On The Record: Nicki Wells


Check out our newest interview with singer-songwriter Nicki Wells, who regular readers of Unrecorded will be more than familiar with. First, it was the beguiling ‘Carry On’, then the festive ‘A Little Christmas Of My Own’, and most recently the magical ‘I Have Longed To Be Here’. Now, the British-based artist is back with another folk, pop, and indie tincture of mesmerizing sounds in the shape of new single ‘Holy Smoke’. Below we get to know Nicki Wells a little better.

For those who have never heard of Nicki Wells, who are you and what is your music about?

I am a singer songwriter and composer who blends genres attempting to create bridges between the East and West. Having grown up in countries like India, Italy, Australia and the UK, has certainly influenced my sound. In terms of styles of music that I have been influenced by, my Dad was friends with English folk artist Nick Drake and he’d go to the pub with John Martyn so having their music around the house was the norm as well as Randy Newman and Bob Dylan. My Mum was into Kate Bush and classical music like Eric Satie. Then when I was 16, I discovered Jeff Buckley whom I was obsessed with to the point that if flicked through my friends’ iPods at the time and they didn’t have Jeff Buckley on their iPod I would think less of them lol jks! Of course growing up in India meant that I heard a lot of Indian music and I am big fan of Indian Classical music as well as Qawalli and Ghazals.

What has been the most rewarding/ most enjoyable highlight of your career so far?

One of the highlights was singing with Eric Whitacre and his choir at Gloucester Cathedral with Laura Mvula also on the bill. Another highlight was having a standing ovation with the house lights on at the Royal Albert Hall after a solo song I sang in Nitin Sawhney’s band. Then a recent highlight was playing my new album material at the RAH’s Elgar Rooms with a string quartet.

What have been some major challenges in your music career? And how did you navigate those?

I changed my pseudonym from TURYA to my own name Nicki Wells so it essentially dissolved 5 years of building up a campaign and I released an album and an EP under TURYA so it felt like starting again, but I think it makes more sense in the long run to have all my music under my own name which is why this upcoming record is a debut of sorts.

What are you grateful for right now in this moment?

I’m really looking forward for my album Ellipsis to be released in August because it was a body of work that was self-made during the pandemic and it was the first time that I produced, programmed and engineered an album tout-seul. I suppose it was a personal testament to myself that I could be self sufficient in what is a predominantly male dominated industry in terms of production and engineering. I’m also incredibly grateful to be able to do music in this very difficult climate and grateful for all the support I’ve felt along the way.

Physical copies or streaming sites, which do you prefer?

I do listen to music on Spotify but there is something so important about tangible music. I love vinyl because it has a sell by date, it’s big and tangible to hold in your hands, you can really explore the artwork and the sound of vinyl is just gorgeous.

What is your most played song of 2023 so far?

Out of the singles I’ve released so far for this record, it must be Carry On which has had almost 170k plays and views on Youtube.

Do you have an album that you can’t get enough of?

At the moment I’ve been listening to Tamino whom I think is great. Also been listening to Hania Rani’s work.

Who would be your dream collaboration?

I’ve love to do something for film, maybe with Hans Zimmer? That would be amazing. For the next Dune movie!

And lastly, what can fans expect from Nicki Wells this year?

The album release as I’ve mentioned is on August 18th, then there will be the album launch in November and fans can expect a tour in early 2024.

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