Making a Scene Presents an Interview with Danielle Nicole
Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, Danielle Nicole has spent her life making music and pleasing fans, domestically and abroad. Her stunning new album, The Love You Bleed on Forty Below Records, comprises twelve heartfelt tracks exploring themes of love, loss and perseverance.
The new album was produced by Tony Braunagel (Taj Mahal, Eric Burdon, Robert Cray) and co-produced by Nicole, with John Porter (B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Bryan Ferry) mixing. The tight-knit quartet on the songs features Danielle on bass guitar and vocals; Brandon Miller (electric, acoustic, pedal steel, mandolin, and 12-string guitar), Damon Parker (keyboards); Go-Go Ray (drums), and Stevie Blacke (violin and cello).
Nicole was initially influenced by her parents. She recalls seeing her father playing blues guitar and her mother singing with the group Little Eva. With her two brothers, she became a member of Trampled Under Foot, which found initial popularity in the Midwest. Danielle embarked on her solo career with Wolf Den (2015), which peaked at #2 on the Billboard Blues charts and amassed 7.5 million Spotify streams. Cry No More (2018) followed, the record was nominated for a Grammy in the contemporary blues category and debuted at number one in the Billboard Blues Charts – it also boasts over Spotify streams in excess of 10 million.
Nicole has been inducted into the Kansas City Hall of Fame and has been the recipient of seven Blues Music Awards. She recently did a duet with Dion on the upcoming song “I Aim To Please.”
There has been no shortage of praise; Guitar World stated, “Danielle Nicole has won respect and admiration throughout the American blues scene for her soulful, inventive playing and tireless work ethic.” Blues Music Magazine effused, “Nicole brings it, bakes it, and serves it up blazing on a silver soul-rocking platter.” The Kansas City Star declared, “Blues and soul vocalists tend to improve as they age. Bettye LaVette is among the artists who became increasingly believable as she matured. Danielle Nicole appears to be following in her footsteps.” And the legendary Koko Taylor gets right to the point: “That girl gets down to the nitty gritty!” –
At the beginning of the The Love You Bleed recording sessions; Danielle Nicole knew this new album would be different from those in the past. “Maybe that’s because over half the songs are about falling in love and not falling through the destruction of it,” she says. The album is full of love, loss, will, determination, and all the other things that go together with love. “Make Love” is about consciously pushing past the pain, choosing love, family, and community in life’s difficult moments. It uplifts the message of love and togetherness in the face of hardship.” “How Did We Get to Goodbye” with its raw and honest lyrics, document a soured love that bears no hero or villain, asking how you get to such a place of disrepair without even knowing it. And Love On My Brain, is a potent hybrid of vintage R&B and driving blues, begins as a flirty feeling inside and turns to an overpowering need and deep desire. Right By Your Side is a vintage soul/R&B ballad about never making the mistake of watching “the one” walk away again.
The Love You Bleed gives Nicole a solid place that music has always provided in dealing with love and loss. “It’s been a difficult relationship listening to music outside of professional reasons since the passing of my brother Kris,” she says. “But just being honest in my writing and direction, I find when I’m the truest to myself, that’s when the magic happens. Not trying to find perfection in it so much, but engulfing myself in every moment and being there with the audience is when fun things can happen inside and out.” Many of those feelings are captured in all the songs on the album.
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