Soundtrack of Life

Singer Nicole Atkins proves music waits for no one


Published:

Nicole Atkins' interest in art influences her eclectic sound.

Photo credit: courtesy of Big Hassle Management

If you received bad service at a bar downtown between 1996 and 2001, your waitress could've been a fledgling folk-pop singer. Nicole Atkins's mind was on songwriting.

"I worked at them and I got fired," says Atkins, who released her debut album, Neptune City, at the end of October. "I worked at Cosmos Café and I got fired. I worked at Ri Ra and I got fired. But that’s okay. I was a really [terrible] waitress. So it's a good thing this worked out."

The Neptune City, New Jersey native moved to Charlotte in 1996 to attend the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

She majored in illustration ("I wanted to do comic books"), but music was always her passion. She joined a local band called Los Parasols, and also befriended a group of fellow UNCC students—musicians known as the Avett Brothers.

"At the time, the music scene in Charlotte was bursting," says Atkins, twenty-nine. "It might still be ... I know the Avett Brothers are doing really well."

After graduating in 2001, Atkins moved to the Big Apple. But after growing "sick of New York," she returned to Charlotte in 2004. Her friends told her about a recording studio that was being built, and she arranged to paint the studio in exchange for recording time. Many of those songs helped Atkins land her deal with Columbia Records in January 2006.

"They say it takes your whole life to write your first record … and I think that's pretty accurate," she says.

Atkins, whose band is known as Nicole Atkins & the Sea, is currently touring and hopes to bring her act to Charlotte within the next couple of months.

"One of the things I miss most about Charlotte is eating at The Penguin," she says.

They must not have let her work there.

 

Web Extra: Q&A With Nicole Atkins
She talks about the process recording her album, her thoughts on the music industry, and her first big national TV appearance.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

We invite your responses and discussion. Please refrain from personal attacks, profanity, commercial promotion, or non sequiturs.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More >> Partner Content

See Iconic Andy Warhol Works at This Limited-Time Exhibition

In partnership with Methodist University

The Must-Visit Vendor at the Southern Spring Home & Garden Show 2019

In partnership with Wahoo Decks

3 Unique Ways to Spend Valentine's Day in South End

In partnership with Charlotte Center City Partners

Sign Up for our E-Newsletters

Stay in-the-know on restaurant openings, things to do, and all things Charlotte with our handy newsletters. SIGN UP HERE

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags