Canadian Popstar, Niki Kennedy, released her 1st song of 2022 – an energizing, 80’s-inspired pop song called “Get Back In The Groove” on Friday, January 21, 2022.
I am thrilled to forward a few questions in the direction Niki Kennedy, a New Zealand-born, Vancouver, BC-based Pop singer, songwriter, and musician. Welcome, Niki to The Wire MEGAzine which has been on the music scene since 1989 as 1 of Canada’s longest-running entertainment tabloids.
Canadian Pop artist Niki Kennedy is an internationally recognized vocalist and powerful lyricist who delivers universal messages that feel deeply personal. With her outstanding ability to communicate through songwriting, all of the music in Niki’s vibrant and versatile discography leaves listeners with the incredible feeling that each song was written directly for them. Since moving to Canada at the young age of 16 to attend Toronto’s exclusive Randolph College for Performing Arts, Niki’s unmistakable talent has landed her appearances on CTV Morning and across Canadian radio.
As a natural performer, Niki released her debut EP “The Weather Up Here” in 2018 with the generous support of Creative BC and the Province of British Columbia. Music Existence spoke of the project: “Once listeners get a taste of how versatile and demanding Niki Kennedy is, they won’t be able to stop themselves from wanting more.” She has been featured internationally in publications, television, and on the radio. 2020, she pivoted to adapt to the changing industry and has since performed almost over 400 shows online in recent months, performed and licensed three original songs for a national campaign, originated a starring role in an audio adaptation of a new musical work, and was a 2021 participant in the SOCAN Foundation TD Incubator for Creative Entrepreneurship, a program “designed to identify, celebrate, and support the next generation of music creators that have demonstrated extraordinary potential.”
As well, her musical releases have garnered over 350,000 combined streams on Spotify alone. Her first release of 2021, “The Last Night (Dancing With You)” spent 6 weeks in the #1 spot on the Heart of Indie Radio Charts.
DEB: Q. 1. Starting out at a young age, what was the best advice you were given about the ins and outs of the music industry?
NIKI: “I heard some words just last year that really put things in perspective for me. I was fortunate to have a mentor session with Chantal Kreviazuk, and she reminded me that a life in music is the most beautiful thing. In this industry, it’s really easy to get caught up in the noise. But I found this statement to be so grounding. It is an absolute privilege to create and to be able to make music. Whenever I’m feeling down or overwhelmed, I come back to this and remember the “why,” and that’s what keeps me going even on the tough days.”
Niki has just released her first song of 2022– an energizing, 80’s-inspired pop song called “Get Back In The Groove” on Friday, January 21, 2022. Born from a month-long music production class taught by Grammy Award-winning artist and producer Ryan Tedder (One Republic) and later produced by Shane Stephenson, “Get Back In The Groove” is an upbeat, musical representation of Niki’s ongoing journey of bursting out of the box that she once put herself in. Proving to herself and her listeners that she can make impeccable music of any genre, all this hot off the heels of 2021’s Fall Back Into You and The Last Night (Dancing With You) which Remington Magazine called a “sleek and enticing track with a relatable concept but a genre-defying blend of pop, dance, and R&B, with Niki’s sensuous vocal highlighting a series of well-crafted melodic hooks.”
As a self-proclaimed “sucker for the sad”, Niki’s “Get Back In The Groove” marks a new era in her music – one that still allows for the expression of her emotions, but through an upbeat, dance-infused sound – something that Niki previously convinced herself she wasn’t capable of. Infused with multiple vocal layers, synths, and beats reminiscent of 80’s disco-pop, the track features an energetic, rhythmic bassline woven throughout the entire song. Often used in Hip-Hop and music from the ’80s and ’90s “Get Back In The Groove’s” musical architecture showcases Niki’s ability to take risks and experiment – with the aim of creating music that communicates her message in an accessible way for all listeners. A song about getting back up after falling down and reminding each listener that they can achieve anything, Niki’s carefully crafted yet ambiguous lyrics create an intentional space for listeners to take what they need from the song while serving as a reminder that we should be gentle and patient with ourselves as we navigate through any and all of life’s toughest moments.
DEB: Q. 2. Does your music relate to the current sociopolitical landscape and do your songs address these themes?
NIKI: “One of my favorite things about art is how it reflects society. When I write, I’m almost always fuelled by the current landscape and I try to isolate moments in time to communicate from. Most of my ideas, notes, and voice memos come from being fired up about something happening in the world around us. I truly believe that pop music and challenging, vulnerable topics aren’t mutually exclusive. But in saying that, one thing that’s important to me is trying to make my songs as accessible as possible. I strive to write lyrics in a way that the listener can project themselves and their own feelings onto them – to feel like they’re heard and understood like they could’ve said those exact words, and as a result, take exactly what they need from the song.”
