Eighteen‐year-old Nicole (Nikki) Hayes is destined for the stage! The singer; songwriter; self-taught musician; dancer; and “actress in training” began her career at the age of six, where she studied dance at Studio One Dance Academy in Chicago. Nikki’s entrance into entertainment continued while she was a student at St. Sabina Academy, where she was a member of the school’s choir; acted in various school plays; and danced on the school’s praise dance team. Nikki’s passion for the stage grew. Her parents took notice of her command of the stage and raw talent and consequently, enrolled her in the Alvin Ailey Summer Dance program where she studied Jazz, West African, Ballet and Modern.
Though she was only seven years old, Nikki would watch her older sisters develop their vocal talents and eventually become members of the renowned Walt Whitman & the Soul Children of Chicago. She was determined to do the same. Though Nikki’s vocals required significant time and maturity to develop -- through her hard work, focus and determination – a voice that was once barely tolerable to the ears blossomed into a sound that was hard to believe was coming from such a tiny frame. She was finally accepted into the Soul Children of Chicago, and performed with them for approximately three years before moving to Bolingbrook, IL.
Nikki’s road to a professional career however, was initiated by chance, when a friend suggested she post a video on YouTube. Nikki’s soulful rendition of Adele’s “Melt My Heart to Stone” resulted in a consistent string of compliments about the beauty and strength of her voice. “What?! You’re only 12?” became the mantra of everyone who heard her, including an up-and-coming producer who asked Nikki if she might be interested in working with him.
The rest – as they say – is history.
Today, Nikki is gaining momentum one region at a time yet she’s determined to make her mark on an international level. She continues to sharpen her craft and grabs hold of every opportunity to improve – be it in the studio, writing songs, or performing live. Nikki recorded her first solo project in 2010 with Baltimore-based Firestarters production team, she is currently working with Platinum hits Producer Doc Little (Beyoncé; Christina Aguilera; P. Diddy and others), who featured Nikki on the club hit “Me And You” by B Ford and Magic Man, and she is starting to create a buzz among other producers as well. Nikki is also a popular guest vocalist with the local R&B/Pop band 290 East, where her “ole skool” renditions of Chaka Khan’s “Sweet Thing” and Phyllis Hyman’s “Living All Alone” has prompted standing ovations from some and tears from others.
Nikki considers her style to be acoustic Pop/R&B, with a sprinkle of jazz. Her musical influences range from Beyonce and Adele to John Legend, Whitney Houston and Ne‐Yo. The industry thus far views her universal character and appeal, along with her vocal talents, as the track to Pop/R&B superstardom. Her endearing personality is infectious, and for anybody who meets her it’s nearly impossible to not become a Nikki Hayes fan.