Singer-songwriter channels chaos into musicWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Nothing was going to stop Nicole Atkins from making her new disc, “Mondo Amore.”
Not breaking up with her boyfriend, being dropped by the record company, running low on funds, or losing her band right before going into the studio.
She talked about how the opening track, “Vultures,” helped her to keep going.
“I came up with the melody when I was listening to a lot of blues music at the time, and I just kept having the line about ‘Vultures circle in heavy like a stone/ Take all they can get until you’re dirt and bones,’ and I kept repeating that, and I was like, what does that mean?
“I thought about how it seemed my love life, my career, things were crumbling around me, and how like with anyone, they can work really hard at a relationship or a career and it could not work out like they wanted it to. And it’s almost kind of like me talking to myself, you know, telling myself, ‘Keep moving forward’.”
Released in February by independent record label Razor & Tie, “Mondo Amore” has a more aggressive sound than her 2007 debut, “Neptune City.”
“I’ve always wanted to make a really guitar-heavy, ’60s-, ’70s-influenced classic rock record,” Atkins said during a call from her Brooklyn home. “And one of the touchstone records I kept thinking about while I was making [‘Mondo Amore’] was Derek & The Dominos’ ‘Layla,’ just because it’s a really heartbreaking record, but it sounds epic instead of sounding depressive or bitter.”
The singer-songwriter known for her powerful voice had some fun, especially on the rollicking “My Baby Don’t Lie.”
“I wrote that song as a joke. One of my sister’s friends was trying to say she saw my ex-boyfriend out with somebody while I was on tour but it was really one of his friends and my best friend, and it was like, oh, people just need to shut the f*** up,” she said and laughed. “So I was singing that song to a little zydeco-type melody, and I had thought of it as a total throwaway until I came up with the middle part that is so different but fits in there, so it goes from zydeco to like Echo & The Bunnymen.”
Atkins and her new band, The Black Sea, will play June 9 at Frankie’s. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the show. Jack and The Bear will open.
Part of her tour is financed by Kickstarter, an online funding program for creative projects.
“We’re actually buying a van, it’s great,” Atkins said. “It was really humbling to see how many people helped us out. I think we made about $23,000. It’s wonderful.”
The artist is appreciative of the support, especially after financing “Mondo Amore.”
“I mostly took a lot of strange gigs. I played in the lobby of this luxury hotel, which I was like why am I doing this? But then I was like, I need to make money to pay for the record.”