A ressurrector of the roots of “Rock” and “Soul,” as well as a talented modern musician who joins mainstream musical tendencies and beloved classic sounds, Nicole Atkins is the brilliant and rightful queen of Rock that we need to see immediately on every media website, magazine, television show, etc.
Nicole Atkins is a singer/songwriter/literal musical genius who was born in Neptune, New Jersey – a source of inspiration for a large portion of her music — on October 21, 1978. Reportedly, her musical influences include 50’s “crooner” music, 60’s psychedelia, and soul music. This is evident in all of her music, as she distinctly touches each genre whilst artistically intertwining modern “sonic” sounds with familiar classics. It’s a tremendously mesmerizing concoction.
Her voice and musical tendencies are often, and understandably, compared to artists whose popularity raged during the “Brill Building Era” — a time which consisted of legends like Roy Orbison and gave birth to classics that are now branded in music history.
Atkins is undoubtedly a treasure that hasn’t yet been discovered in its entirety. Her beauty and artistic genuinity runs far deeper than most have reported. Thus being said, let’s expand on my statement that Nicole Atkins is today’s rightful queen of Rock.
Why Nicole Atkins is the Rightful Heir to the Throne of Modern Rock
There are many artists today who find their success in “ripping off” eachother’s music (for lack of better words) or by allowing their creativity to be altered by sources that truly shouldn’t have any power regarding the direction of said artist’s music. Atkins does not mimic her peers or her long-time influences, but rather blends together modern trends with classic sounds — which were born from artists who have been defined in history as the architects of Soulful Rock — and successfully utilizes that blend to create something all her own.
At a young age, Atkins found herself utterly fixated on the musicians that her parents had listened to — artists such as The Ronettes, The Beach Boys, and Johnny Cash — rather than what was popular at the time amongst her peers. Being that she grew up enjoying a more classic sound — one which has paved the way for today’s artists — it’s certainly no surprise that the singer is able to effortlessly incorporate into her own music those familiar patterns that live within the songs produced by these musical historians.
Listen to her songs “Maybe Tonight” and “The Way It Is” (my personal favorite) below and see if you can spot those classic influences — trust me, it won’t be difficult!
“The Way It Is”
The artist has reportedly mentioned being heavily influenced and inspired by legends like Cass Elliot and Harriet Wheeler. The vocal similarities are undoubtedly obvious in regards to Atkins’ and Elliot’s vibrato, as well as the impressive control in which they maintain over their voices. Additionally, Atkins delivers her lyrics in such a smooth and enchanting manner, which is very similar to the music Wheeler has produced. Nicole Atkins’ music is spellbindingly beautiful in it’s simplicity.
Regarding Atkins’ bewitching sound, you can experience that charm in its entirety via the song “A Little Crazy” — which you can (and should) listen to below. From the elegantly simple beginning to the rich splashes of dynamics, you can almost visualize shimmering diamonds accompanying each lyric.
Also — is it just me, or can you hear a little bit of Deschanel in her voice as well? Regardless, she’s got some seriously extraordinary pipes.
With such depth and control, it’s hard not to instantly find yourself head-over-heels obsessed with Atkins’ out-of-this-world vocal skills.
The Machine-like Flow of her Music
Every single one of Atkins’ songs is orchestrated in such an ingenious and well-thought-out manner; the artist remains consistent in ensuring proper placement of each individual sound to promise an outstanding concoction of classic and modern tunes in each and every track. Additionally, every song has this quality that provides a sense of comfort: you don’t have to anticipate sudden unexpected changes in the in song’s dynamics, but rather, the easy transitions between its sections help you enjoy the song in its entirety. The artist’s voice tends to be more dynamically driven than the music that surrounds it (though the music does not lack dynamics and life in the least bit) — it’s an interesting and impressive move that adds a lot of character and makes it easy to really experience each song.
This is all merely a small handful of the evident reasons why Nicole Atkins is a queen full of soul, who deserves all the positive recognition in the world — but don’t just take my word for it! Go check out her music, but be sure to set aside some serious time, because you’ll undoubtedly spend hours upon hours utterly submerged in her unquestionably hypnotizing musical abilities.
A little treat — below you can hear Atkins sing a slow, soulful cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes” with Postmodern Jukebox.
Title photo: Nicole Atkins performs at La Zona Rosa during SXSW in Austin, Texas on March 18, 2010. Kirk Stauffer, via Wikimedia Commons.