Rising star Nikki King: “We started a #spreadthestarlight movement to raise awareness and support for immigrant children”

We actually have started a movement with the hashtag #spreadthestarlight with the launch of the music video for the single. Although we are specifically raising awareness and support for immigrant children via our video, we encourage anyone to use the hashtag for any issue that brings good to the world. Social media is such a […]

We actually have started a movement with the hashtag #spreadthestarlight with the launch of the music video for the single. Although we are specifically raising awareness and support for immigrant children via our video, we encourage anyone to use the hashtag for any issue that brings good to the world. Social media is such a powerful tool in today’s society and so it’s important to be mindful about the messages you chose to endorse so I hope this hashtag will help with that.

As part of my series featuring the rising stars in the music industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nikki King. Nikki is no stranger to the entertainment world. She received her BFA in acting with honors from the world-renowned, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, graduating at the young age of 19. Choosing to leave her NYC theatre circuit for Hollywood, Nikki moved to Los Angeles where she got some smaller roles including one in Awkward (TV Show). Thinking she finally caught her big break, Nikki was cast as a primary role in a major feature film collaborating with A-list directors and cinematographers. However, the film never made it to post, and so, Nikki found herself having to take her career into her own hands. An actress, writer, entrepreneur, and storyteller, Nikki committed to using her art to uplift people out of the dark crevices of the world. Having always been a multi-hyphenated artist, Nikki was encouraged to make the leap into the music scene by her acting manager, Gary Ousdahl, (Guns N’ Roses, Wu Tang Clan). Nikki is proud to be making her debut as a music artist with the launch of her single, “Starlight,” which she hopes will spread light to the world and impact positive political change.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have always been a storyteller and creator, but music was something that I never really thought I would pursue. Although I loved it, I initially felt very self-conscious about my voice so it remained a secret dream and only something I did behind closed doors. Instead, I made my focus acting because I could throw myself into another character’s life rather than open myself up to critique. There is something very vulnerable about using your voice as an instrument because at the end of the day, especially when you’re singing the songs that you wrote, you don’t have anything to hide behind, especially if you’re not playing an instrument. Your voice is a permanent extension of your soul so confidence was my biggest obstacle when it came to pursuing music. It’s been quite the journey to find this confidence but I am slowly and surely getting there. I credit the start of this confidence to drunken evenings with other musically talented peers where I felt uninhibited and free to make “something.” These songs started out as mostly comedic, because again, I was looking for something to hide behind. The music producer of “Starlight,” Kevin Dean, really helped me find my voice by believing in me and giving me an opportunity to create on a regular basis. We would get together once a week and just try different things without the pressure of perfection. Equipped with these tracks, some more hilarious than others, I slowly started taking myself seriously as an artist and becoming proud of (gasp) even the music that bared my soul. Although it’s still a journey, I am proud of how far I’ve come and the conscious shift to believe in myself as an artist. I firmly believe that music has the power to heal, spread change, and make the world a better place. Because of that, I want to be known as an artist who is rooted in truth and love, and most importantly, I hope to empower the listener.

Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your music career?

The most interesting moment thus far was actually on the set of my first music video, “Starlight.” Here we were, on the last day of shooting, trying to build this wall in the desert so we could knock it down. And this wall just wouldn’t stay up (ironic, huh?). The sun was growing closer and closer to setting and we really needed this shot immediately. Literally, the entire behind the scenes team stood for almost an hour holding up this wall in the brutal desert winds so that we could get our shot. It was such a beautiful moment for me to truly see how much our crew and parents of talent cared about this political issue to go as far as thrust themselves into these strenuous conditions to help. It really made all of the stress of making the project happen worth it and was incredibly humbling.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I have a lot of exciting projects on the horizon and am taking meetings with some pretty awesome industry veterans so there are a lot of things in the works. My latest music is rooted in empowering women and has a lot of house music influence although it is definitely still in the pop / anti-pop genre. It’s been really refreshing to stray away from bubble gum pop and sing from the deepest parts of my soul. Now more than ever, I’m pushing myself to lyrically tell stories that I think females really need while still encouraging anyone who hears the songs to get up and dance. Because why not dance, right?

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

I am very fortunate to have an incredible acting manager, Gary Ousdahl. He has definitely championed my music career and has introduced me to some pretty awesome people. There have been some pretty epic impromptu nights jamming at the studio (4 Sound LA) with the incredible, Rakim and DJ Quik. They are both incredibly talented artists and the most humble human beings. I truly respect them and their craft. Seeing what they do in the booth is truly jaw dropping and I think it’s really important to be inspired by artists of all different genres and not be afraid to put yourself out there, even though I am in no way a rapper, haha.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

This question is not fair as there are so many inspiring people in history so I’m going to narrow it down to two incredible women who are making waves today (one of which, who is in the entertainment industry, and the other, who is such an inspiration as a human being and political activist).

1.) Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is a huge inspiration of mine because I relate so much to her struggles. Not only did we both attend NYU’s Tisch but we both had hate groups made about us while at college. On these hate groups, someone even went as far as to impersonate me and others said I had “the voice of a dying cat.” And although I was determined to not let this stop me from believing in myself and succeeding, it was both disturbing and shocking to know that a group of nameless haters were so determined to tear me down, especially at such a young age. Gaga has been a beacon of hope to me in both the brightest of times and the darkest. She is absolutely fearless. No matter how much hate she received throughout her career, she has not allowed anyone to stop her from being uniquely her own. Time and time again, she was unafraid to take risks, in both her music and fashion, and it has been truly beautiful to now see her getting the praise she deserves and most importantly, come into her own as a true artist. I would be honored to have a career that is even a fraction of what she has accomplished.

2.) Malala Yousafzai

Where do I even begin? Not only is Malala an inspiration for women, but she truly has defied the odds when it comes to setting an example for standing up for what you believe in. Her work for equality and education is absolutely incredible and I am so thankful that she is part of the millennial generation as we can all learn from her. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our day to day struggles in America (I am so guilty of this) that are, retrospectively, so small in comparison to what is going on in the rest of the world. I feel that having a role-model like Malala can help expand ones consciousness and give us the perspective to root ourselves in activism and see how much more work there is to be done in the world.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I have partnered with the organization K.I.N.D. so that part of proceeds for my single, “Starlight” go to helping immigrant children. For more information on K.I.N.D., please visit there website: https://supportkind.org

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

We actually have started a movement with the hashtag #spreadthestarlight with the launch of the music video for the single. Although we are specifically raising awareness and support for immigrant children via our video, we encourage anyone to use the hashtag for any issue that brings good to the world. Social media is such a powerful tool in today’s society and so it’s important to be mindful about the messages you chose to endorse so I hope this hashtag will help with that.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I think it’s really important to be constantly creating and to not limit yourself to one genre of art. I creatively express myself a number of different ways from acting to designing clothes and whether you choose to pursue these other interests as a career or hobby, I think it’s really important to look at these other outlets as an enhancement to your main art rather than as “quitting” or “failing.” Personally, I feel that the other ways I express myself actually make me a better artist and give me a fresh look at how to approach music.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1.) Don’t compare your journey to other artists.

-There are many ways to accomplish the same goal and it’s unhealthy to compare your journey to that of those in your field. Some people are “discovered” in a mall and well, most of us…aren’t. Keep trying and never give up.

2.) Don’t get jealous of friends/colleagues success

-If people in your circle are becoming successful, CELEBRATE THEM! The thought should NOT be “that should have been me” or “if only I was as talented…” Your friends/colleagues success is a positive for them as much as a positive for you. Know that you are in good company and learn from their success. And, if you find yourself in a position where your friends aren’t supporting you, you should really re-think the friendship.

3.) Explore other interests and have other hobbies.

-Too much of practicing your craft can be destructive to your creativity. Work hard and put time into your music career but don’t make it your entire life. In any industry, your life needs to be more than just your career, and good songs are those that are relatable to the human experience. So have something to share that’s human rather than something to share that’s just about music or your industry.

4.) Your success should not be tied to your self-worth.

-Let’s be real, some of the most talented people are not famous. This industry is so much about luck and if you treat each opportunity with desperation, you’re not going to be able to show what you really can do. Also, music is so subjective. Your biggest fan and your worst hater are probably in the same crowd. If you’re not pursuing this for you, you’re not pursuing it for the right reasons.

5.) Have fun!

-Life’s short. If you hate what you’re doing, why do it? It’s never too late to start living the life you want. Honestly, I never thought I would be pursuing music so I am so thankful that I was able to be real enough for myself to look inward and find that this is a dream of mine that isn’t going away. It’s so important to remember that we are ever changing and ever evolving. Don’t be afraid to stop doing things that no longer bring you joy in addition to trying new things.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to interview and be in touch with some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

Hands down, Ellen DeGeneres! It would be incredibly humbling to meet her or even be featured on her show…I mean who doesn’t want to dance with Ellen? I love how she uses her show as a platform to promote humanitarian issues and to spread hope and love while still keeping the tone of her show light and fun for all ages. I think she would really love the message behind our music video and the #spreadthestarlight movement as a whole. Not only does our message shed light on what is happening at the border, but our message is clear that we are united against hate and discrimination. We really tried to echo this in the video by using the colors of the rainbow, which is meant to represent all races as well as the LGBTQ+ community.

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I really appreciate the support!!

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