By Myki Angeline
Nikki Sounds is an accomplished singer, classically trained pianist, and music producer based in Sacramento, California. Her desire to pursue a career in music evolved while attending UC San Diego, where she majored in Music Production and Technology, with a minor in Business. Since then, Nikki as performed in various local venues throughout Northern California. She is also a freelance sound engineer, and has managed both stage and sound for Sacramento organizations like The Golden 1 Center, Women’s March Sacramento, and Empoword Creatives.
Currently she works as a Production Coordinator for ENT Legends Concerts, a concert promotion company based in Sacramento. They book current and emerging artists at venues all throughout Sacramento, the Bay Area, and the West Coast. Nikki loves collaborating with other female artists and is always willing to try out new ideas, and create outside the box.
Visit her website at nikkisounds.com
WiMN: When was the first time you realized that music was a career you wanted to pursue?
NS: I first realized I wanted to pursue a career in music when I was 18, studying at UC San Diego, and writing my first songs on the ukulele and the piano. While writing my first song, I felt more powerful and free than I ever had in my entire life. I knew that I discovered the purest version of myself, so I changed my major to a music technology program, and got a job booking concerts at my university. I’ve been going at it ever since.
WiMN: You once worked at Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, California for their live audio and video department. Describe what that was like for you.
NS: It was great! I took on tasks I never thought were possible for me to do. One day I was mixing a live band, and the next day I was crawling in the ceiling running wire for sound system installations. I am very grateful that I had a hands on, technical job at the beginning of my career. Understanding the technical framework behind sound, music, and the concert industry is important to me as both a business professional and a creative in the industry.
WiMN: When did you discover your passion for singing and playing piano? Have you recorded any original music?
NS: Every since I was a little kid, I’ve been very moved by music. I took piano lessons, and sang karaoke growing up for fun, but when I was 18 my mood shifted. I began dedicating not only my heart, but my time and my energy to music. That’s when I knew it was my life passion. I have recorded a lot of original music over the years. You can find my current work on my Youtube. I enjoy uploading work there: Nikki Sounds Youtube
WiMN: You mentioned a time when you experienced gender discrimination, and a time when you were supported by your male supervisors. Please elaborate those for our readers.
NS: It has always been challenging working in a male dominated industry. I’ve had some low points when I am trying to get my work done to the best of my ability, but I have to simultaneously fight off a lot of unwanted energy coming from men who may be doubting my capabilities or not treating me with respect. But I do feel so lucky to have been led by men who have created a space for me to feel comfortable and supported at work.
During an employee review once, my manager told me if I ever feel uncomfortable by anybody I ever encounter at work, that I am able to speak to him about it, and that the company will support me. When superiors openly address topics like sexual harassment and gender discrimination, and create a space for employees to feel supported, it goes a long way. Not only do I feel more safe at work, but it creates the standard for how all managers should care for their employees. There is a lot going on in the news these days, but we have the greatest impact by how we reach out and support those we work with, live with, and create with.
WiMN: What has been some of the best advice you have received that helped you in your pursuit in a music career?
NS: “The moment you know everything about everything, it is game over.” You can never stop learning, and never stop being uncomfortable in order to elevate yourself. Whether you are a piano player, a production coordinator, or a sound engineer, you can always learn more, and always get better at what you do.
WiMN: What do you have in store for 2019?
NS: 2019 is the year of releasing my music. I have spent the last six years making it through the struggles that accompany all artists, entrepreneurs or anybody that is committing their life to their passion. I have built my foundation, I have the tools, resources, and the team to succeed. Now is the time to let go of my fears and expectations, and let the world know what I have been working on.