The comments run the gamut – from the creative to the comical. “Your voice just snatched my edges!” “Why aren’t you famous yet?” “If Beyoncé and Toni Braxton had a baby, she’d sound just like you!” Those are just a few of the reactions after an encounter with “that voice.” Whether it's watching her videos or attending a live performance, there's no doubt the 24-year-old R&B singer/songwriter Nikki Hayes is not your typical artist. She’s a vocal powerhouse to be reckoned with.
Not bad for someone who, as her family used to say, “couldn’t hold a note in her hand.”
Nikki’s journey into music began at Studio One Dance Chicago when she was just six years old and continued while attending elementary school at St. Sabina Academy where she danced as well as sang in the school’s gospel choir. Even then she wanted more and while she didn’t know it, her inner will was beginning to surface. “My older sisters were members of Walt Whitman and The Soul Children of Chicago, and those kids can really sing so of course, I wanted to join,” Nikki recalled. “One problem though – I couldn’t sing! In fact, my sisters would sing together, and their harmonies were so tight. I’d join in and they’d tell me ‘just listen, don’t sing!’ I was hurt, but I was determined -- so every day I’d go in our basement and just sing. I admit, it sounded really bad at first. My parents would just shake their heads then ask me to please close the basement door!”
Nikki kept at it and auditioned for The Soul Children again and was turned down. Disappointed but still determined, she kept singing. Her vocals and her confidence slowly began to improve which led to a third audition, and she was finally selected. “I was turned down three times before finally becoming a Soul Child, and I’ll never forget the moment I was finally in!,” she said. “I was only 9 years old, but I learned the value of hard work and the power of focus.”
Industry producers began to take notice and in 2010 Nikki recorded her first solo project. In 2013, she landed a final five spot in the “Who’s Next? Worldwide Online Talent Search,” sponsored by six-time Grammy Award winning producer; engineer; vocal producer and songwriter Kuk Harrell (Rihanna; Justin Bieber; Cher; Eminem; Beyoncé and others). Since then, Nikki has recorded with Grammy Award winning artist Malik Yusef (G.O.O.D. Music); Tour keyboardist to the stars Marcus Kincy (Camila Cabello; Mary J. Blige, P. Diddy; Nick Jonas); and others.
In 2016 Nikki penned her first single titled Chance of Rain, which further introduced Nikki’s fresh, vocal sound. In 2018 she released Move, a mellow R&B vibe that conveys the physical fervor of love and the anxieties we may face we are drawn to someone. Move became a favorite among both fans, the music industry and the media, landing the track on the CW’s All American, an Independent Music Award nomination for best R&B song, and other accolades.
Nikki returned with a vengeance in 2019 with her follow-up single titled Stingray. An incredibly dynamic vibe as mellow, melancholic verses build into driving choruses of empowerment, Nikki uses Stingray to share her own story of an emotionally abusive relationship, and the painful journey of regaining control of her life. “While no one really wants pain of any sort, we learn who we are during times of struggle,” she said. “Yes, it can be agonizing when you’re in the midst of it, but it’s also necessary in order to discover and embrace your power.”
Nikki’s love for 90’s music and her propensity to share that clandestine part of her spirit, both lyrically and vocally, continue to be a part of who she is. Her musical influences are wide-ranging – from Beyoncé and Stevie Wonder to Sade and Toni Braxton, who shared Nikki’s cover of her hit, You’re Making Me High with her Twitter followers.
Nikki is known by her endearing and infectious personality and for anybody who meets her, once hearing that mellifluous voice, it’s nearly impossible to not become a Nikki Hayes fan.
More music, including her first EP The 12th House, will be released soon, where fans will get an even greater intimate portrait of her life and her dreams via “that voice.”
For additional information contact Sonya Gregory-Hayes; LNJ Entertainment; 773-547-4017, firstname.lastname@example.org or Matt Arsenault; 781/706-7011, email@example.com.
“One of the most impressive voices... I almost came out of my own skin.” - Roe Conn
— WGN Radio
“...There hasn’t been an RnB or soul singer with something quite so unique and genuine for a while now. Of course you never know what that unique trait will be until you hear it, but this is it; without a doubt.” - Stereo Stickman