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Nick Gardner Interview |thenickgardner Discusses His Music, Goals, Favorite Artists, Current Pop Music and More
Nick Gardner Performing at the SSE Arena Wembley
Discovered on YouTube - Now a Recording Artist With Interscope Records
Lose You - Nick Gardner
Lose You will be one of your favorite songs. It's Nick wrapped up with a bit of soul, electronics, catchy pop beat and nice lyrics. Give a listen. I have a feeling the pop world is ready for a UK solo male artist.
I first heard about Nick Gardner while browsing the HubPages feed, a site on which authors publish articles of interest. I had posted a link to Adele's Someone Like You on the feed because I love the song. Someone responded with a link to a cover of the song and mentioned that his voice haunted her. I gave one listen to Gardner's Someone Like You cover, and instantly became a fan. I listened to it many times and understood her use of the word haunted. I was so moved after hearing and watching his soulful performance. I was amazed that the song already had hit over a million views on YouTube. That's very impressive. I listened to more of his covers and joined his Facebook page and followed him on Twitter. His videos on YouTube have seen more than 5 million views!
I wanted to find out more about him. I couldn't find a lot of information online, so I decided to see if he would respond to an interview. And he has graciously provided some indepth responses to questions I sent him via email. I have included the interview in full. Enjoy! I'm quite certain we're going to be hearing much more from this very talented artist from south of Manchester, UK.
(This interview was done before his signing with Interscope. Reading some of his responses, we can see that he was in the process of being discovered. He has since emailed me commenting on his excitement in meeting Jimmy Iovine for the first time! He is very grateful for all of his fans and followers. Enjoy this first interview with Nick Gardner.)
Nick Gardner has over 1 million views alone on his Someone Like You Adele cover. It is the video that brought him to the attention of millions of viewers around the world, including Jimmy Iovine, Chairman of Interscope Records.
Someone Like You (Adele cover)
Do You Have a Favorite Artist/s?
rebekahELLE: Do you have a favorite artist/s?
Nick: Of course! I'm always making lists of my favorite things, so I'm acutely aware of them at the drop of a hat. In terms of older stuff, I'm a fan of Motown and Soul music. In popular music, very rarely do the very best voices come together with the very best songs, and I think much of the Motown, the soul and R&B music of the 50s and 60s was just that. Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye…voices that just radiate that swagger and soul but that are also technically brilliant. What you can't learn, they didn't have to and what you can, they did without breaking a sweat. Vocally, the artists that I listen to today very much reflect that mixture of incredible soul and incredible skill. Bruno Mars, he's the real deal. There's nothing he can't do with his voice. I've heard him live and he doesn't miss a beat or a note. Kelly Clarkson's voice is pretty unrivaled. What she has, is the range and power that matches or exceeds any of her contemporaries from the last two decades, but she also has that what those voices don't; a real grit and edge that makes the whole package much more interesting. Fantasia, Gavin DeGraw, Jazmine Sullivan, Mark Broussard, Melanie Fiona…these modern day singers prove to me that they do, in fact, make them like they used to. I guess I don't listen to many 'bands' or groups, but the ones I do are fairly old school soft rock bands; Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Dire Straits, R.EM, The Cranberries, Fleetwood Mac. That's my parents' influence creeping in, and while those bands may not ever have been the 'coolest' of their day, it's all very accessible, melodic music and it just clicks with me. I'm also a big fan of Hip Hop. Whether it's the modern day greats (Jay, Eminem, Kanye) or the more groundbreaking stuff from the 90s (I'm a massive fan of the Fugees and think Lauryn Hill is probably one of the most talented artists to ever walk the planet). Finally, if you're talking about all round artistry and showmanship, the obvious answers are the right ones…Elvis, Michael Jackson, Prince, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake. Every time I see footage of any of them performing, I'm intimated by, and in awe of them.
What Is Your Goal With Your Music
rebekahELLE: What is your goal with your music? Do you aspire signing with a record company at some point?
Nick: I can't go into too much detail about this right now. Which, if you read between the lines, is good news. I get this question a lot online, and may come across a little cagey when answering, but rest assured it's all exciting stuff. I'm in talks with various people, and spending a lot of my days in meetings and showcases, putting a team together and getting it all done right before going 'public' with it. I'm always of the mindset that one should get the 'business' done before talking about it.
Titanium (David Guetta/Sia cover)
Who Is Your Producer On Your Covers?
rebekahELLE: Who is your producer on your covers? Tell us about him.
Nick: That's J.D. Beatz! J.D. found me a couple of years ago, and we formed this pseudo-partnership whereby we'd collaborate on songs for my YouTube account. He's the back-bone of everything I do over there. In fact, I'd make a bigger fuss of him but I don't want everyone who watched the videos to go to him and steal him from me! I'm not sure what he's more talented at, the production or the more 'musical' side. His understanding of production is insane, in terms of what he can create from nothing and the speed in which he does it. In terms of music, he's a one man band. For a long time we just worked on piano tracks, whereby I'd send him a rough recording of the performance as I heard it (with me playing the piano, badly). Then, he'd create this piano track in his studio, and sent it back to me as crisp, clear, professional and ready to go as you could wish for. Recently though, we've been expanding our horizons and been testing our limits. One of my most recent covers, he created the most beautiful electric guitar instrumental I'd ever heard. He can plaaay. In that sense, it's very inspirational; if he's that on his game, then I have to be. And through this, each cover just gets a little better than the last. I'm always trying to come up with a new angle or an exciting arrangement that I feel can pull off. I think sometimes I get so frantic and enthusiastic about our collaborations that I must drive him crazy. I'm forever bombarding him with emails saying "we should do this" or "is it ready yet?". He has patient and talent for miles. I'm very grateful that we crossed paths.
