Exploring the Melodies of Nik's Heartfelt Evolution, Unveiling the Stories Behind His "Identity" EP Series and the Uncharted Horizons of "Amethyst Skies.
Nik Patel © 2023
Today we have the pleasure to have Nik Patel on Goathead !
GH: How did you discover your passion for songwriting, and what inspired you to start writing songs at such a young age?
Nik: When I was a kid, I was always musically inclined. During my primary school years, I had a band with a few friends in my neighbourhood, and we played a couple of shows in my front lawn to whoever would come around. Of course, at the time, it was all fun and games, and I just enjoyed playing music with my friends. It's funny looking back at it though because upon reflection of songwriting, I always say that I started writing when I was 16, but I wrote a ton of songs for our neighbourhood band. Though they may have been a little childish or grammatically incorrect, they were songs nonetheless haha. I played at my primary school talent show, wrote a song dedicated to my cousin's dog, whatever excuse I had to write I was there. Eventually, music kind of got lost trying other activities or shifting interests as you grow up, but when my high school years started, I really tried to pick it back up and found a voice again. I remember listening to Ed Sheeran's "The A Team" on the radio a couple of years after it came out and the songwriting really stuck out to me as it did for a lot of people. When I first picked the guitar back up, I tried to take inspiration from Ed Sheeran and artists of the like. I would just play with chord progressions and write the first lines that would come to mind and then before I knew it, I had a song. I kept going and going trying to find that special something and then one day I wrote the first song I was truly proud of. I was about 17 at the time when a girl in our high school passed away. Regardless of how close you were to her, everyone still felt the weight. It showed me that life is unpredictable and that behind the scenes, there are things you can't see. As a mechanism for dealing with something I've never had to do before, I wrote a song. It was the first time I felt like I wrote something truly meaningful, and I could clearly see how music can help me and other people. I've never released the song or played it at a gig; it's stayed close to my chest. And ever since then, I'd continuously write trying to deal with emotions or just to say something meaningful.
GH: Could you tell us more about your EP series 'Identity'? What themes or messages did you explore in your music?
Nik: The "Identity" EP series was a fun project. It was my first real experience working in a studio and collaborating with other creators. As a British American, I felt like I had two homes. One in the United States and one in the United Kingdom. And as this was my first project, I wanted to try and pay tribute to both of my homes while people could get a glimpse into the kind of music I was into at the time. The first EP was dedicated to my time and relation to the UK; titled LILLY. It's an acronym for Liverpool, Ipswich, Leicester, London, Yorkshire. These 5 places hold a special place in my heart and the songs on the EP were all written in those cities. The second EP, LANA, was dedicated to my time and relation to the US. Los Angeles, Atlanta, Nashville, Athens all hold some weight. One half influenced by the UK, the other influenced by the US. Together, they formed my "Identity". At the time I was still trying to find my sound instrumentally while also trying to train my voice. I was still in this singer-songwriter genre mode, but fantasising moving into a more produced Pop/R&B sound. So the EPs definitely helped with dipping my toe in the water in the navigation of finding what musically sounds right to me.
GH: Who are your top musical influences, and how have they shaped your unique sound as a singer-songwriter?
Nik: Oh so many! To piggyback off of what I've mentioned previously. Songwriting really seemed to start with inspiration from Ed Sheeran, but has blossomed from numerous idols. Enrique Iglesias is probably my favorite artist ever so definitely a little bit of influence there. I did write a song in Spanish funnily enough, but you definitely don't want to hear my Spanish singing voice haha. Justin Timberlake, James Arthur, Dean Lewis, and ZAYN are some other artists I really look up to, but recently it's been a lot of R&B influence from H.E.R, Ella Mai, GIVEON, Khalid, Daniel Caesar, and Summer Walker. As I've gotten older, my taste has definitely shifted from wanting to write the singer-songwriter acoustic ballads to more produced Pop and R&B. Also I felt in the beginning that writing somber songs were a lot easier sonically when you're just playing a guitar and you're learning, but as I've grown as a writer, I definitely started wanting to write more upbeat songs. Some songs are still somber, but you have to have some!
GH: Can you give us a glimpse into your creative process? How do you usually approach writing and composing a new song?
Nik: So I try to keep my writing process as simple as I can. I view it as, the simpler my process is, the easier it is to let things flow. Typically I still just grab my guitar, sit on the couch, and start. Usually I'll just strum a random chord and let melodies and words flow through my voice. The notes and voice memo apps on my phone are my best friends. I just go back and forth between those two while I write. Sometimes songs come naturally and I'm done in 10 minutes, but as with any creative process, times can fluctuate. But truthfully my creative process never really changed since I started. Keeping it simple and back to basics with just me and a guitar helps me stay true to myself.
GH: How would you describe your growth from your Identity EP series to your first album, Amethyst Skies? Is there anything you learnt about yourself?
Nik: Creating Amethyst Skies was actually kind of mind blowing to me. Even when I started writing or recording Identity, I never really envisioned myself releasing an album. It can be daunting even as a passion project, but I learned a lot about myself and about creating music like never before. A good friend of mine was my producer for this record and I learnt a lot about creativity in theory and tone from him, but I also learnt a lot about my creative capacities and my mental strength. For me, creating an album is a hardworking process no matter if you can effortlessly sing or if the songs are already written. It takes a whole different level of creative juice that I don't experience just writing in my flat. I go through waves of self doubt and self criticism all while I'm rushed with excitement and fondness of seeing songs come out the way I envisioned them. The songs are vulnerable and with Amethyst Skies in particular, it was a massive "call myself out". The album is based around the uncertainties of my life at the time and though there aren't many "feel good" songs on that album, the lyrics are the words I needed to tell myself. Now that it's out, I've been able to continuously grow vocally and musically, but also personally.
GH: Looking ahead, what are your aspirations and goals for the future of your music career? Are there any collaborations or projects you are planning of pursuing?
Nik: Yes! All of the above. An aspiration and goal of mine is to push myself to perform live more and develop my skills further. I think there's something special that you learn about yourself and your songs when you perform live, and I think it's an experience that is not easily replicated in another medium. But all while doing this, I am also in the process of recording my second album! This album is definitely more feel good, upbeat songs that I'm very excited for, but of course you have to have some somber tracks to diversify haha. This next album further explores my influences in R&B both vocally and instrumentally. In addition, I think thematically it is a perfect second album for me. Amethyst Skies is an album about my relationship with life and my second album, Blue Hour, is all about my relationships with people. It is prospectively going to be put out into the world in 2024 and I'm so excited to continue on this musical path. Thank you so much for having a chat with me!