Hey everyone, thanks for joining us again this week. We had a fantastic evening in the studio today! We were fortunate to have Nikki Glaspie join us here in Nanaimo this week, and we’re ready to tell you all about it!
Nikki Glaspie started by saying she’s from Planet Earth – it might raise an eyebrow but it’s a shorter explanation. She grew up on the East Coast, all of the East Coast. She came up with her mom, who was her earliest musical influence, she says learned how to “play” her mom first. The conversation turned to her time spent in church. As early as two Nikki was banging the drums as her mom played the keys in the gospel choir. She shared what it was like to grow up with music as a group activity and in a crowd setting. She touched on the difference between enjoying music privately, in a family setting, and the juxtaposition that a church presents.
Thanks to her upbringing Nikki made quick work of finding her place in the drivers seat, at the back of the band. She was boss of the beat at just 8 years old, and continues to be today.
After talking about her relationship with, music, mom, and the man upstairs we dove into the experience she had with popular music. Glaspie’s father introduced her to greats like Michael Jackson and The Smashing Pumpkins in addition to an eclectic array of other artists. Through this experience she piqued and interest for knowledge of the different and the unknown. She needed to know everything about rhythm, and for now, she’d learn by listening.
With an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, Nikki was ready to take it all in. Life, the world. But life is school for Nikki, she’s always learning. She just needed a way to see the world. Luckily music would be her vehicle to the world travels she knew she was meant for. So she studied everything music.
After high school she went on to graduate from the renowned Berklee School of Music in Boston, MA. Nikki also had a second kind of education while in Boston – Night School. This one was free,
and was at Wally’s. She calls dimly lit bar a “cesspool” for musicians coming up in the Berklee scene (only in the most endearing way.) Any night you can find afro cuban jazz, funk, fusion, and straight-ahead jazz shaking the walls. This was the place to see music happening, to be immersed in real jazz, the good stuff.
From Boston Nikki moved south-west to Louisiana, where she says her grad school was spending time with Art Neville and his family. See Dumpstaphunk for more on this!
When do you go from a student to a mentor?
Nikki knows that education will never be over for her. She’ll always be learning, it’s in her nature. She knows she’s been a role model for quite a while because she’s a step-mom, a highly important role in her life. And, a number of years ago she started realizing people really looked up to her in her professional life, too.
She told a story from the Beyoncé Band reunion party. There was a kid (read: fully-grown man) who told her he had looked up to her since he was 8 years old. First of all, she thought that was impossible because how old did that make her? She then brought up a point. Music has no age. She can be rocking out with a 23 year old guitarist, or a legend in their late 70’s and you may not know the difference. She wants to use her role as a mentor to spread love through the world. Nikki said, when talking about age, race, creed, religion, “we’re all the same, we all bleed the same red blood.” If that’s the message she’s spreading, we’re right there with her!
Glaspie now calls Austin, Texas home and if she knows one thing, it’s that music is inside of her. Rhythm to her is firstly, unobtainable. And then it’s everything. She says “everyone has rhythm. Everyone has a heart beat. Without rhythm you die. So, to me, rhythm is life, essentially.”
Rhythm is the essence of life. So, thanks Nikki, for a knock-it-out-of-the-park interview! We’ll see you all back here next week for the scoop on tomorrow mornings interview with guess who!?