Singer-songwriter Nikki Era has written songs for many artists including JoJo Siwa and will have her music featured on this year’s Disney Channel release Descendants 3. The talented singer has written and recorded Mickey’s 90th Birthday theme song and released her recent single Fantasy Boy in February this year. Talking to us, Nikki tells us about writing for other artists, having her song feature on The Four: Battle for Stardom and her release of Fantasy Boy.
Can you tell us about your single Fantasy Boy?
Fantasy Boy was the beginning of an ERA for me in my career. I had been working and collaborating with so many different artists and I finally got the itch to do a new project of my own. I knew the 80s was coming! Haha. But I also just loved the way I felt when I started moving to the beat and picturing the live show. I love performing live so that mattered to me a lot and I just knew, after we finished making it, that I wanted to make an entire album around this vibe.
How long has the release been in the making?
We actually made the song in June of last year! We finished it and made some visuals around it but ultimately I decided to create my own lyric video for it. I had been playing around with editing my own stuff and I just felt it was important for me and my growth as an artist to be confident enough to put something out that I did entirely on my own! When I was younger, I was a tomboy and loved playing video games and wrestling all the boys at school. So, I stumbled upon some old Streets of Rage footage and I was like THIS IS SO COOL, I need to use this!
What has the response been like to the track so far?
The response is amazing! Right before it dropped, I released a collaboration with one of my best friends, Paige, who is a DJ. We did a cover of Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now but with super beach feels called Beating Hearts. The reception to that record was CRAZY thanks to Armada Music and it’s about to hit two million streams! I knew at that point I was moving in the right direction with the 80s retro music and LEWKS and Fantasy Boy followed it up so well! The remix to Fantasy Boy is coming out very soon and I hope people totally obsess over it!
Had you always set out to record and release Fantasy Boy yourself?
Yes, 100%. I’m a woman who really has to have control over every aspect of my creativity. I didn’t want to compromise on the record or any of the songs that I’ve made thus far for the album. The industry is such a beast. It’s like everyone is trying to be the hottest thing and get the most attention and now with social media clout chasing is just so prevalent. I didn’t know if people wanted to hear 80s-ish pop beats but I did! And if people love it and it gives them energy, then those are my people.
How is it writing songs for yourself opposed to for other artists?
It’s a totally different process but I’m obsessed with it. I come at it a little more like a sponge and just try to write a great song because it’s not my art I’m trying to create. I’m trying to hear that artist and help them express themselves the best I can. When I wrote with JoJo Siwa, she was a lightning bolt of energy and obviously we aren’t going to make the same pop records. That was such an amazing experience and it just shows that creativity is so magical.
How did it feel to have your track with Zak Downtown, Won’t Stay Down, selected as the featured song on The Four: Battle for Stardom?
That was a bit of a redemption moment for me. I had been on American Idol and the whole time I was like… hmm this is SO COOL but I’m not sure it’s for me. When I came back from Hollywood Week, I wrote down how I felt in that song and ironically The Four picked it up. Zak is also like my favourite rapper and we work together a bunch so it’s cool having such a powerful record out with him.
Where does the inspiration come from for your songwriting and how would you say your writing and style have changed over time?
It’s always changing. I say music is a sign of the times. Pop songs that were hits in the 60s aren’t hits in the 80s etc. That’s because music reflects and shapes a certain time period. I’ve been writing professionally for almost a decade so I would hope I’ve gotten better, haha! I listen to things I wrote back in the day and I’m like “Oh no, BB, you’re trying too hard!!”.
How does it feel knowing you’ve written a song for the upcoming film Descendants 3?
That feeling is unreal because such huge stars are attached to the franchise and all my mom’s friends’ kids think it’s the biggest movie in the world so I get to give my mom a proud parent moment ❤️. My parents are my besties so I like that part of writing for film/TV!
What’s it like seeing songs you’ve written for other artists, such as D.R.E.A.M. for JoJo Siwa, become massive hits?
Like I said before, the multi-million stream situation is humbling and gratifying. I appreciate her doing an entire tour around the record we wrote and brought to life for her amazing fans!
When did the idea come about for D.R.E.A.M. and do you always have an artist in mind when starting to write a song?
I’m a dreamer… I think all artists are. Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to create. We are literally creating things and concepts and music out of thin air. You have to dream in order to do that. JoJo felt like she had a D.R.E.A.M. – I agreed I could relate and it just went from there.
You wrote and recorded Mickey’s 90th Birthday Theme song, how was this experience?
That’s the coolest Mom and Dad moment for sure because they sent me videos of their friends’ families at Disney hearing me at the theme park or watching the commercial on TV. That’s something special. My managers Ali + Kas have great relationships so it gives me opportunities I would never even think to have!
What was it like covering Aretha Franklin’s Think for the film What Men Want?
I have been singing soul music since I was a little girl. When I was thirteen, I won at the Apollo Theatre singing Alicia Keys’ Fallin’. Being able to sing the Queen’s record and have it be used in such a cool empowering film was everything.
Will you be performing live at any events this year?
For sure! I’m putting together the live show and tour schedule now but I’ll probably be ready to go for the album release in the fall!
What music plans do you have this year?
Releasing my album called MEGA and bringing it to as many mega babes as possible ❤️.
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