Amy Nicholls is a singer/songwriter from Twickenham. Born into a musical family, she wrote her first song aged seven accompanied by her father, renowned songwriter Billy Nicholls, and she has not stopped writing since. A classic tune-smith, she delves deep into emotions and transmits them to the audience with the clarity and structure reminiscent of classic soul or jazz standards. You can hear influences of Kate Bush in her piano playing and a love of Motown in her voice. The influence of her family and mentors such as Pete Townshend, are also unmistakable.
Amy is set to release her first single in summer 2018. Prior to this, she released two albums with the band “Ladybear”, which she wrote and was frontwoman for. In 2006 she featured on her brother Morgan Nicholls’ album ‘Organised’, and co-wrote the single ‘Sitting in the Sun’ which lead to the memorable experience of singing led for M-Organ at the Brixton Academy whilst supporting Embrace.
Amy has been a session singer since she finished her degree in music, working with numerous producers including Cass Browne (Senseless Things, Delakota, Gorillaz, Penguin Café, Deadcuts) and Matt Whitehead (Dance/electronica producer). Other projects Amy has worked on are A bespoke piece of music for the designer Emma Shipley, an annual Christmas Charity song/video called ‘Festive kind of mood’ and most recently she has started a YouTube show called Friday Fix.
Her passion for lyrics and poetry has led her to write a children’s book which is currently in development and a musical is patiently waiting in the wings
- What do you do/what instrument do you play? I’m a singer
- What other instruments do you/can you play? Piano
- What was the highest level of formal education you received? Degree in popular music performance
- Why did you start to do music? It’s in my blood. My earliest memories are hearing my Dad (Billy Nicholls) write songs in our old flat in Twickenham.
- Why do you continue to do music? It’s out of my control. Sometimes I’ll be walking over Richmond bridge and a song just lands on me, other times it’s like therapy. A song sometimes just has to come out or it eats away at me.
- Have you ever thought about having another kind of career? I’ve often toyed with the idea of becoming an actor.
- Who is your musical idol? Ella Fitzgerald or Kate Bush
- What influences your music? My life, my huge network of musical friends and family who continue to play or introduce me to amazing old and new music.
- Who are your musical influences? My own family, The Who, The Small Faces, The Senseless Things. Sam Brown, Blondie, Turnin Brakes, Ween, Eurythmics, Pixies, Kate Bush and Steely Dan.
- Have you ever met or played with your musical idol(s)? I sing with my Dad – Billy Nicholls, whenever I can. I’ve recorded tracks for Pete Townshend’s ‘The Iron Man’ and once shared a mic with Ronnie Wood which was a beautiful occasion.
- What made you start playing music? I wrote a song when I was 7. Dad figured out the chords on the guitar for me. I knew at that point that I needed to play something to help me get the songs across. We often laugh to this day, how even in that first song I dropped a bar to make it more interesting.
- Have you released any albums album/albums? Yes with Ladybear ‘Catch 22’ and ‘Bear Essentials – Ten years of demos’
- Which other albums have you featured on? M-organ – Organised (2000 Source Records) , Billy Nicholls- Penumbra moon and Still Entwined (2001 Twickenham Tunes) also – Big boss man – Winner (2005 Blow Up Records)
- Who do you sound like? First Aid Kit meets Carole King maybe?
- What is so special about you/what differentiates you from the rest of people who do what you do? Recently I’ve had a bit of a rough ride. My life experience has put me into a new and very different framework. I seem to be communicating vocally on a different level than before. I have been working on my song writing for a long time but now I have more confidence in my abilities and nothing seems to be holding me back. One of my most recent songs has just been finished 15 years after I started it. On the flip side ‘Stop where you are’, took less than a day and ‘All the way’ I wrote at work on my phone.
- Why should people care about you and your music? It’s a part of my soul. It’s my expression of my life and loves. I’m writing for myself now and I think that translates in my music better than ever before.
- Have you written for anyone else? Yes, I wrote a bespoke piece for a promotional video for designer Emma Shipley. She said this:
‘Amy was a dream to work with – she listened to what I wanted and understood the desired sound and atmosphere immediately. She was very easy to work with, took feedback on board and the final piece exceeded my expectations. The composition she created was both original and striking, making a perfect accompaniment to the film of my drawing process.’ – Emma Shipley – Graphic and Fashion designer
- Aside from your family, who have you collaborated with? Matt Whitehead, Black Tusk, Big Boss man, Lee Miller, and Cass Brown who said this:
“Having known and worked with Amy off and on for over thirty years, I’d say she’s one of the most wonderful people out there. Beautiful voice and a beautiful person. A joy to both work with and be around!” – Cass Browne (Senseless Things, Delakota, Gorillaz, Penguin Café, Deadcuts)
- What great venues have you played in? Dingwalls and Brixton academy with M-Organ. I love playing the Troubadour and Halfmoon too.
- What other activities are you involved in besides music? I love birds, computer games, food and dancing.
- What community programs/groups are you involved in? I have a charity Christmas song that I dig out every year for a DIY music video extravaganza called ‘Festive Kinda Mood’
- What do you want to be known for/known as? A good songwriter
- What do you hope to get out of your involvement in the music industry? A little note next to the rest of my family.
- What is your favourite quote?
‘Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.’ – Martin Luther
- What quote/sentence would you say best describes you and your music? Amy’s music is straight from the deepest parts of her heart.
- How does music effect your mood? If it’s going to make me cry, I will and with abandon.
- What are your current favourite artists Agnes Obel, Gillian Welsh, Unknown Mortal orchestra. Phoebe Bridgers, White Denim and Big Thief.