jul 15, 2022
Nikea Marie is a recording artist, wife, and mother. Fred Hammond, Kim Burrell, and Mary Mary are just a few gospel recording artists she has shared the stage with. Nikea is an all-around vocal master. I had the pleasure of interviewing this amazingly talented singer, and here is what she shared with me.
Tell me a little bit about your background. Where are you from and how did you get started in music? I am from the DMV area and my love for music started with my father. My father was a musician and singer and he loved music. He had a band back in the day, and he played for Eddie Kendricks from The Temptations. He set the foundation for me. By the time I was born, my dad decided to give his life to God, and he started playing and singing for churches. I would go to every choir rehearsal, and I just loved how the music made people feel good. They would come in feeling tired or overwhelmed, but once the music started and the singing started, they would feel uplifted. I said as a child that I wanted to be a part of making people feel better through music. My love for music started there.
What is your vocal range? I would say my range can go from an alto to soprano, on a good day.
When did your professional career begin and how did it happen? After Highschool my dad decided to put a studio to record in our home. I had a lot of things that I would journal, and my dad showed me how to create and write songs. I wrote my first album and recorded it at home. My dad and this guy named Tony Galloway did the music and we came up with something great. It caught the attention of a record label and they signed me. Unfortunately, the label had to shut down after a short time of being in business, but it was a lot I learned during that time.
What challenges do having your own independent label have? I would say the biggest challenge is a lack of knowledge. There is so much you need to know as an artist that the labels have so much knowledge about. As independent artists, we are learning as we go, and sometimes those lessons are expensive.
In your opinion, what does it really take to “make it” in this business? You have to have patience. You can’t allow yourself to quit when things don’t go your way. You have to endure until the end.
In your opinion, what's the best and worst part of being an independent artist? The best part is being able to be in control of your resources and also control your sound and make your own decisions. You don’t have to be the next…you are the NOW. The worst part is not being taken seriously by others at times. It’s like people pay attention to people who have a name or label behind them. Sometimes we are overlooked, but trust, our time is coming! I am grateful that I have been given the opportunity to perform on major platforms with some major artists being independent artists. I have also been nominated for amazing awards and also considered for a Grammy. What an honor to be independent and have so many awesome opportunities. The key is patience! Trust God!!
Have you ever released a song that you really thought would be a major success, but it didn’t do as well as you expected? Tell me about an experience you had like that?
Sometimes we focus so much on the numbers and not the impact. I realized that my music isn’t for everyone, and I am ok with that. I have several songs I have put out and said oh I know this is it, and it wasn’t, but I began to change my perspective. I know God has given me something to say, and if 1 person's life is impacted then I feel like that is success to me.
Do you have a daytime job or is music your full-time job? I am grateful that I get to do music full-time. My husband has a great job that allows me the freedom to focus on my music. I am so thankful for his sacrifice. I am so thankful to have a husband who believes in me and supports me however he needs to.
How important is it that your friends and family support your music by purchasing and downloading your single? How crucial is their support for the success of your career?
My family has been huge supporters and their support means the world to me. I am so thankful to have them in the audience at a show or calling me because they heard my song on the radio, or just telling everyone to watch out because she is about to blow up! It is an amazing feeling. They have been a part of the process, so the fact that they can enjoy the success is a blessing to me.
How do you feel about the concept of likes and dislikes on an artist's social media music-related post? In your opinion, is that an accurate assessment of the artist's talent, worth, or ability? I feel that my worth is not based on other people’s opinions. I feel like people have different tastes in what they like. I don’t like coffee, but my husband does and so do millions of others. Should Starbucks stop making coffee because I don’t like it? No, because there are consumers all over the world who love coffee. The same goes for your music. There are millions of people all over the world who will relate to and love what you are giving. Don’t devalue what you have been given based upon someone not liking it. As long as you love it, there are people who will as well.
What have people who have heard your music say about your vocal style that sets you apart from other vocalists? They say my vocals bring healing. They have said it is just a sound that I have that pierces their souls. That means so much to me because I want people to feel God when I speak and sing, and it blesses me to hear people say they do.
If you can speak to your fans from your heart and tell them one important thing that you want them to know about being an independent artist, what would it be? Being an independent artist is a lot of work, but it is rewarding. You have to stay committed to the process. You have to stay in your lane and be authentic to who you are. You also have to have a good attitude. Treat people well and stay humble. Humility goes a long way.
What advice would you give to new artists entering the changing industry? Connect with the right people! I am so thankful that I have been able to connect with people who know more than me about this business, but they also have integrity. You also need to connect with other independent artists and come together and do something. We all need one another to help each other and support one another.
If you can speak to DJs from your heart and tell them one important thing that you want them to know about being an independent artist, what would it be? I love being able to build as an independent artist. Choosing who I feel is a fit for my brand is absolutely amazing. I also love the fact that it is so fun to experiment with what works and doesn’t work. I can see what my audience is feeling and what they aren’t. It is a joy to grow and become confident not having so much pressure from a label, but just being able to be the best version of me.
How would you describe your music to those who have never heard it before? I have been told that my music is the medicine for the world today. They have a vaccine for covid, but God gave me this album as a cure for the sickness in our world. My music was created to bring healing.
Do you write and produce your own music? I write my music, but I have an amazing team of producers. BlackMock, James Drummerboy Harris, Ryan “Top” Anderson, are amazing guys from MD who are phenomenal producers.
What does it really feel like to be an Independent Artist? Share your heart with our readers? I love having the freedom to work with whoever I want. I so enjoy being able to stick to my creativity and my sound. Being an independent artist allows you to drive and not be a passenger. Sometimes you can get in accidents or even get speeding tickets, but you learn from the crashes, and you keep it moving. I love being able to make decisions that work for me, and I do not have to consider a label or everyone else. It’s a lot of leg work, hustle, and faith, but if you would just endure until the end, it will be well worth it.
How do you prepare yourself mentally for public opinion (either positive or negative) when you’re preparing for a new song release? I really just allow myself to remember my why! Why did I want to pursue music in the first place? It goes back to wanting people to feel better, encouraged, uplifted, and inspired. Regardless of if it’s a million people or one person that’s my heart's desire. I can’t allow everyone’s opinion to affect me or cause me to doubt who I am and what I am assigned to do. I love feedback, but I won’t allow the negativity to create room for me to doubt what I have been gifted to do.
Have you ever felt so discouraged in this business, for whatever reason, that you just wanted to throw in the towel? This business can absolutely be brutal. It was so hard in the beginning because the industry said that my music wasn’t “churchy” enough, but then the world said my music was too clean. I felt like a ping pong ball going from one side to the other just trying to get my music heard. That can absolutely make you want to give up because I didn’t feel like I fit in. It has taken time for me to finally be content and I decided to create my own lane. Being ok not fitting in took time, but I am so grateful that I had the courage to stand and stay true to who I am.
How many singles/albums do you have out presently and what is your favorite album/song to date? I have 4 albums and I would have to say this self-entitled album, Nikea Marie, is my absolute favorite. I just released it in March 2022, and I am here to tell you, that it is amazing.
Tell me about your latest album/ song and what was your inspiration behind it? Is it out now and where can people buy it? This album is personal. I feel like I put a lot of my personal business on these tracks. From not believing in myself, which is where I Believe In Me came from, to feeling like I wanted to commit suicide after losing my mother, which is where Breathe comes from, to then saying how GOOD God is. This album takes you on my spiritual journey, and the blessing is that so many people can relate to a song on this project. It’s not a record for just the young, it's for everyone. I guarantee you that there is a song that will speak to you on this album, and that’s a blessing to me. You can get my music on all streaming and digital outlets (apple music, itunes, amazon) and you can also check out my website www.nikeamarie.com
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