Music and the car have long since synched along the lines of rhapsody, and none more so than a new hit, a new sound to be enthralled by, consequently not too long ago, courtesy of a radio interview, Nakisha Esnard introduced her mix of Reggae and Soul, and all enthused with the aid of her rhythmical Ukulele. Aside from a driven rhythm, at one with this new sound, Nakisha Esnard is not new to the music scene, touring for the last two years, playing shows all around the UK Nakisha remains to the music scene; as fresh as a musky day needs, venturing into theatre, performing and writing for cabaret shows, the brand of opera reggae she delights in on giving embraced by all who hear Nakisha, and whether it be her affecting voice; the sound of her musical intellect, Nakisha Esnard resonates a sound to get lost in, and one of the finest, driven music I’ve ever had the pleasure to hear. Whispermaze welcomes, Nakisah Esnard.
Your musical past and present in one rambling run-on sentence.
I started playing violin when I was seven years old, my brother and I used to make up silly songs as kids for fun, I then went on to learn a whole host of other instruments like the piano, cello, drums, tabla...the list goes on, I have played in orchestras, used to compose classical pieces of music and I have since moved to more reggae/soul/pop music. I discovered I could sing in college thanks to the help of my classmates encouraging me.
When did you start writing music—and what or who were your early passions and influences?
I started writing music since a kid really, at the time my influences were whoever Mum had on the record player, which back then was mostly reggae and Dub artists, and as I got older my influences came from reggae and soul, needless to say Lauryn Hill is my favourite soul singer, and the ‘Miseducation’ album got overplayed when I was a teenager, loved her for her song writing style, the way she was able to convey emotion, in her vocal tones as well as her lyrics. Beautiful.
What’s your motto or the advice you live by?
Be true to yourself, shine your light to the world.
The inventor of Opera Reggae, can you elaborate?
As a classically trained musician, as well as self-taught, I can hear how bits of music would suit the reggae chord progressions, especially the ‘rootsy’ sounds which uses more minor key and interesting twists in progressions, which actually isn’t too dissimilar to operatic changes. I heard it a lot, and decided to try it out, for fun mostly and it worked, and in order to get the genre understood by my audiences I decided to do a cover version of a Spice Girls track, “Spice Up your life”, again for fun but it worked, so I still play it live to this day, and have since writing an original song, in the same style called “Small Town”, which won’t be out until next year. I take the opportunity in this genre to mess with all my otherwise unused vocal abilities, including my operatic skills, I’m not classically trained with my voice, in fact I’ve had no training, but again I discovered I could do coloratura by accident, happy little accidents seem to happen a’ lot.
What is it about the Ukulele?
Well, I really just bought a Uke to learn how to play guitar, but I had so much fun on a ukulele, it grew on me how the tone of it really suited my style, so much so I just continued playing, I can now play some guitar but I couldn't choose it over my Uke. For me, Ukulele has that islandic sound that exists in early Caribbean music, in early Ska, I wanted that vibe in my sound, I think it holds a vintage quality and its ability to recreate the classic sound, but still with a quirky modern twist, also, you can’t be sad with a Uke in hand.
What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments and pieces in your music career thus far?
I think my most incisive move was to organise my own tour back in 2013. I decided to take other artists with me, ones I felt were talented but were hitting the same industry walls as we all face, you see I like to take matters in to my own hands when it comes to my career, I don’t want to wait around for something to happen, I create opportunities, open doors, problems solved so that I am manifesting my dreams. And because of my tours I am now always travelling around the country, fans all over, built up a decent UK following which I’m proud of, and thankful for. I’m getting well known in the industry as someone that works hard, and in demand, people see a professional and like I said, I’m someone that creates opportunities, not just for myself but for others as well, what makes me tick is I like to connect with people, unite through music, my decision to take control was deffo the reason why I have got this far, so far.
Is there a particular song or musical passage that never fails to move you emotionally?
There are so many phrases, and pieces of music that cause a stirring within my soul when I hear it. This is a tough question for me, because each piece has helped me grow in the ways I needed to at the time it touched my heart, it’s hard to choose, but as I have to I will always go back to Lauryn Hill, take your pick from Zion, to Ex Factor to That Thing, this woman has taught a lot about life and love through her voice and music. I will also mention Bob Marley, for almost all his music and phrases, and I love Rainbow Country, I did a cover of it because I just loved the vibe so much, his words about loving music, about a rainbow country, I feel it speaks of acceptance and living in the here and now, rather than worrying about the past or future...we can make a choice right now in this moment to enjoy life, that way our future is always going to be awesome, and our recent past would fill us with a joyous memory.
How would you describe and rate the music scene with respects to your Opera Reggae, and how important is it in terms of what you're actually writing about?
I don’t do a lot of opera reggae to be fair, it’s not my main genre, I usually perform the Spice Girls cover at the end of a show. However, it’s refreshing to the scene, it has got my music a lot of attention because it’s a new idea, no one has been bold enough to do it before, and some people think I’m mad before they hear it, but when they do hear it, they love it, bottom line I think the scene needs more daring musicians willing to go the extra mile to show people something new, connect with them and say “yes, I admit it sounds crazy but just wait until you hear this, trust me”, and then the roar of applause that follows at the end, it shows people are crying out for different things, attention grabbing and very entertaining, I’m having fun with my chosen art and people are having fun listening.
Love Song, my favourite track of yours thus far, really feeling this song. For you, what’s your opinion of the music scene as it is today?
Boring isn’t it?
Like you wouldn’t believe
I think I understand how it got so boring, with regards to the industry interest, because for me a lot of artists start out with all the creativity in the world, and it’s not hard to get heard once you’re on the music scene, when you look at me people are enjoying me because I’m quirky, or the sound is different and I’ve got something to offer, she’s got this she’s got that, and what I realised doing what I’m doing is the first thing the industry wants to do is box you, they ask me where can we place you? Why don’t you go down the Pop route? And my point is they liked me when I was different, and once I’m here the industry wants me to be the same, so much so I had to tell those interested parties, to stay away, let me be me, and because the industry as a whole lacks the imagination to let artists be who they want to be, I therefore intend on being me.
What, in the immediate future, does Nakisha Esnard have in store for her fans?
More touring, working on promoting the EP, as well as getting ready to record the album, bigger productions, more experiment, a lot more me, I’m looking forward to it.
Nakisha, it’s been an absolute pleasure, and no doubt we’ll be hearing more from you in the near future. Thank you.