NIKKA shows up with heavy duty talent and style with “Showed Up Drunk”
By Kurt Beyers
To introduce herself to music fans, and to tease an upcoming EP, NIKKA has chosen a bubbly, fun pop-punk song called “Showed Up Drunk.”
It’s a good choice, showcasing her lithe, lively voice, her musical talent and the storytelling that animates her songs. In the universe of the EP, Better Never, which drops October 13, the song is an episode in what she calls “a love story gone wrong.”
“‘Showed Up Drunk' is fun because it’s the byproduct of my very wild imagination,” said NIKKA. “Whenever people tell me stories, or if I watch movies or shows, I am ridiculously moved by things that I might have not experienced myself.”
“Showed Up Drunk,” of course, has an origin story. One night she was driving by an ex’s house, not deliberately, but simply because it happened to be on the way from one place to another.
“Driving past it, I’m like ‘Don’t look. Don’t look. If you see his lights are on it’s gonna piss you off, so just pretend he doesn’t exist.’”
“Didn’t take my own advice,” she said. “I look over, and I see his lights were on, and I’m like, ‘Damn it! How dare he just sit there and live his life and ignore me.’”
That, “started the spiral in my head,” a spiral that sped up when two separate friends told stories of showing up drunk, one to confess her love to a friend, another to confront the boyfriend who broke up with her on her birthday.
That gave her the idea for the song and raised a question in her mind. “If I did show up to this person’s door drunk, what would I say?”
I showed up at your front door
Last night when I was drunk
And a little bit hopeful that you’d
Open the door without me knocking
And say that you’d been waiting for me
To come around
In NIKKA’s musical version, the story holds more gentle self-mockery than tragedy, heartbreak or bitterness.
Thinking about the question that came to her, the answer, she said, turned out to be, “I’m not mad, I’m sad. I want to know that I meant something to this person.”
The other five tracks of Better Never tell the rest of the story.
“The EP is a story of falling in love, and then experiencing that love falling apart, and the theme of it is the scars from your past relationships staying with you.” The other song she has released from the EP, “Would You Like to Dance,” is a soft, beautiful acoustic pop ballad that introduces the story.
She calls Better Never “genre diverse.” She describes the second song, “Like a Melody,” as R&B.
“It’s an interesting song, because depending on whether you’re in love, or if you’ve recently had your heart broken, you will interpret the song that way,” she said.
Song No. 3 is “Showed Up Drunk.”
“So, we’ve had the two love songs and now she’s showing up at his house drunk, and we’re like, ‘What happened?’”
The fourth, “Only Ever You,” is a dance number, followed by a piano ballad called “Why’d You Have to Break Me.”
“And then we end with ‘Fatal Dance,’ which is alternative. But I’ve heard from some people that it has country influences.”
“I’ve always loved lots of different music. We could put on a country song, then throw on a death metal song and then we can go to house music. Regardless of the genre, we’re good. We’re having a good time.”
NIKKA, who calls herself an Eastern European refugee, came to America when she was 5. In her 20s, with just two songs out, she is just beginning a musical career, though she has always been a storyteller in music, stories and poems.
“Songwriting,” she said, “is my main storytelling.” During the pandemic, she found herself singing melodies to herself, over and over again. Eventually, she found herself thinking, “What is the story behind that? What is inspiring me to feel this way to the point where I just keep singing it?”
And, eventually, she decided to put her music out in the world at large instead of simply singing it to herself.
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