Nikki Fernandez comes full circle with 'Kingston to Kingston'
Shereita Grizzle, Gleaner Writer
"Raw, imperfect, edgy and real." That was how up-and-coming singer Nikki Shannon Fernandez described herself as an artiste. Speaking at her listening party held at the CRU Bar and Kitchen recently, the entertainer gave guests a glimpse into her journey as a musician, and her plans to take the Jamaican industry by storm.
Born in the United States, Fernandez grew up in Kingston, New York, and although she wanted to pursue music as a career since the age of four, the singer boldly admitted that she only found her voice when she took a trip to Kingston, Jamaica. Kingston to Kingston is the artiste's latest album, and as the title suggests, chronicles her physical and musical journey from Kingston, New York, to Kingston, Jamaica.
Boasting 14 tracks, a dozen of which are new singles, the compilation includes a mix of reggae, Latin and pop music. The album, which was officially released last Thursday, was produced by members of the Ruff Kutt band, Winston Bowman and Fernandez herself. Fighting to hold back tears, sometimes unsuccessful, an emotional Fernandez told the guests at CRU that she was blessed and privileged to have worked with some of the best people in the industry, including members from the Tuff Gong studios.
It was clear that the singer's support from industry insiders was very strong, as not only were members of the Ruff Kutt band gushing about her talent, but Julian Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley, was also there to support Fernandez on her big night.
After being quizzed onstage by the night's emcee, Lady Deidra, it was time for Fernandez to give the audience a taste of Kingston to Kingston. Delivering on her promise of good music and clean entertainment, the singer gave good performances of some of the songs from the album. Backed by the Ruff Kutt band, Fernandez belted out the lyrics to tracks such as Heart Cries Out, H.I.M, Aye and How Bout You. At one point, the singer, determined to show her versatility as an entertainer, moved to the piano, as she performed another single from the album, much to the delight of the audience.
Describing Jamaica as "the place where no one is invisible", the singer said an island launch for the album was fitting, and said in the next five years, she sees herself still doing music, because it's the one thing that makes her happy.
Photos by Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer