Life is about the journey. In her sophomore release, The Art of Letting Go, independent artist Tamika Nicole opens her journal and takes us on a funky, blues-style exploration of life-lessons learned and wisdom put to work. “This CD is about taking my experiences and delivering them in the most appropriate way,” says Tamika Nicole. “I took more risks with my music this time. You’ll hear everything from blues, funk, rock, and jazz. I’m an in-your-face girl and the production on this album reflects that.”
Tamika Nicole released her debut project eight years ago when she sashayed on the scene with My Message. The album’s rich, soulful, smooth jazz sounds introduced Tamika to an international audience. “When I did my first project it only had five songs, I was testing to see if anyone was feeling what I had to say,” says Tamika. “The response was overwhelming to me, but I still didn’t feel I had reached where I wanted to be yet.” Tamika Nicole, known in the Bay Area for her raw, gritty sound and high-octane performances shows her versatility on her new release. “After seven years, I’ve grown more and I feel more empowered—on this project I not only wrote all of the songs, but I produced as well. The Art of Letting Go is more of me as an artist.” On her new project, Tamika has joined forces with producers Jimi Fischer and Jamie Hawkins. “I was looking for a sound that included blues, jazz and rock,” says Tamika. “Collaborating with these two versatile producers, we were able to draw on our various musical backgrounds to bring out the sound I’ve been searching for. It was a very rewarding experience to work with both of these great producers.”
Born and raised in Oakland, CA, it wasn't until after Tamika Nicole finished college that she began to develop her gift as a vocalist. The long-time educator, who holds a Master’s in Education Administration, Tamika spent days working in corporations and classrooms and her nights performing, preparing for auditions or recording sessions. “There is a realness I get to draw from— like the frustrations of trying to balance career with a social life, community issues, dating, and all those things that concern GenXers like me as we work to achieve our dreams,” says Tamika. “As I was writing this album I wanted to connect with not just love and relationships, but those things we think about but seldom put words to—those things we only talk about with our close friends.”
While working on her latest project, Tamika Nicole has been setting the stage to broaden her music career. Her theatre credits in San Francisco include the 2007 productions of Hair and The Wizard of Oz. She has been a featured performer at San Francisco Grammy events, fundraisers for Terri Vaughn’s foundation, and Pete Escovedo’s Latin Jazz Club.
With all the work behind it, Tamika Nicole won’t play the expectations games regarding her sophomore effort. “I set out to make the best record I could,” she says. “I wanted to push the envelope musically on this one, and make the best music possible. I think we did that. I still have so much to learn about recording, about life, and myself. I guess the great thing about this project for me is that the content feels so natural. To be able to write songs that will hopefully touch people, make them think, and help them in their journey is why I wake up in the middle of the night and write in my journal. It’s a realization of a dream for me.”
"With The Art of Letting Go, Nicole has pulled off a rare feat. She managed to craft a record that will have the church folks and the Christmas-and- Easter-only crowd tapping feet and nodding heads at the cookout". Highly recommended.
"This Lady has an amazing vocal and along with producer Jamie Hawkins - an underground hero - offer us a CD of scintillating soulful, funky and sassy female soul music. It is sexy, seductive, edgy and smooth with a roughness. What is achieved here is the sass and fire of a strong woman without the juvenile swagger and bravado that marks apart the REAL soul songstress from the dearth of contemporary teen ladettes who think they are 'telling it like it is'."
-Barry Towler, The Vibe Scribe
"All of the songs are choice on the album, and each one takes you different places and gives you a positive message. But it’s the music that takes “The Art of Letting Go” from a mere neosoul album to a place where only real soul resides. The standout tracks include “Tryna Maintain”, “Get It Right”, and Can’t Walk Away”.
“It’s a modern record, infiltrated with the neo-soul movements of India.Aire and the jazzy Quiet Storm sensations of contemporary R&B, but with an amazing epic story. Each song serves up doses of life inspiration through depression, relationships and insecurity that works as easily as any urban gospel record.”
-J. Matthew Cobb