Brisbane-based singer-songwriter Nicole McKinney crafts indie rock-folk melodies inspired by themes of self-discovery and human connection.
Nicole's latest single is titled 'Hollywood Girls' and is the first of a number of new releases she plans in the lead up to her debut EP next year.
"'Hollywood Girls' describes the struggle to save a jeopardised relationship," Nicole says.
"A reflection in the aftermath, the lyrics hold key themes of overcoming self-blame, trusting your instincts and knowing when to leave an unhealthy relationship."
Who is Nicole McKinney? I'm a Brisbane-based, singer-songwriter originally from the Sunshine Coast.
I've been gigging around Brisbane/ Sunshine Coast for a few years. I've recently got a great band behind me and we've been working on an EP at Hunting Ground Studios. It's been a really cathartic process and I'm looking forward to sharing this string of releases.
I sound like... My latest songs are pretty heavily influenced by indie rock artists like Alex G and Girl Pool. Some people describe my music as having a similar vibe to Middle Kids and Julia Jacklin.
My first gig was... My earliest gig memory was when I was 10 at an open mic with my dad and sister. We sang 'Chasing Cars' by Snow Patrol. I sang the lead.
A few words in, my voice broke and and I swore into the microphone. It was really awkward and I didn't even notice I'd sworn. We started again like nothing had happened, hahaha!
In the studio I usually... Drink copious amounts of tea. Lemon and ginger is a personal favourite. I love being in the studio. It's honestly the best feeling to be bringing the songs to life that mean so much to me. It's always a good time and lots of laughs with my awesome producer, Luke Woollett.
Acoustic or electric? Both! I have an acoustic Martin and co that I've had since I started writing music. I use her for songwriting and playing my older alt/ pop/ country style songs. She's been through A LOT and is invaluable.
A year ago I got my first electric Fender Stratocaster – I'm in love and can't go back to performing without her. I feel as though I escape and really get lost in the deep eerie sound. I think the electric really inspired the writing of my latest songs and upcoming EP.
If I could tour with anyone... It would be Alex G and Beabadoobee. I'm a diehard fan for both of them and their music has got me through some really hard times and has fortunately influenced my songwriting a bunch this year. I could 100 per cent die happy after touring with them.
Other instruments I play... My first instrument I learned was piano. My mum's piano stayed in the lounge room and as a kid I was always hearing/ banging away. I absolutely love the piano and I'm so grateful I grew up with such an ethereal instrument.
When I was 5 years old I was an absolute freak on the harmonica. No one in my family knew how or where I picked it up, but I was a little hillbilly rocket. After a short break, I tried playing again and had completely lost the freakish skill I once had – strange right?
Social media is... Great so long as you are selective with what you choose to let into your headspace. I try to follow a lot of local artists including musicians, visual artists and filmmakers.
Social media is such a great way to discovery local artists and also to connect to my own fan base. Although a cliche, I really think it's important to take time away from your phone for your self.
My favourite app at the moment is... I love the app Huji; it takes the cutest little film-style pics and it's always fun to pull it out on a drunk night out and yell "HUJI!".
Plus you get to see the cutest, little, retro-styled photos the next morning, which makes the regrets of the previous night more bearable.
To date, my most embarrassing moment was the time... In high school I was chosen to sing lead vocals with an adult orchestra for the Anzac Day Centenary. There were hundreds of school kids, parents, teachers and locals in the audience.
I was to sing both the Australian and New Zealand anthem, both of which have a VERY similar intro. Totally confident after so many rehearsals I began singing only to realise it was the wrong anthem.
I couldn't disguise this mistake and as I looked into the eyes of my peers in front of me I couldn't believe it. I had ONE job. I wanted to melt away but I pushed through, finished the songs and ran away. At the time I was so humiliated. I ugly cried alone. Glad I can laugh about it now because it was just too ridiculous, hahaha!
If you'll have me on your bill, I ask is that our rider contains... An unlimited supply of Jim Beam and chocolate Bounty Bars.
If you had to live in a city abroad, where would you choose? I've always wanted to travel to Berlin and see the city. I've heard it's quite an arty and open-minded place, plus has a great appreciation for art and music.
What celebrity/ famous person would you love to be your spokesperson... Taylor Swift. Because. . . Taylor Swift (I hope she sees this).
Three people you'd like to invite around for a dinner party... Sacha Baron Cohen: He would destroy everyone at the table. Leonardo DiCaprio: So I could stare at his beautiful face. David Attenborough: To narrate the evening.
If we were coming over to your place, what would you cook us? A good, old Green Thai curry with a ridiculous amount of coriander. You're welcome.
No matter the expense, send me a case of... The most indie, sour/ craft beers one can find.
The last time I saw the inside of a gym was... Last week. Don't be fooled, it was the first time in three months and a friend dragged me there, haha!
What's the one chore you dislike the most? Cleaning my car. I don't know why, I think I just like it being full of my junk, in case I decide to escape the city spontaneously, haha!
Do you have any phobias... please explain? COCKROACHES! Even the thought gives me the creeps. My childhood home in Dubai was infested with cockroaches in the summer. The day one crawled up my leg in the shower was the day I learned how truely messed up they are. . . ew ew ew!
Favourite TV show? 'Shameless'. Oh, my gosh, my new obsession.
What are your next releases inspired by? Love, pain, heartbreak, heartbreak, heartbreak – you know, only the good stuff.