The Real Ding
GET TO KNOW: Nick Henderson
Following on from a string of rich and exciting cuts throughout the last few years, LA-based singer and songwriter Nick Henderson has now returned to deliver his compelling new offering 'No U'.
Bringing together an eclectic blend of R&B, southern rock, and acoustic pop influences from start to finish, 'No U' makes for an incredibly vibrant return for the emerging artist. With his light and vibrant voice layered amongst sweeping production, he definitely feels like a name worth keeping an eye on right now.
So with the new single available now, we sat down with him to find out more about his background and influences over the years.
What was the first band or artist you fell in love with?
The first artists that inspired me to pursue music and really fanned that flame would be Edwin McCain and John Mayer. Both artists reflect the ability to write from such vulnerable and relatable places, that their music truly resonated with not just me but all of their listeners. That emotional awareness captured in their writing inspired me to pick up the pen for myself and to use that as a method for therapy towards the articulation of raw emotions as I processed them.
Did you ever form a band when you were younger and if so, what did they sound like?
I was part of multiple bands throughout my grade school years; be that as a rhythm guitarist or the lead vocalist. In my senior year of high school, our band jokingly named "The Stretchmarks" performed Dave Matthew's "Grey Street" at our high school baccalaureate ceremony, but it wasn't until my college acoustic-rock duo "2 Mile Road" - myself on vocals and guitar and my friend Ryan Piracha on Bass/Keys/Percussion, that we started booking gigs in the Richmond and DC area.
What has been your primary inspiration in writing music?
Songwriting has always been a form of emotional therapy for me and a way to respond to my anxiety and romantic instabilities. For example, my new single "No U," is a song focused around a very cathartic concept; the idea of detaching from someone you love, while still valuing the time you had with them in the first place. It wasn't till after I wrote the song and listened back as I would rehearse and record, that I could really come to terms with accepting the situation while realizing that the person I was convinced I still loved all these years later, I truly didn't know anymore. It was just the idea of this person that I was hanging onto.
What is a song you wish you had written yourself?
"Clarity" by John Mayer. Even though that song was not as popular as others from his arsenal, the meaning behind the lyrics regarding an intangible moment of peace and the anxiety that follows our vain attempts to cling to that moment, could not be better articulated. One of the things that John Mayer said that I easily identify with, is that "anxiety is a driving force" for writing. Hearing this song at a young age, while being aware of my own anxiety and depression, gave me the validation that I wasn't the only one to feel those feelings, and it's something that I now hope to be able to provide for my own listeners. So until John hands over the rights to "Clarity," I'm going to have to keep writing and trying to capture that feeling!
If there was any moment in your career you could relive, what would it be?
Getting to perform at the House of Blues in Anaheim, CA. I grew up watching the DVD concert of Edwin McCain at the Myrtle Beach House of Blues on loop, so when I was invited to perform at the venue in Anaheim when I was living in Los Angeles, it truly felt like a full circle moment in my musical career. Since then there are so many new friends and collaborators that I would have liked to bring on-stage with me, along with new songs that I would like to perform, I'm booking more shows over the summer; but the first time I stood on that specific stage was a moment of validation I would relive any day.
Which artist would you most love to share a stage with?
I got to meet Edwin McCain during COVID and he was kind enough to share his own tips to success, as well as mistakes to avoid, in pursuing a long-term career in the music industry. In merely an hour, with no previous interactions preceding this, we went from hellos to career-changing advice, and he displayed the mentoring kindness to a stranger that I hope to one day be able to do for someone else down the road. So long story short, after getting advice from the very artist whose record was the first record I remember listening to in my childhood, I believe that sharing the stage with Edwin, will be one of the most fulfilling moments I will be able to achieve in my career.
And is there an artist you would love to collaborate with as well?
One artist that I would love to get in the studio with is John Mayer. John's discography has had so much evolution over the years, while his songwriting has stayed consistently ethereal and thematically relatable, and I feel like anything musical he touches turns to gold. He documented writing "In Repair" in NYC with Pino Paladino and David Ryan Harris within a 24 hour window, and watching that process was so electrifying and inspiring to see. Getting to make music with John is definitely on my bucket list.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
One of the biggest mistakes that I made over the last few years was having expectations in the music industry in the first place. Times where progress was slow, and not being where I wanted to be at that time, led to imposter syndrome, and I had to learn that there was no "set-rules" or timeline for finding success in this industry. It wasn't until years that felt like constant latency passed that I even felt like I was making any traction, and seeing return on my work in the first place. So to answer the question, I see myself focusing on continuing to put out new music, including a full-length album, and lots of gigs and shows, which will be advertised on my Instagram @nickhendersonmusic but other than that, I am trying to now live in the moment without expectations.
Nick Henderson's new single 'No U' is available to stream now. Check it out below.