BREAKING DOWN VULNERABLE
Rolling out like a great roller skate playlist, VULNERABLE packs uptempo bops and sexy, danceable mids for your body—plus anthemic declarations for your spirit. Listeners live and feel the full range of human emotions rocking with Nikkole throughout.
The leadoff single All Mine is fun, catchy, dance-challenge-ready on one hand, soulful and grounded on the other. Musically astute fans can feel Nikkole’s songwriting strengths mesh wonderfully with producer Leon Sylvers’ timeless R&B and soulful pop range.
Sylvers is masterful with building unique worlds for songs, which feel complete, but not overly busy. He and Nikkole leave space to for folks to dance—to find themselves inside her music. Uptempos Flight Risk, Time Flies, Back Up and standout among standouts I’m Done also play in this space.
We Can Make It If We Try takes a special turn with a searing duet. Nikkole’s high notes soar clear as a bell over this sensual composition with Leon Sylvers IV, who adds his velvet-smooth touches throughout the track. Complementing one another perfectly, the two create a timeless vibe on The Originals remake penned by Marvin Gaye.
Mid-tempo glide With You is the poppyfunkycool of fans’ dreams. Drums tight enough to bounce a dime on will catch pros and aspirants alike playing along to With You. Same goes for Nikkole bop Electrolytes, a workout playlist-ready, booty bounce-igniting jam.
Only an exceptional few artists like Nikkole can inspire new and longtime fans to roll with her for the entire song-by-song, emotional rollercoaster ride that is the VULNERABLE album. This, in large part due to anthemic, yet warm and wholehearted declarations weaved throughout the collection.
Take title track VULNERABLE, for instance. Wrapping yourself in this thoughtful, midtempo cruiser, Nikkole opens us up in her story, relating:
I’m not over you / but I did all I can
Then there’s I Don’t Fall In Love, in which you can feel the badassness and strut in the click of her stilettos, affirming:
I don’t fall for no one / I show up for love / I show up I stand up
And throughout songs like Some Type-A Way and I’ll Try, among others, Nikkole’s VULNERABLE drips in dreamy vocal harmonies and instrumental gems, hooking you with an instant appeal all their own. Lovin’ Me, Leavin’ Me surprises with crazy infectious rhythm guitar licks. Also among strong road-trip ready offerings: Nik Of Time, Don’t Change (The Way You Are), Man of My Life, and seductive, teasey If You Want It (Come And Get It).
Authentic Collab: R&B/Pop Royalty Show Out
Nikkole’s music fits and flows with pop, R&B and dance communities right now—and sticks because she’s authentically rooted in the soul which is driving so many hits in this moment. Further enhancing this authenticity, R&B/pop royalty show up on VULNERABLE and show out with Nikkole.
Superproducer Leon Sylvers (Shalamar, NKOTB, Blackstreet, Guy, N’Dambi) partners with the singer-songwriter throughout. Together they steer a cohesive experience, welcoming such great contributors as guitar virtuoso/songwriter/producer Ray Parker Jr., Miki Howard, Teddy Riley, Thundercat (Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino) and Dâm-Funk (Mac Miller).
Grammy Award-winning engineer Rob Chiarelli (Christina Aguilera, Will Smith, Janet Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Pink) of Final Mix, Inc. mixed VULNERABLE. Pete Doell (Elton John, Adam Lambert, Celine Dion ) of Aftermaster Audio Labs mastered the recording.
The musical significance of Leon Sylvers as producer is impossible to overstate, especially at the intersection of pop, R&B, soul, funk and hip hop. Yes, he is a member of the legendary Sylvers recording group, and, yes, he is the key creative producer driving the beloved Solar Records sound (Dynasty, Shalamar, Lakeside and more). Whole new generations continue to discover the Sylvers sound, however, as hip hop and soul-infused pop draw from his well.
Music fans are continuously shocked to find that Camp Lo’s enduring hip hop banger “Luccini” is a literal, clear and untarnished, shining lift of Dynasty’s “Adventures in the Land of Music,” produced by Nikkole’s right-hand on Vulnerable, Leon Sylvers. (Fun fact: The official DJ of planet Earth himself, DJ D-Nice, dropped both in his history-making, early pandemic Instagram sets to cheering commenters.)
The writer side of Nikkole also shines through powerful, cinematic spoken word pieces, which connect her strong singles to the full story experience of VULNERABLE, and are solidly entertaining on their own. She explores how we feel, opening ourselves to and accepting our own vulnerability.
Beyond Beauty: The Nikkole Visual Musical Experience
Along with Nikkole’s music, the VULNERABLE era is a captivating visual experience, driven by Nikkole and the creative direction of Dante Ferrarini of KosaMinore. Check out Ferrarini’s artwork at the official website Nikkole.com: a fiercely clean mix of earthy and warm tones, bright color pops, and the stunning artist herself. Keep an eye out for videos, live performances and more.
While the music has always come first — the craft of songwriting, the development and nurturing of her vocal instrument, the discipline of performance — Nikkole is very involved at the conception of visual ideas and the total experience. She sends look and style ideas to her team, pow wows with the team as her visions take shape—and then like all great leaders? Nikkole delegates, turns her team loose to create great things, and everybody gets to the finish line together. Let people do what they do, she says: “If you don’t have people around you who can do what you engaged them to do? You must have the wrong people.”
This mindset, full of power and grace, is how the renowned artist empowers and frees herself to focus on the music — and keep her eyes and ears in tune with her fans.
In addition to all key digital music platforms, VULNERABLE is set to be available as a special CD package, download cards, a “180 Gram Vinyl Audiophile Collectors Edition Double Album Set,” and a “Collectors Edition Box Set.”