Women Music March 2023 – Day 8 – Nicole Atkins

Nicole Atkins performs at La Zona Rosa during SXSW in Austin, Texas on March 18, 2010

Nicole Atkins (b. 10/1/78) is an American singer-songwriter. Her influences include 1950s crooner music, 1960s psychedelia, soul music, and the Brill Building style of writing. Atkins has been compared to Roy Orbison and singers from the Brill Building era.

Early Life:
Atkins was born in Neptune, New Jersey. She grew up in Shark River Hills, a middle class enclave within Neptune overlooking the Shark River. She has cited the bay as a major inspiration for her music, particularly the imagery of “the river in the rain” found in the title track on her album Neptune City. After high school, Atkins moved to Charlotte, North Carolina to study illustration at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Musical Beginnings:
She started playing piano at nine years old and taught herself to play guitar at 13. She eschewed more popular acts of the day for musical groups her parents listened to, such as The Ronettes, Johnny Cash, and The Beach Boys. She has cited the vocalists Harriet Wheeler of The Sundays and Cass Elliot as important early influences. She started playing in pick-up bands and doing gigs at local coffeehouses while attending St. Rose High School in the nearby town of Belmar.

While at University in NC, she ingrained herself within the city’s independent music scene, discovering bands like Superchunk and Uncle Tupelo. She also started writing original songs and befriending other local musicians. Among other bands, she joined a supergroup in the city called Nitehawk that, at one point, had almost 30 members. After she returned to NJ from college, she joined the band Los Parasols, releasing an EP with them entitled The Summer of Love in 2002. That same year, Atkins moved to the neighborhood of Bensonhurst in Brooklyn, New York. Influenced by the artists signed to independent label Rainbow Quartz, she strayed from the louder rock music she’d played in North Carolina and moved toward the songcraft style of Wilco and Roy Orbison. She returned to Charlotte and played with several bands, most notably a group called Virginia Reel. At this time, she started writing what she termed “a mix of Americana, 60s, and indie rock.” She also recorded her EP Bleeding Diamonds.

EPs: 5
Studio albums: 6
Albums with Los Parasols: 1
Albums with Hungry Ghost: 1
Compilations: 7
Singles: 1

One thing to share: per songfacts, the Rhonda Lee in the title track of her 2017 album, “Goodnight Rhonda Lee” is the name she gave to her alter ego, who showed up when she got drunk, which was quite often in the years leading up to the album. After Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, she found herself drinking harder and more frequently. “Rhonda” was a good-time party girl, but also tiresome and self destructive.

Official website: here

Source:  wikipedia


10 Comments Add yours

  1. randydafoe says:

    Thanks for the introduction, I like her 👍


    1. msjadeli says:

      You’re welcome, Randy. She is good!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Badfinger (Max) says:

    I like not only her voice but the mood she set with that music. It sounds like something is after you with the bass…really cool. You never hear many that are influenced by 1950s crooner music AND 1960s psychedelia

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks for your comment; as I read it I hadn’t considered that aspect before.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Another singer-songwriter who is entirely new to me. I like the tune you featured. Neptune and Belmar, the two places in New Jersey you mentioned in the write-up, are only 40 minutes from my house!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Oh that is so cool, Christian. No wonder you love live music, it sounds like there are a lot of good venues near you to see it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, Asbury Park, which is also 40 minutes away, has great venues like the Stone Pony and The Paramount.

        Springsteen in his early days used to play the Stone Pony. Nowadays, he sometimes shows up unannounced, especially during their summer stage concert series.

        I’m friends with a photographer who exchanged a few words with Springsteen a few years ago when he showed up at a Southside Johnny gig. Apparently, he was super nice!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          You’re blessed! Springsteen is a saint in my book, right up there with Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, and Bono.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. memadtwo says:

    That’s a great video. I like some of her stuff, not all–she can be too overwrought for my taste. But this is a good one. (K)


    1. msjadeli says:

      It feels kind of mystical to me, and that video is great.

      Liked by 1 person

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