Does “New Jersey country music” sound like an oxymoron? If so, it may not for long. With the stage presence of classic Jersey rock artists and the vocal talent to back it up, today’s #FridayFind Nikki Briar is the fresh country rocker that the Tri-State area has been looking for.
Hailing from Clark, New Jersey, Nikki began her journey on the country music scene only a handful of years back but has already toured across the East Coast, opening for acts such as Chris Janson, Blackberry Smoke and other rising country stars. Playing a mix of both popular country hits and originals, Nikki is both inviting and captivating on stage. During her set this past Wednesday at the recently-opened Opry City Stage in Times Square, she and the talented SweetBriar Band had the crowd clapping their hands, stomping their feet, and actively engaging throughout the entirety of her three-hour set. As a whole, Nikki and her band put on a show that is entertaining from start to finish and that you surely won’t want to miss. And the best part!?!? Nikki and her band are performing again tomorrow (Saturday) night at the Opry City Stage, so if you like what you hear, go and check them out! You’ll enjoy every minute of the music (and the food and drinks too!)
Currently residing in Union County, NJ with her husband Angelo and their almost one-year-old son, Angelo Jr., Nikki has always been a lifelong singer and performer. Only a few years back while singing the National Anthem at a NJ National Guard event with her husband (who is in active duty), she had the realization that being a professional singer was her calling. Naturally she felt her singing and songwriting most effectively lent itself to country music, and the rest became history. For the greater part of the past decade she’s been writing songs, recording music, and touring as the “Garden State Cowgirl” with her band throughout New Jersey and up and down the Eastern seaboard.
Her music, which is similar to that of artists such as Carrie Underwood and The Band Perry (with even a little bit of early Taylor Swift mixed in), centralizes on love, family, and most notably, honoring and respecting this nation’s military. One of her biggest hits to date, “Soldier’s Princess” features a fitting drumline snare roll introduction accompanied by an emotion-provoking violin solo. Nikki’s vocals, her acoustic guitar, and a distorted electric guitar highlight the rest of the bittersweet tune, and give a voice to all of those who are left behind while their loved ones risk their lives overseas to protect our cherished freedoms.
If you’re looking for more traditional instruments in her music, divert your attention to the single “Jersey Girl” from her 2013 record Dancin’ In The Headlights. With a steady kickdrum and guitar riff keeping the rhythm, Nikki is honest and authentic in outlining exactly what it means to be from the Garden State. From Seaside to Sinatra, this song is an homage to her home state of NJ and the impact that it has had on her life thus far.
Nikki, born Nicole Signorella, has been steadily growing in popularity throughout the past few years and her music has been recognized by many radio stations and communication outlets. In addition to being featured on media channels such as NJ 101.5 FM and Jersey Indie she was also a featured artist at the 2015 Taste of Country music festival in Hunter Mountain, NY, opening for recognizable acts such as Tim McGraw, Parmalee, Billy Currington, and others.
Here in the Northeast, country music doesn’t have nearly the presence it does in the southern United States; however, artists like Nikki Briar are a refreshing reminder that a genre as tangible and pervasive as country music doesn’t have to be restricted to certain regions of the country. Being from Northern-Central New Jersey, Briar is carving her own unconventional path through the country music industry and is doing so in a steadfast and impressive manner.
(Remember, you can check out all of the past #FridayFinds here.)
Meanwhile, let’s take a closer look at a couple more of Nikki’s songs:
- “Dancin In The Headlights” (2013) – As the title track of her first LP, this song is fast-paced and one of her catchiest songs thus far. This song makes you want to tap your foot, clap your hands, drum the steering wheel, and bang out a rhythm on anything in sight. This track is without a doubt a “Nikki Briar banger”, and should absolutely be a top hit on country radio.
- “Man’s Best Friend” (2016) – One of her most recent singles, this acoustic guitar heavy track is as honest as it gets. This record highlights the power of Nikki’s voice as a stand alone force and provides a little insight into her personality as well — yep, she’s a dog lover.
- “After The New Wears Off” (2016) – Her newest song is not just a clean-cut record, but also a melodically and rhythmically hypnotizing song. Tackling the difficulties associated with relationships getting past the honeymoon stage and staying strong, this song revolves around love, trust, and novelty, three themes that perfectly define Nikki as an artist.
Curious to learn more about Nikki and see where she’s traveling/performing? Check out her pages below!
AND, stay tuned for her brand new single “I Know Where I’m Going Now” coming out this January!