Let’s not pretend we know who Sheila Nicholls is, readers. I won’t fake musical knowledge if you won’t, OK?
Word on the street though, is that Nicholls has been on the scene for years and that she originated in England before relocating to America (New York specifically?). She hasn’t released an album in three years, we’re sure she’s been busy with other stuff, including having kids, which can be an awful time-sink and doesn’t offer as many compositional opportunities as you might think.
And also, she looks eerily like a streaker of the same name who stormed the Lords cricket grounds a few years back. If you roll your Google Images with SafeSearch switched off, you’ll see what I mean. This is cutting edge investigative journalism, folks.
Three paragraphs in and not a word about the music. Well, here we go. Nicholls seems to do singer/songwriter type material effortlessly enough, and her vocals are rooted in 90’s pop. I’m tempted to draw a comparison with Ace Of Base. Ah, go on then. There are similarities, and that’s not a criticism. I love her phrasing, and I love the rich, dreamlike harmonies that permeate tracks like Natural Law.
When I listen to Sheila, I hear a ton of beautiful things that are so pleasing to the ear. And the influences come flying at you: is there a touch of an Edie Brickell influence there? When she veers into the trip hop territory, it calls to mind Zero 7’s Another Late Night, one of the mellowest albums of all time.
The songs featured here are from Nicholls’ new album Songs From The Barda. Go look it up on iTunes and support a great independent artist. It may well stop her from invading cricket pitches* 😛
* Yes, I’m aware it was in 1989, but I think it’s quite a funny story and she’s kind of my hero for doing it!