Today I want to introduce you to Nikki Briar, country singer, and military wife from New Jersey! Nikki is a proud ambassador and artist for the Heart Songs for Veterans organization and co-hosted on their syndicated, international radio show Project Lips founded by owner Jill Pavel. Currently her songs Unknown Soldier and Man's Best Friend are donated to Veteran organizations such as The United States War Dog Assocoation. Nikki became a new radio personality as co-host on 89.1WFDU Kickin' Ot Country Radio with John Patterson and Scott Reid which airs Thursdays 7PM to 10 PM. We talk music, patriotism and more!
NN: Tell us a little bit about Nikki! Where are you from? How did you get involved for music?
Nikki: I am from Clark, NJ currently living in Garwood, NJ which is in Union County. Music was part of my daily life growing up. I was told by my parents that I learned how to talk by listening to music and learning lyrics to songs. I was a big fan of Whitney Houston even as a toddler. My father was a touring drummer and worked with Frankie Vallie and the 4 Seasons, Tony Bennett, The Drifters, and many more and my mom was a classical piano player, so we were constantly surrounded by music. I did every school talent show, I was in every school band playing the drums and singing in the choir, doing all types of dance and acting classes, anything that was entertaining was fun for me. I loved being on stage since I was a child and I love it even more now.
NN: What are three words you would use to describe yourself? Why did you choose those specific words?
1. Energetic...I perform 4-5 nights a week and if it's a slower week, I am doing songwriting sessions, recording, radio interviews or anything pertaining to music. I feel more energeized knowing I am persuing a lifelong dream. I love being on stage, seeing everyone dance and sing along with us, it's such a rush! I also like to jump in with the audience and line dance with everyone. When you come to one of my shows, there's no sitting down!
2. Patriotic...I am a proud army wife to my husband, SSG Angelo Martinez who has been serving in the military for 13 years. I am more patriotic because of him and I do what I can to help support vets and veteran organizations. I work with Heart Songs for Veterans and donate portions of my songs to veteran groups such as the War Dog Association. I'm also a cohost on a veteran radio show called Project Lips led by Heart Songs for Veterans founder Jill Pavel. Every album has a song about being an army wife and honoring our soldiers. I also enjoy performing the national anthem at various events and dedicating a song at every show to our veterans.
3. Passionate...In everything I do, I always put my all into it. I am passionate about life and enjoying it to the fullest.
NN: What is the most exciting thing that has happened in your music career?
Nikki: I have been blessed to do some amazing shows and meet very influential people along the way. Opening for Tim McGraw at TASTE OF COUNTRY in NY was amazing. Singing the national anthem at the Prudential Center Arena for Showtime Boxing and for Seton Hall Univery basketball games is always fun, especially since I am a Seton Hall alumni. It was very exciting to headline the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ and perform with national acts that have come through the tristate area such as Locash, Blackjack Billy, Parmalee, Cassadee Pope, Emerson Drive, Blackberry Smoke and more.
NN: Where do you hope your career is in one year? Five years?
Nikki: Since I started my full time music career 2 years ago, I have been blessed to accomplish so much in a short period of time. I began my country music career 5 years ago while at the time working as a full time elemetary school teacher. 2 years ago I decided to be a full time touring artist and I know i am following a special path.
In one year, I hope to have accomplished our tour and be planning to do overseas performances. My goal is to perform for our deployed vets. In 5 years, I hope to be performing at the CMA Awards, touring, owning a rescue farm and have children.
NN: You have a show coming up with Chris Janson soon, how do you prepare for shows? What are three things that you can't leave home without before a show?
Nikki: I prepare by working out, that actually calms me down. So I go the gym before the show, drink hot tea, and just get pumped up to go on stage. I never get nervous, I get excited and anticipate it. I love engaging with fans and giving all I have, it goes by too quickly.
I have to pack my makeup, hair brush and something sweet to have after the show, like Reese's or popcorn!
NN: What is one thing you have been able to cross off of your musical bucket list? What is one thing you hope to cross off soon?
Nikki: Performing on big stages with national acts has definitely been a huge accomplishment. Knowing my songs are out there for people to hear and enjoy and sing along to is a great feeling. One thing I would love to accomplish is open for Kenny Chesney! I am a big fan of his and I appreciate his talent and hard work, I would love to meet him and open for him.
NN: If you could do a duet with anyone who would you choose and why
Nikki: There are 2 people I want to duet with...Kenny Chesney and Michael Buble. Both obviously very different artists. I admire Michael Buble and am mesmerized by his voice. I have seen him live about 4 times and anytime he comes to the NY/NJ area to perform. I love that his style emulates the classics of Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra, his voice is just incredible. I would love to do a duet with Kenny Chesney because I am a huge fan and love his style and voice.
NN: What does 2016 have in store for you and your music career?
Nikki: We have many fun things we are working on, including our tour to Florida, Nashville and Canada. We are also working with some great clothing sponsors as well that we enjoy sharing with our fans, like Hogwash & Rhinestones. I enjoy being on the go and taking our long road trips to the next performance. My band are some of my best friends, they are my big brothers and family so as much time as we spend together, we enjoy the company. I always enjoy our funny youtube video road trips!
NN: What is your favorite song that you've recorded? What makes that one so special for you?
Nikki: My first single A SOLDIER'S PRINCESS was the first song we released about 5 years ago and once it got on the radio, I knew that it was my calling so that song is very special as it led the path for the future. It is also a song written about being an army wife and waiting for my husband to return safely from deployment. As much as I love doing rockin country party songs, I like my songs to also tell a story that many can relate to and that reflect my life and my journey.
Make sure that you follow Nikki on social media at the links below: