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Nik West
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Nik West

Bassist, Vocalist
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Nik West

For someone who once considered playing bass an occasional hobby, Nik West has found considerable fame as the go-to low-frequency funkster for some serious musical royalty – and still finds time for her busy solo career.

Prince, Glee, Quincy Jones, Dave Stewart
Hitting the heights playing the low notes

Nik West is a solo recording artist, bassist, and producer. She has worked with Prince, Glee, Quincy Jones, and Dave Stewart (Eurythmics). She also works with ESPN, Disney, and others as a music composer.

Nik came from a musical family in Phoenix, Arizona. Her Father taught her to play the guitar as a teenager, her sisters were her first band mates and she has an older brother with whom she still makes music. It was through listening to Michael Jackson’s music that Nik became interested in putting down the guitar and picking up a bass, a switch which was to set her on a path towards the higher echelons of the music business – not that she planned things that way…

“I got into the music industry completely by accident. I played bass as a ‘sometimey’ hobby. Something to do when I was completely bored.”

It was 2009, and Nik’s first cover video, playing a ‘super simple bassline’ from Jill Scott’s song The Way that opened the first significant door for the young bassist and singer, with guitar giants Fender noticing her performance and giving Nik her first endorsement. This, in turn, helped bring her to the attention of some of the biggest names in the industry.

“Dave Stewart heard about me as he wanted a young new bass player and contacted me. At that point, I decided I would actually practice lol!!! I knew only a couple songs (but the ones I knew, I killed em...)”

There followed the aforementioned collaborations with Prince, Glee and Quincy Jones plus jams and accompaniments with a variety of top artists such as John Mayer, Marcus Miller among others.

Spirits in purple caves

Nik’s equipment list is minimalist; in addition to her Fender bass and preamp she uses Logic and occasionally Garageband to record, through an M-Audio interface, and she recently discovered the Aston Spirit condenser, now her mic of choice for her lead vocals.

“This mic is super easy to use. I travel most of the year and I’m most concerned with quality of my vocals and portability. I love that the pop filter is built in because that is one less thing I have to pack with me.”

She also as an Aston halo reflection filter (or ‘purple mic cave’ as Nik calls it) to tame any unfriendly room acoustics.

In addition to high profile collaborations, Nik has a busy solo career in her own right with a new album due out soon, plus a series of live shows in Germany, Switzerland, Israel and United Arab Emirates to see out the year. She has also recently completed a Bass Sample pack for Splice called Booty Grooves. The pack also included some vocal samples, recoded by Nik on the Spirit mic which, she told us; “came out great!”

So great that Nik switched to using the Spirit on lead vocals while recording her forthcoming album, Catch Me If You Can, which is due for release Spring 2019:

I have actually gone back and re-recorded some of the lead vocals because this mic sounds so much better than the mics we recorded with in pricey studios.”

Keeping it simple

“I sing all styles of music, and generally, I use different mics based off of what I’m singing. But my voice seems to love the way this mic sounds. It picks up all of my nuances and IT DOESN’T COLOR MY VOCALS (I find that many mics color my tone!) I want my own real tone to shine through and that’s what this mic does.”

Clearly Nik doesn’t like a pile of gear getting in the way of the important stuff - making her music - so it’s all about keeping it as simple as possible, finding equipment that works for her and sticking with it.“I use the Spirit for main vocals and background vocals. It’s very simple for me. The crazy thing is, sometimes I use it just with a simple interface and no real preamp (don’t hold it against me) and it still sounds amazing!”

As if phenomenal ability as a bassist and vocalist were not enough, Nik West also possesses a scintillating stage presence and her mesmerising, uber-photogenic image is something celebrity, fashion and lifestyle magazines have picked up on - she has appeared on the covers of many - but she also manages to remain a bassist’s bassist. The world’s specialist bass publications have also queued up for photoshoots, while her relationship with Fender saw her involved in the development of their most significant new bass range for many years, the Dimension.

We are proud Nik has chosen to work with Aston mics and can’t wait to hear the new album when it’s released next Spring. Welcome to the family!

Out takes

Q. If you weren’t working in music what would you be doing?
A. I’d be a math teacher. I went to school for engineering and used to tutor calculus in high school. That was always fun.

Q. What would your fantasy mic be?
A pocket sized studio mic that has a pop filter built in, that needs no mic stand, and that can stick on anything... anywhere.

Q. What are the 4 words you’d chose to describe Aston, or your experience with the brand?
A. Dynamite, Present, Quality, Easy.

Q. What was the first song that made you cry?
A. Amazing Grace. I was very very young. I don’t know exactly why it made me cry but it did. It’s very spiritual.

Credits

New album - due Spring 2019 - nikwestbass.com

Splice Booty Grooves - http://on.splice.com/nik-west-bootygrooves

 

Nik's favourite artists:
Prince, Tina Turner, Ariana Grande, Jesse J, Larry Graham, Yellow Jackets, Van Halen

©2018 Aston Microphones Ltd, All rights reserved.
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