Do You Have A Favorite Producer You Would Like To Take Interest in You?
rebekahELLE: Do you have a favorite producer you would like to take interest in you.
Nick: Well, the two questions are sort of separate. I'm working closely with a production team, but again, I can't go into too much detail about it. In terms of the modern-day producers I like best in terms of my day to day listening, there are a few. Darkchild ( Rodney Jerkins) really knows how to produce vocals, and his approach always sounds fresh. Max Martin and Dr. Luke not only write amazing songs, but execute them perfectly…with all the bombast and energy those songs require. Ryan Tedder, Alex Da Kid, Tricky Stewart, The Cataracs. I like producers that combine classic melodies with progressive or memorable production.
I Know It's Over (The Smiths cover) ( my personal favorite)
What Do You Like to Do When You're Not Recording?
rebekahELLE: What do you like to do when you're not recording? Any favorite interests?
Nick: I like running. I like swimming. I really like being in water actually, weird as that sounds. Pools are great and my friend has an outdoor one that we go to in the summer and spend hours messing about in, but I also love spending hours in the sea. And I don't get to do nearly enough of it. I love the sun, and am definitely not one of those people that gets bored easily on the beach. As long as I have a towel, some water nearby and an iPod, I'm more than happy. Is being clean an interest? I'm an incredibly 'messy' person, but I hate being 'dirty'. The difference between 'mess' and 'dirt' is a important one for me. So yeah, some say I wash too much. Shower in the morning, bath at night. I know it's bad for the planet, and planet - I'm sorry, but I love baths. I think smelling good is more important than looking good. I'm also very into politics (particularly American politics). I became seriously interested during the elections in 2008, and it's captured my interest ever since. There's such a sense of drama and glamor about it, the relationships, figures and events…it's often more interesting than any drama on television. I like discovering new music - I'm always on the hunt for new stuff. I'm a massive Apple enthusiast. Steve Jobs' passing was tragic but the legacy he left behind is literally life-changing. Not only is it the most beautifully constructed equipment combined with the most exciting and fast-moving ideas in the world behind it, but that combination is then ingrained with operating systems and functionality that is so logical and instinctive, it literally annoys me when I see anybody using any thing else.
It Will Rain - Remix Version (Bruno Mars cover)
What are Your Feelings About the Current State of Pop Music?
rebekahELLE: What are your feelings about the current state of pop music in general?
Nick: I think it's been going through a rough time, but it's getting better. I loved Top 40 radio about five years ago. Nelly Furtado, Timbaland, Justin Timberlake - that kind of vibe. Effortlessly cool, exciting, slick, catchy music. I remember hearing Sexy Back and thinking it was the most exciting thing I'd ever heard. I remember thinking "pop music has just changed forever". Since then, Pop has developed into a more of an electronic dance/pop thing, and more often than not I find it derivative and cheesy. Since I'm from the school of thought that people should spend time talking and engaging with the things they enjoy, and not the things they don't, I will say I really think there's light at the end of the tunnel. Artists like Adele, Bruno Mars, Jessie J…they're bringing the importance of vocalists back into Pop. Vocalists became almost an afterthought for stunts or beats for a while, but artists like that restore my faith.
Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?
rebekahELLE: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Nick: That's probably the hardest of all questions to answer because the possibilities are so varied and limitless. I do like to keep my personal and professional goals as my own, for the simple reason that I can be quietly satisfied if they happen, and I can save face if they don't! I don't' want to commit myself to any quotes that I might regret, or might make me look arrogant. And I think in answering this question the outcome is either one of the other!
Do You Have a Favorite Cover?
rebekahELLE: Do you have a favorite cover? (of yours)
Nick: People ask me that quite a lot and the answer changes a lot. I think whatever walk of life, or whatever your job is, you should be familiar and conscious of the things you put effort into. So I don't have any qualms about answering it. As I said, with each new video, I'm always trying to better the one before it, so with that in mind it would have to be the last two covers I've done. Titanium (originally by David Guetta & Sia) was just the most fun to sing. I've sung so many sad, emotional songs, it was so good to be singing something with a message of hope and resilience. I Know It's Over (originally by The Smiths) took me the longest to record. I was at it for three hours, and it's not even that difficult in terms of range. But everything see about it, the phrasing, the timing, the emotion, it was all very complex to do right. I kept getting choked up during the takes, and in the end I just used one that has me choking up a couple of times in the middle of the song. I think that's my most 'grown up' cover. Obviously, I will always hold Someone Like You (originally by Adele) in high regard, because it's the cover that bought 90% of my support to me. But I actually always had this feeling I could have done a better take! Ha. I'm also particularly proud of Talking To The Moon, Don't Let Me Fall/Hallelujah and The Sweetest Girl.
What is your favorite Nick Gardner cover?
Any Closing Thoughts?
rebekahELLE: Any closing thoughts?
Nick: I think I gave you too many thoughts for one day! I have a problem with containing myself when I get going. I do too much in excess and need to learn when enough is enough!
I'm glad you got carried away, Nick Gardner! We want to know as much as we can about your interests and are thrilled to read your thoughts and learn more about you! Best to you with all of your upcoming plans! You already have many fans and followers. Thank you for taking time to allow us to get to know you better! Bon Chance!