Soulful songstress Nikki Yanofsky recently released her newest work, an EP titled Solid Gold. Single “Me, Myself & I” got a massive amount of attention leading up to the EP’s release, something that is only compounded when one realizes the EP was co-produced by Wyclef Jean. A robust, beautiful work comprised of six intensely emotional and well-composed tracks, Solid Gold is Yanofsky’s first official release since 2014’s Little Secret, and just might hold the key to this woman’s burgeoning career.
In honor of the Solid Gold release, we took a few minutes to chat with the up-and-comer about life, music, and the man she wakes up to every day.
What was the first song/album you remember hearing? Who introduced it to you?
“Magical Mystery Tour” by The Beatles was my first memory with an album. My parents would always play that in the car. I used to think the lyrics to the intro of “All You Need Is Love” were “blah, blah, blah”. I was 5? My brother used to cry thinking that the magical mystery tour was actually going to take him away. Apparently, we took our music very seriously hahaha.
When did you decide to pursue music? Was there an “a-ha” moment for you?
To be perfectly honest, I never had that “a-ha” moment. It was always just part of me. As far back as preschool, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always say “a singer!” .
You’ve come a long way since 2014’s Little Secret. How would you say your sound has changed or developed since then?
I think my lyrics have gotten way more personal. I’ve become more comfortable using music to open up about my fears, hopes and dreams.
Your song “Me, Myself & I” is very introspective and beautiful. What initially stirred you to write that?
Thank you! That song is about a fear I had of being alone. It’s one of those fears that stemmed from feeling a bit out of place in high school. Writing this song really helped me overcome that.
The Solid Gold EP is, for lack of a better term, very much smooth listening. We love the r&b infusion in there, and are wondering if you had the intention of going in that direction when you set out to create it?
Thank you! I didn’t have any intention of making anything other than something I felt accurately represented where my head was at, at the time. Something authentic and honest. When I write, I naturally pull from jazz, soul and pop… So I feel like that’s why it came out the way it did.
Solid Gold was co-produced by Wyclef Jean. That’s INSANE. How did that happen, and how does it feel?
It was awesome to work with someone like Wyclef. We met a long time ago, when I was 13, and we always said we wanted to do a whole project together. Finally, we both had the time to do so. He is really supportive and very open minded while writing and producing. When you have a judgement free space to work in, you’re able to really dig in and create something that comes from the heart.
In addition to Wyclef, you’ve actually had the privilege to work with a handful of other notorious artists. Legends, even. What has that been like?
Absolutely surreal. I can honestly say that I idolize a lot of the people I’ve had the honour of working with. To be able to create and sing with them has been crazy, and super humbling. I just try to be present and take in as much as I possibly can. You learn the most by being thrown into situations that scare you. I was super scared and nervous to work with people like Rod Temperton, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder. I just know that at the end of the day, if you are able to swim rather than sink, because these opportunities are met with loads of hard work, you grow and realize that maybe there’s a reason you’re there!
What do you hope people feel after listening to Solid Gold?
I hope they feel closer to me, not as a singer but as a person.
Do you have a favorite song to perform – be it off the recent release or prior?
I love performing “Waiting On The Sun” off of Little Secret. I open up the end so I can scat and trade with my pianist. It is so much fun to make stuff up on the spot like that and feed off the crowd. I am really excited to perform songs off the Solid Gold EP too. Two in particular: Me Myself and I and Best Of Me. Those are satisfying ones to sing, especially because of the lyrics.
In honor of the month of love (which just ended), do you have a go-to idea for a date night you’d love to experience?
After seeing La La Land, I’d love to go see a black and white old movie, and then go to the planetarium and float up in the stars hahaha.
What’s your image of the ideal significant other look like? (Yeah, we’re going there.)
I wake up to him every morning (yeah, I’M going there!). Tall, dark, handsome… and most importantly insanely smart, hilarious and good to me.
What would your advice be to people who are still trying to find their way in this life?
No one really knows what they’re doing. And that’s okay. Just tie yourself to goals, not people, and take things one day at a time.
What’s up next for you?
I’m always writing and recording new material. New songs are cookin 🙂