BTD Foundation Interview

How Music Has Impacted Nigel's Life

Describe your music in three words.
Good old soul.

Good old soul, I like it! So Nigel, where is home, and is there any particular song that reminds you of home?
Home is Washington, D.C.  Hmm, that’s a hard question…

When you were growing up, did you listen to a certain type of music?
Oh yeah! I guess when I listen to George Duke, I’m home.  George Duke is my favorite keyboard player. I grew up in D.C. listening to him so that’s kind of where the whole thing for me started. 

I read that you grew up in a musical family and started playing the keys early on?
I was 4, and I went to my grandmother’s house that had this great big old piano, and I pressed a note on it. It made this big sound and I realized I had done that, I caused that sound. It felt really good when I did it. It still feels good.

So you hit the keys at 4 years old and then you just knew right then that you wanted to keep playing the piano? Was there a specific piano influence? Maybe anyone in your family?
No, nobody in my family was a keyboard player, but again, my family grew up or I should say I grew up listening to George Duke with my family, and he was a keyboard player.  I didn’t really understand the magnitude of how he did it. Of course I was only 4 at the time, but I knew there was something in me that was doing something differently so I thought this is really cool and I decided “I want to do that!”

And you did it!
Laughing) and I’m still trying to do it…

You are doing it, and doing it well.  I also read you grew up with vinyls. Do you have a most prized vinyl, one that’s most sentimental to you?
Yeah, definitely! It’s a George Duke vinyl. One of his records called “Feel.” 

It is the first record I ever heard when I first really heard of him. It’s the first record that I did my own research on, not just George Duke, but keyboards, sounds, and stuff like that. I didn’t know keyboards could make those kinds of sounds. So I thought “That’s it!” because the record feels like fire, and I could only get one record at the time so it was going to be that one.

That’s really cool. I also read that you have said the statement, “Music is our way of traveling through time.” Describe your thoughts on that concept. What do you mean when you say that?
I know a lot of people remember their first kiss, and I know they remember what song was playing during their first kiss, or the first time they got beat up, or the first time they went to a concert, the songs they heard during these instances transport them back, you know? These instances can all trigger this thing in your mind where “Oh, this is what happened.” That’s what music does! Music is the last and the only pure thing we have left on this earth. Everything else is majorly efficient. Music will also never lie to you, you know? When you hear music, you have these things that you’re going through in your life, and the music in those specific moments will forever remind you of those particular times. You can see how much you or even the music has changed in that time period, and it’s a beautiful and wonderful thing. I love being a musician. The experience and the memories are why I do this. It’s not the money. The experience, the memories, and how it makes me feel are why I do this.  Music is the only thing that can really trigger those memories that are left. You can actually build a time machine, and it probably won’t be as cool as sitting in a room full of records and vinyls and listening to music and bringing back all of these memories. They will come to you, vivid as the day, especially if you have a vivid imagination, like me…but maybe I’m a little crazy… I can say that right?

Continue reading at