Twenty-year-old pop/R&B singer/songwriter Nikki Hayes is not your typical artist. Alongside her natural ability to cross over to any genre of music, she is more of a vocal powerhouse to be reckoned with.

It’s fitting that Nikki is now creating musical works-of-art that may stand the test of time for generations to come. Not bad for someone who, as her family used to say, “couldn’t hold a note in her hand.”

Nikki began her musical journey at the age of six as a dancer at Studio One Dance Academy in Chicago, and continued honing her craft as a student at Chicago’s St. Sabina Academy, where she was introduced to both music and acting. Her passion for the stage grew, prompting her parents to enroll her in the Alvin Ailey Summer Dance program where she studied Jazz, West African, Ballet and Modern.

But that wasn’t enough. “My older sisters sing and at the time were members of Walt Whitman and The Soul Children of Chicago, so of course I wanted to join too,” Nikki recalled. “One problem – I couldn’t sing, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. Every day I’d go in the basement of my house, and I’d sing – and at first it was really bad – but I refused to quit. I auditioned three times before I was accepted!” She sang throughout middle school and high school, and as she explained, “singing and music became my world.”

Not long afterward fate intervened once again and at age 12, a friend coaxed Nikki into posting a YouTube cover of Adele’s Melt My Heart to Stone. “I couldn’t believe the feedback; I was officially hooked! I knew then that music was my destiny.”

In 2010 Nikki recorded her first solo project with the Baltimore-based production team Firestarters, and since then has worked with Grammy Award winning artist Malik Yusef (G.O.O.D. Music); Platinum Hits Producer Doc Little (Beyoncé; Christina Aguilera; P. Diddy and others), and in 2013 Nikki landed a final five spot in the “Who’s Next? Worldwide Online Talent Search,” sponsored by six-time Grammy Award winning producer; engineer; vocal producer and songwriter Kuk Harrell (Rihanna; Justin Bieber; Cher; Eminem; Beyoncé and others).

Nikki’s debut single is titled Chance of Rain and was produced by L.A. based music maker Ty Acord. With its mid-tempo beat and strong harmonic drives, Chance of Rain is a testament to who Nikki is, as an artist, songwriter and person. “Chance of Rain is about opening up and being vulnerable, and the fear that comes along with it. As much as we try to deny it, we can never really get away from what we feel. Having feelings for someone can be scary but it’s also human. Plus, I’m heavily influenced by the 90’s and old school music; the nostalgic feeling is something that always resonated with me, so I really loved what Ty put together.”

Old school influences aside, Chance of Rain introduces a fresh vocal sound – proving that the right mix of in-the-pocket and out-of-the box makes for impressive music artistry.

Chance of Rain

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Nikki Hayes