Putting shooting trauma behind her...

Nikki
Nikki

Singer-songwriter Nikki Loy is back in Sussex just a few weeks after occupants of a passing car took a pot-shot at her parked camper van in Arundel.

Nikki will be supporting former X factor winner Sam Bailey on Sam’s Sing My Heart Out Tour at Brighton’s Theatre Royal on March 5.

The tour will be another positive chapter in Nikki’s career. As she says, she was determined not to let her drive-by attackers win.

Nikki lives and travels in a camper van between performances, shows and recording.

In January, she was parked in Arundel by Swanbourne Lake on a Friday night at 10.30pm when a car sped past, wound down the window and took a shot at her van.

“Suddenly there was a bang and the sound of falling glass. I thought something had hit me.

“And then I realised it was my window, the side window behind the driver’s window, so effectively my kitchen window.

“I jumped in the driver’s seat, turned around and had a look. And then I drove for half an hour to a friend’s and then taped up the damage in the middle of the night at minus three. It was not until the next morning that I could see it in daylight, and I could see there was a little circular hole in what was left of the glass. I thought it must have been a bullet or a pellet. I realised that it wasn’t accidental. I assumed I had been hit by a bottle that had been thrown, but now I could see that it was an airgun that intentionally shot my van.”

But she determined not to let it affect her: “I think of all the other wonderful situations I have had with my van, so many great experiences and so many great things to write about. It is such a creative and inspiring life generally that I thought something like this is not going to sway me out of it. But it was certainly unacceptable behaviour.

“But the camper van is great. I love it. I enjoy the freedom and the ever-changing view. I enjoy that my whole life is contained and that I can go anywhere I want, whenever I want. It’s hard ever to leave anything behind! I did have the realisation that moving into my van really would make me very minimalist, and to some degree it does because you have totally stripped back your life to its bare necessities.”

As for the music, Nikki is just about to release the deluxe version of her new album with four extra tracks – an album which came on the back of the most rigorous of self-imposed song-writing challenges. She set herself the task of writing a song a week for a year, putting it up online around 6pm every Tuesday.

As she says, effectively it meant writing and posting a song in a day once a week for 12 months: “I would actually write it on the Tuesday and then spend the rest of the week recovering until the next Tuesday! And then from that, we chose 12 songs to go onto the new album. The result is we have got a strong album. The other songs I will work up if I get to do another album, and some of them will just have to go into the archive.”

As she says, you have got to be ruthless: “You can’t be too precious. The ones I don’t use will still have served their purpose.”

The album, her third studio recording, is called Pivotal.

So what did Nikki learn from her song-writing challenge?

“I learnt that it doesn’t get easier. I just had to get better at being disciplined. A lot of people have the attitude that they write when inspiration comes. But a lot of it is really, really hard work.”

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