With the melody and tempo of the song inspired by Niki’s musical idols Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson, Niki’s latest song is a fun, upbeat, track with an empathetic message that will make any listener want to get up and dance like nobody’s watching. Through “Get Back In The Groove,” Niki reminds listeners that there is ‘no magic reset button’ in life and to allow ourselves time to heal and move on from dark times. Niki’s powerful, relatable lyrics and musicality have set her apart, and her new single, “Get Back In The Groove” will be sure to delight her current and soon-to-be fans, alike. “Get Back in the Groove is about getting out of a funk and empowering ourselves to keep pushing through. With a gentle lyrical reminder to give ourselves a little grace, the song hopes to make those in need of a little boost or pick-me-up, feel good.” – Niki Kennedy
DEB: Q. 3. Share your unique musical & crafty songwriting process, that emphasizes your styles of song-structuring and vulnerable songwriting. Share with your fans, how your raw emotions framed this new song, and how ‘Get Back in the Groove, truly came to be?
NIKI: “I do one of two things when I’m feeling down – I either listen to sad songs or I put on feel-good upbeat music, with the end goal of trying to feel better. I wrote Get Back in the Groove in January 2021. We were almost a year into the pandemic and restrictions and I was in a bit of a funk. The world was weighing heavy on me and I was frustrated that I felt stuck. I was taking an online songwriting and production course to help me get out of my own head, and I knew I wanted to try something out of my comfort zone. I never intended for the song to see the light of day so perhaps I was a little less inhibited in my approach. I started with the bassline, and the verse melody and lyrics followed naturally, giving me a space to channel the feelings I was otherwise scared to voice aloud.
To me, Get Back in the Groove is a juxtaposition of music that is intended to pump you up and make you feel good, and lyrics that serve to remind us to give ourselves a break. It’s okay not to be okay. Things are hard and doing the best we can, whatever that looks like is more than enough.”
DEB: Q. 4. You cite a diverse group of talent from music icons Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson as your musical inspirations, who else would you say inspires you and your craft the most?
NIKI: “I grew up with R&B, Disco, the ’80s and ’90s pop music so a lot of my formative music love comes from those places. Celine and Whitney are almost entirely responsible for my falling in love with singing. But I also enjoy rock and soul and jazz and grunge and metal and trip-hop and electronic. I genuinely love music and try to absorb as much as I can when listening. I like to take inspiration from elements and conventions of different genres and apply them to my own music, to create a landscape that feels both familiar and new. To create a feeling and a response is always my biggest goal – to move people; emotionally or physically. While the list of lifelong musical inspirations is a mile long, my biggest influence at the moment is Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. I’m so obsessed by his use of motifs, texture, and technology in sound, and am always inspired to be a better composer after a deep dive into his work.”
DEB: Q. 5. When you look back on your journey, did you ever imagine your career unfolding the way it has?
NIKI: “Haha, definitely not. 10-year old me would’ve expected global domination by now. But I’m grateful for the journey. The good and the bad, have made me who I am now. I’m finally finding my voice. And I’m only just getting started.“
DEB: Q. 6. Some artists seem reluctant to speak of just how frustrating and baffling the whole experience of navigating the general music realm is, let alone add in Covid-19 and how hard they try to still be ambitious about getting their artwork seen, heard, and or sold. Share the unique ways you engaged your fans during lockdowns and Covid-19 restrictions?
NIKI: “The industry can be tricky to navigate because there isn’t one linear path to success. It’s full of rejection, disappointment, and things outside of your control. But living a life of creativity and connection through music? It is one of the most fulfilling and beautiful things and the reason I keep going.
I believe the arts have always been resilient and adaptable. That’s why we’ve seen them evolve and diversify throughout centuries as society has grown and shifted. In my opinion, the past two years, while incredibly difficult and I certainly don’t want to diminish the devastating impact, especially in our live industry, are no different. There has been innovation and exploration that didn’t exist before. For me, I turned to the online world and began live-streaming, performing almost 400 virtual concerts to date. This has allowed me to connect with a wonderful community of music lovers in different cities around the world, who I otherwise may never have reached. It’s kept my head above water and I’m so unbelievably grateful for the support that has come as a result.“
DEB: Q. 7. What does success mean to you and what is next on the horizon for Niki?
NIKI: “It’s a work in progress, but I’m really trying to shift my mentality and move past traditional measures of success and focus on the impact I’m able to have as a human and as an artist. Of course, from a business perspective, I have to look at the numbers, that will never change, but as a creative? If I can make even one person feel good, feel heard, feel a little less alone. That’s valuable, that’s a success.
I’m currently in the early stages of writing a longer-length work for release in 2023, but you’ll see a few more singles from me in the coming months. I’m also currently performing 4 nights a week on Volume, playing originals and cover requests, chatting with the community, and promoting a safe and kind space where everyone is welcome.”
Fans can stay in tune with Niki Kennedy by visiting her social platforms below: