Hailing from Knoxville, Tennessee, singer-songwriter Nick Hickman moved to Nashville to pursue his dream of becoming a country artist. Since arriving in Music City, he has released his single "Summertime Southern Style" and has been hard at work preparing for the release of his debut EP next year. Hickman kindly took the time to speak about his varied musical roots, the EP and more.
Originally from Knoxville, you moved to Nashville a year ago to pursue music. What spurred that decision?
I was doing music in Knoxville, but was also making the drive back and forth to Nashville for about a year. It was hard making that three hour commute once or twice a week in order to do the things I needed to do to further my career. So, I just thought it was time to make the leap and dive into it full steam.
Had you been pursuing music in Knoxville for a while?
Yes, I’ve taken quite the journey trying to find who I am as an artist and what I am capable of doing. I was in a Christian band for a while, then tried pop and finally settled into country. Over the years, I had been told that I should probably sing country, but I just kept fighting it. However, the more I wrote songs and developed myself, the more I realized country is what I should be doing.
Being that you have that varied background, who do you consider you musical Influences?
I have so many, it’s crazy. I’ve been in love with different bands at different times. I used to have a huge U2 obsession; I still like them, but not as much as I did. I also loved The Fray, Justin Timberlake and Taylor Swift and look up to people like Thomas Rhett, Josh Osborne and Shane McAnally. And Adele. Yesterday I listened to “Hello” 47 times. It was awesome.
She definitely has a set of pipes on her!
You sing and play guitar, do you also write your own songs?
I wrote my first songs at 16 or 17. For this EP, it’s about 50/50. I had about 32 songs that we went through to find the songs we were going to use. We chose four, two of which we will release to radio in the next month. Of those two songs, I wrote “Tailgate Dance Floor,” which is a real up-tempo tune. The other, “Rain,” was an outside cut that when I heard it I was like, “I want that song.” It’s a ballad, but it isn’t; it has a “Lonely Eyes” feel.
You had a single out this year, “Summertime Southern Style.” Will it also be on the EP?
I wrote that song with a buddy of mine and yes, it will be on there.
Do you play out often in Nashville?
I work a day job, so I try to play out once a week and hope that will pick up more after the first of the year. I have this theory that I am not going to play out a lot until I am ready. It’s not that I’m not ready to perform, I can execute live, it’s just that I wonder, “What if I only get one shot at this?” I don’t want to go out and play songs that are not my best. I’ve been trying to wait until we narrow down what we are going to release so I have a more solid set to play.
Being that the EP will release in 2016, are there any specific goals you have set for yourself?
Yes. The goal is to release both singles, work both into the Top 60 and then the Top 40 and put together a promo package to pitch to labels and investors. I don’t want to be the guy going to labels begging them to please sign me. I want to have a package put together so that they are interested in me and we can sit at a table and I can say “This is what I have done, this is what I am doing and this is what I plan to do. Would you like to be a part of it?”
Sounds like you are on your way to making things happen.
So finally, in a genre not lacking for male artists, what do you think is going to set you apart?
I think that’s the most important question. I’ve posed that question to myself for two years now. I’m not the most talented, I’m not the best writer or the best looking person in world, but I think my dedication, work ethic and ability to sacrifice, will set me apart.
Music is the most expensive hobby in the world. I’ve paid so much money out of own pocket by working, selling things, and eating peanut butter and jelly just so I would have the money for music and everything that comes along with it, like PR, radio and a record. I’ve dedicated my life to it; there is no plan b. I work insurance, but that job is just to pay for the music. I realize I’m not the cream of the crop, but if I have the perfect song…….it could happen, especially if you sacrifice, give yourself to it, execute and work hard.
For more information on Nick visit his official website
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Watch the video for "Summertime Southern Style" here