A classically trained soulstress with pop sensibility, Nikki Pope is making waves across the pond from her hometown of Cardiff, England, and here in the U.S., where she currently resides. Her hit single, “Blue Lagoon” off her EP, Electric Energy, released in 2016, has led her on the path to her new EP, Karma Déjà Vu, and embarking on her first tour.
“I actually [learned] how to sing by training in opera from the age of eight,” Pope says. “I grew up then in musical theater, so I guess these two very different types of techniques have eventually led me into the style of music I sing today. My dad taught me a lot about music, so I grew up listening to the classics like The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac.”
A fan of the ’50s style encompassed by Amy Winehouse and Gin Wigmore, Pope says there are going to be “similarities” in her vibe with future releases. Where Electric Energy packs a punch of boldness and up-tempo rhythm, Karma Deja Vu brings in elements of sultry soul. With her newest release, Pope says the biggest thing she learned was “growth.”
“My music producer, Austin Bello, is a genius,” Pope says. “He helped me put down on paper the words and feelings I had in my head and gave me the courage and the tools to take experiences in my life and write them into music. I love [this record], I’m a huge believer in leaving things up to fate and allowing karma to take control of aspects in my life that maybe need answers.”
Tracks like “Champagne Taste” and “Mantra” show Pope’s character as a performer—a true talent who needs just a guitar and a beat to turn a song into a blooming force of croon and roar. While the name of the track “Champagne Taste” holds true for Pope (she used to be told she had “champagne taste with milk money”), it’s one of her favorite tracks because of the “upbeat melodies.” If Pope could have something to define her champagne taste? Definitely “massages on tap, in a heartbeat.”
“This EP helped me to close a certain chapter of my life,” Pope says. “Two of the three songs are based on a part of my past that I struggled with. I’m a very positive person, so even if I am talking about something painful in my lyrics, then I like the idea of using upbeat melodies to lift the subject.”
As for the most rewarding part of her career thus far, becoming a BBC Introducing Artist in 2016 has been one of her many accomplishments, including scoring a live acoustic session on SirusXM. While she’s still growing up and planting roots in the industry, her powerful vocals will send her to the top with some persistence.
“I’ve absolutely grown, not only musically but as a business woman within the music industry,” Pope says. “I learn something new every day and I love that. You’re always going to make mistakes, but surrounding yourself with a great support network and being open to taking advice will hopefully set you up on the right path to success.”
A version of this interview ran in the current print issue of Substream Magazine