In today’s entertainment climate, having a multitude of talents and skills is necessary for artists and creatives alike to be successful. One entertainer who has had years of experience in both the film world and music arena is Niki J. Crawford. She puts in a unique and soulful energy to all her projects, which sets her apart from anyone else in the industry.
Niki J Crawford was born in the small town of Springhill, Louisianna, and has been singing since the age of six. Growing up, she was the lead soloist in her hometown’s church choir, and has retained that passionate, robust sound in her voice ever since. Now, the singer creates poignant lyrics that have a Soul/Funk/R&B sound to them. Moreover, her voice is known for its expressive and sensual aura that fuels high energy performances with her band.
“Crawford is like an explosion of perfect harmony with lasting vocal power. She is the real deal. Listening to her will make you stop in your tracks…”
Over the years, Crawford has traveled with her band and performed in an array of venues with her melodic voice. She is a recording singer/songwriter, and has shared the stage with Carlos Santana, Snoop Dogg, Al Green, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Aaron Neville, Macy Gray, Booker T Jones, The Roots, Tune Yards, Chicano Batman, Galactic, Keb Mo, and Orgone. She has also lit up festival stages all over the world, including Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, Cal WorldFest, Utah Arts, Live Oak, Montreal Jazz, Summer Camp, Bear Creek, Long Beach Jazz Fest, All Good, High Sierra, and Jam Cruise.
“Evil in your Eyes” was Crawford’s first single, and was released in 2013. The song has a strong ensemble presence that holds a steady rhythm and upbeat tone. Crawford’s lyricism contrasts the positive mood provided by her band, and serenades a unique and distilling tale of heartache.
“Played” is a slower ballad that has a strong R&B presence. Crawford’s wide vocal range really shines in this track because of her harmonizing skills. The song dispels the complexity of being in a poor relationship and the thoughts that occur with it.
“Round & Round” is another song that has a robust R&B sound. The slow melody opens with a guitar riff and shortly after, she flows into the strong hook, “Round and Round,” which is repeated earnestly throughout the song. Moreover, the instrumentals, paired with her voice, create a soothing, mellow tone for the track.
“I Wanna See You” has a strong opening, and the overall tone is upbeat and sanguine. The rhythm of the instrumentals and vocals are very catchy, and the lyrics are charming.
“No Fear” was released in 2014, and this track brings in a lower range of Crawford’s voice than heard on previous songs. Her deep vocals are phenomenal, and she knows how to present a soul/jazzy tone by altering her range. In the last minute of the song, a saxophone solo is integrated with her voice, which really captures the jazz and soul feel.
“Santa” is an acoustic holiday track that focuses on the hardships of life and the need for something good to come for the holidays. This song is a realistic and relatable track that highlights the expectation of happiness during the holidays, but that the struggles of reality remain present. Crawford’s raw voice is accompanied by a single guitar and some bells, helping the listeners focus on the lyrics of the song.
The Genesis Block EP was Niki J Crawford’s first EP, and was released in 2015. “Round & Round,” “Played,” “No Fear,” and “Wanna See You” are featured, along with four other songs. The overall tone of The Genesis Block EP is uplifting and soothing. The harmonious mix of R&B, soul, and jazz are what make this EP a strong collection of tracks. The unique blend of different genres adds a level of finesse to Crawford’s identity as an artist.
“El Ay” was released in 2016 as a tribute to Los Angeles, California. Crawford describes L.A. as a dreamscape and lists off all the enticing aspects of the city. The song gives off a positive sensation, and there’s an even balance of R&B and Soul. The lyrics in “El Ay” will make any listener feel nostalgic, as if they’ve experienced LA the same way she describes in the song.
The Second Truth was Niki J Crawford’s first album, which was released in 2018. The album features eight tracks that are all Funk/Soul-inspired. The sound of this album is definitely different than Niki J Crawford’s previous releases because the songs are less R&B-driven. In each track, listeners can hear the guitars, drums, trumpets, and other popular instruments used in blues music. Overall, this album has a nostalgic, retro feel to it with a hint of modern blues.
Niki J Crawford exudes a strong positivity through her music that is undeniably contagious to listeners. Over the years, she has incorporated different genres into her music, which is what makes her so intriguing as an artist. At the beginning of her career, R&B was a strong influence in her music, but now Soul and Funk have taken over. The development in her musical skills and interests are just now unfolding and the mystery of what genre the next track will be is what keeps listeners on their toes. Overall, Niki J. Crawford’s long-lasting presence in the entertainment industry is only the beginning of her singing/songwriter career.
Featured image and images in article courtesy of Niki Crawford
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