From an early age, music has been an influential force in Nikkiesha’s life. From the time they discovered Michael Jackson and wanted to sing and break dance like the King of Pop, to being so consumed that Nikkiesha and their siblings performed talent shows in their living room while their parents were both audience and judges, they knew the importance of music.
Nikkiesha (Nikkie) grew up with music around them! In addition to countless talent shows, their home was literally seconds away from a panyard - Panosonic Connection Steel band Orchestra’s panyard. On many late nights, when they should have been asleep, Nikkie’s parents would find the seven year old perched at their bedroom’s window listening to the orchestra practice for the largest steelpan competition in the world: Panorama.
Nikkie’s older brother played the tenor pan for the orchestra. It was witnessing their brother practice which ignited their mesmerized obsession with the instrument. Nikkie took any opportunity to try and play the song their brother was practicing. They didn't care how much noise they made, or how many times they got into trouble for beating their brother’s tenor pan. Nikkie couldn't resist the pan’s allure.
Their love and passion for the steel-pan never died after the age of seven, as twelve year old Nikkie, determined to be a part of the steel-pan culture, began running away to the panyard, and giving the rehearsal director hell - picking up the orchestra’s panists’ sticks and beating any of the unattended steel-pans.
At the time, they were unaware of the difference between beating and playing the pan or any other percussive instrument. The rehearsal director started them off on the Gurndig - better known as the Double Guitar. The Gurndig is similar to the rhythm guitar in a rock band. He told Nikkie if they can learn and master how to play the Gurndig well, they could then move onto their desired pan: the shiny chrome tenor, the soprano, the lead pan in the orchestra.
Knowing they weren’t going to stop running away to Panosonic's panyard, Nikkie’s dad decided to become the orchestra's manager.
As Nikkie got older, they began listening to R&B, Blues, Jazz, Rap/Hip-Hop and Rock music. To their great enthusiasm to hear and experience different forms of music, after migrating to the US, Nikkie was exposed to sub-genres and even more diverse sounds.
Inspired they began to play different instruments: acoustic guitar, the congas, and the drum-kit. Eventually spending more time behind the drum-kit, Nikkie began playing with various rock and punk groups. Most notable, the woman fronted rock trio Telenovela Star whose single, "Car Song" was the theme music for The N Channel’s Beyond The Break.
After many years of playing behind the drum-kit, Nikkiesha is bringing all that they have learned to create and produce their first album, which is a tribute to their late mother and brother.
Nikkie McLeod’s tracks