An Interview With The ‘Purple Unicorn’ Artist, NIK WEST On Recording at Paisley Park With Prince, Her Newest Music and More!
Posted On 21 Feb 2018
“Purple Unicorn” is the latest single from Nik West. The single features MonoNeon (Prince) and Lil John Roberts (Stevie Wonder, Janet Jackson).
West has recorded eight singles with Prince at Paisley Park. She’s recorded with Dave Stewart of Eurythmic. She’s a Stax Museum Award recipient; A Hard Rock Cafe Hall of Fame Inductee, and an American Idol guest and recurring guest on Glee.
Billboard says: Nik West is one 21st Century artist who isn’t lacking in the chops department. She is a young electric bassist who clearly knows her way around her instrument and plays like she has been inspired by the funky likes of Larry Graham, Louis Johnson (of Brothers Johnson fame) and Marcus Miller.”
The colorful,highly exuberant musician with the glittery-fun personality seamlessly crosses over from Funk, to Rock, to R&B, Punk and Jazz, receiving mass accolades for her skilled chops. She’s on a mission to empower women to embrace who they are and live freely. She continues to push the envelope with her unique style and sound.
“Nik West is definitely bringing back the funk groovement and I love everything about what she stands for!”-Bootsy Collins
“Now THATS a BAAAD mama jama” – Quincy Jones
“She inspires me the same way Sheila E did” – Prince
“The Female Lenny Kravitz” – Dave Stewart (Eurythmics)
“HOLY FUNKADELIC!!!” – Steven Tyler
Connect With Nik West Here:
Official Website: http://www.nikwestbass.com/
Learn more about Nik West in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it? What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood? What is a song you are loving these days?
I’m in my Uber headed to The airport. I’m flying to NY to get fitted for my wedding dress. The car is silent (for now). I love so much music but gospel music gets me instantly out of a bad mood, but a song I’m loving right now is a song Macy Gray just recorded. She let me hear what her album is going to sound like and I LOVE this one particular song (I will keep the name secret for now). It’s going to be a hit!
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Was there a time where you thought of doing something completely different?
Never even thought about music growing up. I was into math and science and drawing clothing. My earliest musical memory was when I was 3. My dad sat all of my sisters down and taught us how to sing in harmony. I’ve definitely thought of doing something different when I first started playing music seriously. It seemed like a dead end at first.
Overall, how do you think 2017 has been for you and music career? What are you most excited about for in 2018? Do you think you will make any New Year’s Resolutions?
2017 has been a year of love for me. I only want to sing about love lol! I’m most excited about releasing my sophomore album and performing at the Sydney Opera House in Australia. It’s a very sentimental place for me because it was the last place I hung out with Prince. My resolutions are learning balance and being more disciplined at my craft.
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your hometown and current home has affected you and your music today?
Arizona is the middle of the desert! Literally Lol! My hometown really had nothing for me to do and there’s no music scene. So I created my own thing and I got as creative as I wanted to with it. I think the fact that there was nothing is what inspired me to want to do everything!
Let’s talk about your latest track “Purple Unicorn.” What was the inspiration behind it? What about the video for it? How creatively involved were you in the making of it all? When do you hope to release more new music?
People have been calling me a Purple Unicorn because of my purple hair and the way my Mohawk is shaped. Also because of my association with Prince so my sister and I decided to write a song about it. Initially it started because of my look, but while writing the song, it became all about a character or thought or thing that took your mind off of your worries. A unicorn is an imaginary creature that gives people happy feels so that’s what it’s all about. I’m very involved with everything artistic I do because I always want it to look and feel like me. Summer 2018 my album will be out 🙌🏾
Besides this new song, you have a lot of other things going on too! Can you elaborate on your NOTHING COMPARES TO PRINCE World Tour? How did you get involved with it? How excited for these shows to happen? Do you think there will be U.S dates in the future?
This is a big collaborative effort with members of NPG, The Family, The Revolution, Paisley Park, and more. We premiere the show in Australia and will continue abroad as everyone’s schedules permit. I was asked to do this and the last place I was seen with Prince was in Sydney, where he performed one of his last performances of the Piano and a Microphone concert. I’m super excited about this as this will be the first tribute I’ve really been available to do and it’s a very sentimental one.
As a big Prince fan myself, I must ask you about recording with him in Paisley Park. What was that experience like for you?
Just being around him is magical. He was a genius and he made me feel comfortable. Anytime I’d hit a high note he’d say “WAS THAT YOU? NICE!” So he was very encouraging and he made me strive for excellence. I could never just wing it with him. I’d be practicing in the hotel room all night to make sure I was prepared. He made it seem like it was no pressure but my brain didn’t see that lol!!! I knew if I did something just completely wrong he’d joke about it with me. He’s missed so much!
I would love to know more about your 30 piece orchestra that you have put together? What has it been like to hear your music transformed with all of these powerful sounds?
I’m really excited about this because I’m gonna because I’m going to perform it like it’s never been done before (by me) We are still in the writing process of everything and all of the charts but I can’t wait to update everyone!
How is wedding planning going?? What will the music be like at it?? I am sure there will be lots of Prince heard, right?
Wedding planning is going great! I gave my wedding planner my ideas and she running with it. I’m not much of an over the top kind of person. I’m more about experiences and adventure. And YES lots of Prince will be heard… after all, my wedding color is purple.
How do you think you have continued to grow as an artist year after year? What has remained the same?
My growth has come in the form of writing lyrics and producing music. Knowing the business side of music has also grown for me. My heart and the way I treat people has remained the same.
Do you have any final tour dates to wrap up 2017? Where can people see you play live next?
2017 tour dates are officially done. Whew! I’ve toured most of this year and all of last year. So I’m welcoming the break for now. Next I will be in Belgium end of Feb.
What do you think of social media today and the importance of it for artists now? Do you find that it’s hard to keep up with it all?
Social media is super important! That’s initially how I made my mark. But sometimes it can feel like a popularity contest if you’re not careful and confident in who you are and the message you want to portray. I keep up with it by planning ahead. But most people just want to see the real me and that’s easy enough. But hopefully they social media wizards don’t come up with another one lol! 5 is enough haha!
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect these difficult times?
Music is not only my career but it’s my outlet. I put a lot of those frustrations into performing with passion. Music has always told us what was going on in a certain era. Politically and spiritually.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Some of my fav artists are… of course Prince as we worked together so well, Tori Kelly, Justin Timberlake, and Chris Stapleton. I’d like to work with them as well as Paul McCartney and Bono.
What do you hope your fans take away from your music? Do you think there is a greater music in your songs?
Love, happiness, and inspiration.
What advice would you give to a young person who is thinking about becoming a musician one day?
Learn the art of differentiation. Never try and be like anyone else. Take what makes you unique and run with that.