Nicole Atkins is an American singer-songwriter born in Neptune, NJ. She has released 3 studio albums, “Neptune City” (2007), “Mondo Amore” (2011) and “Slow Phaser” (2014).
Nicole Atkins’ music is a blend of the decades and an expression of the images that many of us share in our memories. Both playful and tragic and never cynical. Nicole draws upon the documents left us by heroes such as Roy Orbison, Phil Spector, Nina Simone, The Kinks, David Lynch, as much as her own experiences learning from the new heroes like Stephen Malkmus, Wilco, Lucinda Williams.
She grew up in Shark River Hills, a middle class enclave within Neptune overlooking the Shark River. Atkins has cited the river (technically a bay) as a major inspiration for her music, particularly the imagery of “the river in the rain” found in the title track on her album Neptune City. She started playing piano when she was 9 and taught herself to play guitar at 13. She eschewed more popular acts of the day for musical groups her parents listened to, such as The Ronettes and Johnny Cash. She has cited The Sundays’ Harriet Wheeler as a major early influence.
She started playing in pick-up bands and doing gigs at local coffeehouses while attending St. Rose High School in the nearby town of Belmar.
After high school, Atkins moved to Charlotte, North Carolina to study illustration at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She ingrained herself within the city’s independent music scene, discovering bands like Superchunk and Uncle Tupelo.