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Nikki Hill at Bluesfest 2019 by Jason Rosewarne

Born and bred in North Carolina and now based in Memphis, Tennessee, vocal dynamo Nikki Hill returns to Bluesfest in 2023 for 4 exclusive performances at the Byron Bay festival. Nikki’s edgy style of rock and blues comes out of a blend of influences from soul legends such as Otis Redding and James Brown, to rockers like Little Richard. Add to the mix her love of punk and hard rock through her early devotion to Bad Brains, The Cramps and AC/DC and you get a unique, powerful force of musical energy. Nikki can’t wait to come back to Australia and Bluesfest in particular, a festival she calls “the coolest rock ’n’ roll fantasy club”.

Australian Musician editor Greg Phillips recently had the opportunity to chat with vocal dynamo Nikki Hill over a zoom call to discuss her upcoming trip to Australia. Photos by Jason Rosewarne.

More about Nikki Hill
Nikki Hill is sweet seduction, sweeter threat, and smouldering energy. An original force in American music, she is tender and tough, flamboyant, witty and dangerous. To put it plainly, Hill brings daggers back to the stage and studio. Overlapping soulful, sensual and bold vocal tones with powerful chrome-plated riffs and swagger, her voice finds a home in it – a soul singing, bar rocking, roots revivalist, that writes with frank self-reflection at a dancing tempo.

Hailing from Durham, North Carolina, Nikki Hill enjoyed R&B, soul, pop and hip hop at home. In addition, she sang gospel in the church choir from childhood through her early teenage years. Gradually, she developed her ears for garage rock, rock n’ roll, blues and roots, while also picking up influence from living along the legendary Mississippi River – in St. Louis, Missouri, New Orleans, Louisiana, and currently Memphis, Tennessee. In Nikki’s mind, a fertile mix of all the different types of music she had heard arose, and gradually these merged into something quite special, as she found her own voice, which the world was gradually introduced to on her many constant tours, where she took more and more audiences by storm with her distinctive vocals and energetic stage performance.

After self-releasing and producing her debut album, Here’s Nikki Hill, her musical contributions continued, with her song “Struttin’” released on Deke Dickerson and The Bo-Keys Soul Meets Country EP, produced by Scott Bomar in Memphis, TN. The momentum continued through the release of her second album, Heavy Hearts Hard Fists, recorded at Fort Horton Studios in Wyldwood, TX. The acclaimed album was accompanied by a worldwide tour in the US, Europe, Australia, India and Morocco, and over 30 festivals, including Montreux Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, and Byron Bay Blues Festival, receiving praise for uplifting the new songs with an erupting live performance.

“Think Tina Turner fronting AC/DC and you’ll have half of the picture. She’s a machine…you’ve got no excuse if you miss seeing her… Nikki Hill is a revelation, her band masters of rocket-fueled bluesy swing, her voice the beacon which calls you home… a vocal powerhouse who don’t mess around.” (Rolling Stone).

Nikki Hill and band play Bluesfest Byron Bay exclusively on the Thursday 6th, Friday 7th, Saturday 8th and Monday 10th April, 2023.

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