songwriter

Nikki Pope

Nikki Pope Music.png

Nikki Pope is a pop star ready to roar. Her songs are catchy, and she serves them up with a voice ready for the radio. Fans of Amy Winehouse and Adelle will dig This British-Born New Yorker.  

Who are your biggest musical influences at the moment?

Fleetwood Mac - My dad got me on that train from a young age and most recently I've been really influenced by them and I'm learning a lot about their process as musicians. They made such incredibly great and monumental music.

What's most amazing is that we were allowed a front seat pass to share their journey through the good and the bad - the pain of Rumours and writing that album to me is most interesting. It showed just how professional they were that even though their personal lives were crumbling, they found ways of expressing it through music, making what I believe to be their best work. It's a valuable lesson to learn as an artist that you can find light in the darkest of places. 

 More modern times would move me in the direction of current artists like Dua Lipa and her powerful stance in the current climate of our industry. She is a female powerhouse who is making strong statements and I think this is the year of Dua Lipa.

What is your songwriting process like?

Fast. I'm quite impatient so teaming up with my amazing music producer, Austin Bello has been fantastic for me. Not only have I learnt a lot from him in regards to building songs from scratch but he gives me the confidence to speak my thoughts and helps me to put them in the context of the song itself.

I tend to write a lot about past experiences and me as a person so we build from the subject upwards. All three EP's (the third coming this Summer) were done in three weeks, one per week over the course of about 6 months probably. I would travel from New York to Virginia and we would spend the first day building the track and writing the lyrics. The second day would be about recording it and adding in the backing vocals before moving onto the next track on the third day and so on.

I think having done such a fast process right at the beginning it has really set me up well because when we are granted more time in a studio, we would only benefit more. If we can accomplish the music we have in the short time we have done it in then more time would only mean even better results. I've still got bucketloads to learn but I couldn't be happier and I'm so thankful for the experiences I have had so far in making my own music. I can't wait to get back in the studio to do more!

Where do you see your music career in three years?

I hope to get my music in front of bigger audiences in the coming years, exposing it to more people so that more can relate and spread the love! I'm trying to take my time in releasing music so that it's all done properly with enough of a build up to give it the best possible chance! Stay tuned!  

Dave Insley

Dave Insley writes and performs some of the best twang-driven country music around (If not the best). He will shake the legs of anyone who appreciates great tunes -- with the vocal charisma of Willie Nelson and George Jones, and a timeless sense of production and arrangement, in the style of Patsy Cline and The Flying Burrito Brothers. Dave Insley is a mammoth talent.

WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST MUSICAL INFLUENCES AT THE MOMENT?

I like that the question includes the phrase “at the moment,” because like many artists, my influences change frequently, even daily. Sometimes it’s the rhythm of the washing machine or the clank of the garbage truck, sometimes it’s Buck Owens or George Gershwin on the turntable, or it might even be the theme from whatever cartoon my kids are watching on the television.

I listen to, enjoy, and draw from all styles of music, and I particularly admire the writing of Harlan Howard, Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer and Merle Haggard. One of my all-time biggest musical and lyrical influences was my father, who was not a songwriter, but who was very clever with words. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Buddy Rich and Tennessee Ernie Ford records, but if you ask me again in a few days, it will be something else.

WHAT IS YOUR SONGWRITING PROCESS LIKE?

My writing process is hardly unique, but (I hope) the results sometimes are. The words and music come in periodic cycles, sometimes with broad gaps of time between. My best ideas don’t really feel like they originate in me at all, but rather flow through me from somewhere else.

Dave Insley.jpg

My job is to be paying attention when this happens and dutifully record the proceedings; sometimes the ideas come crowding their way through my head so quickly that I have to hustle to keep up, and don’t have time to reflect on them until much later. The key which unlocks all of this might be some topic I’ve had on my mind for a while, or issue I’m struggling with, or it might simply be a chance encounter with a particular combination of words, or an unusual turn of a phrase.

Part two of the process comes later and is more deliberate and craftsman-like; parsing through the flow of words and melodic ideas to gather and organize those which fit together, in support of the idea, while maintaining a good deal of objectivity, and being a brutally honest editor. I can be very tough on myself during this phase, in the interest of avoiding self-indulgence; I will happily throw out more than I keep, or even the whole shooting match, as necessary.

The whole process is a little bit like someone dropped off a pile of lumber in my yard, and my job is to build a solid house out of it, one that is functional and will keep the rain out, and one whose overall style was suggested by the building material itself. I find the entire process immensely satisfying, regardless of what I do with the resulting composition. Oddly, the more personal the content and results, the more universally the ideas seem to be understood by others. This might be the key to turning “art into commerce.”

IF YOU HAD A CHANCE TO SEE ANY PERFORMER AT THEIR PRIME, WHO WOULD IT BE?

I would have liked to have seen Elvis at about the time of the ’68 Comeback Special. 

Alex Di Leo

Alex Di Leo writes solid pop music. Modern, catchy, and memorable hooks galore. Di Leo is primed for radio success and a long future as a pop music songwriter and performer.

1) Who are your biggest musical influences at the moment?

At the moment my musical influences are kind of all over the place to be honest. I’m into so many things right now that it’s making it harder for me to focus on a specific direction for new material.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to let it happen naturally. In the beginning I was always inspired by bands like ColdPlay, Pheonix, The Killers, & Snow Patrol.

My recent influences would be Flor, Bleachers, Lovely The Band, Barns Courtney, Odesza, & X Ambassadors. They all inspire me in different ways.

2) What is your songwriting process like?

My songwriting process is never the same. Most of the time I don’t grab my guitar or sit at a piano with the Intention to write a song. Usually for me, writing a song starts with a melody that randomly pops in my head and me immediately recording it on my phone.

I could be at the beach or on a flight..it’s always random. I’ve noticed I’m usually inspired when I’m traveling, especially to new places. The whole new experience thing, in general, definitely sparks something. I normally take that idea back home to build from there and typically I work from the piano.

My latest single “Brooklyn Bridge” was re-written 3 times. Four years ago I wrote the original idea. Last year I thought combing it with "Kiss Those Lips," another song I wrote around the same time, would  work perfect.

So the day I recorded vocals I went in the studio with that intention. A few minutes before I was going to track the vocals, a couple different melodies popped into my head.

My producer and I sat there for the next couple hour rewriting the whole song except for the chorus. This was probably one of my favorite writing experiences and it made me realize how inspired I become when coming up with things on the spot.

Where do you see your music career in three years?

In three years I’ll be 25..which is kind of scary. I hate how fast life goes. But I hope to accomplish more than I ever have. There are many more songs to be written.

I hope in three years I’ll have established myself as a writer and be able to tour the U.S. and Europe with a significant fan base. I also hope to be charting the Alt charts frequently.