No products in the cart.
Before you do anything, please make sure to take a second and preorder Nick’s debut solo album dropping Friday, February 21st!
I first heard a preview of Nick’s album on a cold, cloudy day in Saint Paul, Minnesota last November. It’s not necessarily the place you’d expect to be sitting down with a member of one of the most popular reggae bands in the U.S., but with Nick’s group Iya Terra quickly gaining momentum all around the country, they found themselves playing a nearly sold-out show here in town that night. This says something not just about the incredibly inspiring music they create, but about the widespread blossoming of the whole Cali Reggae movement throughout our country; here they were in the middle of the Midwest, about 2,000 miles away from the LA area where they’re based, and they were met with a showing of hundreds of passionate and supportive fans who knew the lyrics to every one of their songs.
I arrived at the show early to take a music production lesson with Nick via Backstage Music Lessons. He greeted me with a warm smile and hug, and we talked about how crazy it was to see each other here in Minnesota after I’d lived in California for so many years; the last time we ran into each other was this past May at the California Roots Music and Arts Festival. No matter where I see Nick, he’s one of those people whose lighthearted presence immediately puts you at ease and makes you feel welcome.
We sat next to each other with our computers in front of us a few hours before their headlining gig at the Turf Club that night and chatted about music production, songwriting, and artists that inspire us. We were in the basement of the venue where their green rooms are located, surrounded by concrete, storage, and miscellaneous band members relaxing before the show. At one point, after giving me some great production tips, Nick lit an impeccably rolled joint, tilted his head back with a smile, and asked if I wanted to hear a couple of the jams off what would be his first solo album – needless to say, I excitedly accepted.
He handed the headphones over, hit “play” on his Macbook, and I sat back as the powerful roots reggae rhythms washed over me. Reggae is the type of music that has the ability to cut straight to your soul; it’s a majestic, meditative force, forging new and old, and bringing peace of mind to listeners through powerful rhythms and uplifting melodies.
Closing my eyes for a second, I immediately found myself transported to another place, and noticed my head and body moving involuntarily along to the sweet rhythms permeating my ears. Before this point I’ll admit that although I knew Nick enjoyed producing and writing music, I wasn’t completely aware of the vast amount of talent, both as a writer and producer, that he had used to create the spiritually heavy grooves I was hearing. I was blown away.
I looked over at him somewhat surprised as I nodded my head to the beat, and he shot back a humble smile as if to kindly say, “You dig it?”
I listened to a couple of the songs and took off the headphones.
“Dude, I need to write about this album” I said to him. “Let me know when you’re getting closer to the release date so that I can help you get the word out about it – – I love it!”
A couple weeks after that incredible show I received a text from Nick with a link to the finished album, and I’ve been jamming it ever since. The album’s music inspired all the words you’re reading here. The more I listen, the more impressed I am with Nick’s distinct style, incredible ear, and humbly awesome talents as a producer. Being a music producer myself, I’ve gained a vast appreciation for how difficult a task it is not just to write an album’s worth of songs, but to painstakingly meld every one of them into a unique and cohesive production – soulful echoes in the vocals, dubbed delays on the keys, masterful breakdowns, and an almost inconceivable attention to every single detail to maximize the listening experience.
I know that most people have at least some appreciation for the amount of work that goes into an incredible album like this, but I’m here to tell you that it’s even harder than you can imagine. As you listen, be sure to take in every little detail, and know that all of that is intentionally put there to bring that almost indescribable feeling that hits when we hear songs we love.
I’m insanely grateful for people like Nick, who not only pave the way and inspire, but take the time to work with and nurture other producers and musicians, and help them get a solid start doing what they love.
Nick’s debut solo album is called “Foundation”, and consists of 10 beautifully self-produced reggae songs. The incredible artwork on the album was done by Ras Elijah Tafari, who’s previous work includes one of Nick’s top musical influences, Vaughn Benjamin of the revolutionary band Midnite. With Vaughn’s recent passing, it was Nick’s intention to honor his legacy.
I could go on for days about how proud I am of Nick as a musician, and how appreciative I am of our paths crossing, but that time would be much better spent listening to his new album again. Thank you so much for the opportunity to help get the word out Nick, you have a lifelong supporter and friend here, keep making it all happen!
Brendan and the Hill Kid Fam