It was a shocker moment for yours truly, your Austin Music Minute maven, when I saw the events unfolding before me. That guy, on the television, on The Voice on NBC, was none other than local songwriter Nakia, belting it out with all the heart and soul in the universe.
The feelings I had were easily equatable to those I experienced when I saw The Black Angels on The Late Show with David Letterman. I had to sit there and tell myself, “Wait…I know him.” I knew him as Nakia & His Southern Cousins…as one of the over-the-top performers of Small Stars, Miles Zuniga‘s pseudo-lounge act that could probably kick Tony Clifton to the curb. This was the same Nakia – only, it wasn’t. This was bigger, shining more brilliantly than before. Here was a singer being praised by the likes of Cee Lo Green – the same man who invited Nakia to sing on his Muppets Christmas special.
Even before his stint on The Voice, Nakia was making a huge impression on his industry peers, from artists such as Alejandro Escovedo and Sharon Jones (whom he joined onstage for a song at the 2008 ACL Fest), to major music producers. Yet with all the publicity, accolades and crazy busy times, he remains one of the most down-to-earth individuals around, catching live music around town (including The Good Music Club most recently, thank you very much) and being supportive of his fellow artists.
Nakia’s new EP, Drown In the Crimson Tide, will be out on March 5th – a strong shot of Southern soulful bliss, the grooviest funk and Chicago blues running through your veins. Until then, it would do you well to see him live tonight at The Sahara Lounge, 1413 Webberville Rd., where he’s wrapping up his February residency. It’s a fantastic bill with songwriter Emily Bell opening the show, and Graham Wilkinson rounding out the night. Get there early for the start of Bell’s set at 7 p.m.
Holy smokes, this is so recommended.