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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Niki J. Crawford, Vocalist

Niki J. Crawford has more than just a shared birthday in common with her musical inspiration Whitney Houston. A Recording Artist/Songwriter from the small country town of Springhill, Louisiana, Niki J. Crawford has a powerful, unforgettable, but melodic voice, writes her own poignant lyrics and creates music with a soul-pop-rock sound that you can feel. Niki has been singing since she was 6 years old, starting off as the lead soloist in her hometown Church choir. She has internationally toured with music icons such as Macy Gray, Carlos Santana and Nikka Costa; is featured on multiple tracks on albums of Babyface, Mary J. Blige, George Michael and Brian McKnight. Currently, Niki is in-studio working on her first solo album that is slated to drop at the end of 2009. She will also be featured in a duet with CoCo Montoya on his new album dropping in September of 2009. While touring she has performed on various late-night TV shows such as Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, and Saturday Night Live.

Clearly a multi-talented artist, Niki J. Crawford not only sings, but is also a talented and growing actress. Recently, Niki has completed shooting the upcoming film, "Love Ranch", premiering this year at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. Based on a true story, Niki plays “Tawny”, a beautiful sex-driven working girl in the first legalized brothel in Las Vegas, alongside stars Gina Gershon, Taryn Manning & Bai Ling. The film also stars Helen Mirren, Joe Pesci, and is directed by Taylor Hackford, known for his work on RAY and Devil’s Advocate. Her body of film work also includes co-starring alongside Ginnifer Goodwin and Kevin Connolly in the hit comedy, "He’s Just Not That Into You"; “American Dreamz”, in which she plays an incredible singer who gets to tell Hugh Grant…I HATE YOU!; as well as roles in “The Tenants” “Seeing Other People”, "Gridiron Gang", "Miss March", and “Killer Diller”, which she received a “Two Thumbs Up” for her performance and was told “She is The REAL American Idol” from Ebert & Roper. Niki also guest starred on television shows Ally McBeal, Wanted, and Scarlett series regular; hit productions “Rent” (Shubert Theater), and “Behind Closed Doors” (Tyler Perry Prod./T.D Jakes Prod.); and is also currently featured singing in the national Subway Campaign along side former NY Giants defense end Michael Strahan.

It is evident that this young artist is on a mission and with her new album and film “Love Ranch” simultaneously being released at the end of 2009, Niki J. Crawford is definitely THE girl to keep on your radar. Niki currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and is also involved in non-profits such as the African Children’s Choir and enjoys many sports like basketball, horseback riding and swimming. Niki explains, “My goal is to make feel good music and great films with an energy that inspires and alleviates negativity.” