The five songs Nikki Nava can’t live without

We’ve had our ear on Nikki Nava since last year, when we included her in a Local Outsider column. We’ve always liked how she does so much with what seems to be little. That’s on full display with the release of her first proper single, “Secrets”, and with more new stuff on the way, we asked her to tell us the five songs she can’t live without. Warning: there are some surprises on her list.


Lucy Rose | Like I Used To (2012)

Lucy Rose is one of my main influences. I watched her City Sessions performance of this song and I immediately fell in love. I got to know her music and how she’s really down to earth and I just felt so inspired. It made me realize that as an artist, you don’t need to be too flashy to make an impact; you can make a difference by being yourself and letting humility and honesty be at the core of what you create. When she came here for her first solo show, I really went out of my way and did a cover video that once it got chosen, it would grant me a meet and greet pass. I was a shy kid back then, but for Lucy I was willing to grow a bit of confidence. In the end, I won. I got to meet her. I got to tell her I was thankful for her music.


“Ones Who Love You”
Alvvays | Alvvays (2014)

Alvvays were a gem that I was glad I discovered. I loved their debut album and this was the most replayed song. I was going through a difficult time last  year when I first heard it, and it came to be one of my comfort songs. Aside from the connection that I felt with it, I also admired the world this song had. It would be a sunset-tinged, dreamy, fuzzy, and happy-sad world. My favorite lines would have to be, “Take from the ones who love you. Leave with the ones who don’t.”


Interpol | Antics (2004)

Whenever I hear this song, I always remember my best friend during high school because this was our favorite back then. We would share a lot of artists and songs to each other. I especially love the guitar work and the lyrics. The opening two lines always bite.


“Isabella of Castile”
STRFKR | Starfucker (2008)

I love everything about this song. STRFKR is one of my all-time favorite bands. Listening to this now would instantly take me back in time. This is the last song from their first album and it’s a very beautiful way of ending it. The lyrics are poetry.


“Sprained Ankle”
Julien Baker | Sprained Ankle (2015)

This song is just 2 minutes and 22 seconds. It actually don’t feel like it because this song gives a lot of emotions. Julien has this ability of making you pay attention to whatever is coming out of her system, may it be the words she says or the beautiful sounds that she makes through her guitar. I have been hooked to her work since I discovered her on an Audiotree video posted on YouTube. It’s songs like this that makes you realize there’s beauty in being vulnerable and that sadness isn’t a negative thing.


[“Secrets” is now available for download and streaming in all the usual places. Nikki was talking to Niko Batallones.]

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