“I got a man, way to treat me so right…I got a love, so sweet and so true” are lyrics to a heart pounding soulful song powered by the voice of Nikki Hill complimented with the energized guitar playing of Matt Hill.
Witnessing a stage full of musicians playing with intensity and love for music is just about as good as it gets. Unless you are fortunate enough to see Nikki and Matt, whose love goes beyond notes and lyrics on sheets of paper. The music produced by this power couple penetrates the soul and paints a picture of love.
The sound of the young lady from Durham, North Carolina is reminiscent of Lavern Baker, Etta James, Ruth Brown, Little Richard, and Otis Redding. Nikki started her vocal journey in a place that is familiar to many legends and those seeking solace for the soul. At the young age of 8 years old Nikki began to sing in the church choir and continued into her teens. I watched a video of Nikki performing Saved and her introduction speaks volumes about the woman with a soulful booming voice, “Gospel music never leaves you, no matter where you go. The intensity and the energy of Gospel music is something that is unforgettable.” Music and singing is not only entertainment but also spiritual.
Not only does Matt play a mean axe but he also has a prolific voice with shades of The Band, Waylon Jennings, Carl Perkins, Albert Collins and Howlin Wolf. Listening to Matt’s heartfelt lyrics remind you of the great lyricists in country and blues that sang of love lost and found, joy and pain and may strike a chord with where you have been in life or where you currently are. He released two albums and won the 2011 Best New Artist Debut at the Blues Music Awards.
About six years ago a group of friends insisted that the two youngest people in their group should meet. Apparently the mutual group of friends believed the two would “hit it off.” According to Nikki, “they were right! We became great friends and that is still the base of our relationship now.” This March the couple will celebrate their second wedding anniversary and the love they share is unmistakeable, “everyday is memorable with Matt. Every time we share the stage, or we’re up late driving to the next destination, or we are just enjoying each other’s company, it’s all very memorable for me.” The bond is based in love but also in music.
One vital component in any band is not only a mutual love for music but also chemistry among the members, Nikki and Matt are fortunate. Nikki says, “When we play together I feel like we can set the stage on fire!” The intensity and mutual energy is evident in the recordings and performances. It is very difficult to listen or watch them perform without wanting to tear up the dance floor.
Matt has released two recordings and the latest, Tappin That Thang features Nikki providing the back up vocals. Nikki’s first EP features Matt on guitar. Keep a watchful eye in 2013 because they will be touring extensively and Nikki will release her full-length album. The couple travels around the country and abroad sharing their love of music and experiencing life together as musicians, friends and soul mates.
I cannot fully describe the depth and intensity that must accompany this talented and blessed couple. Musicians travel many back roads and highways with friends and band members to get to their next gig. Undoubtedly at times it is not glorious but the Hill’s are impacting more than the music scene with their soulful story of love. At the end of the day Nikki and Matt have each other.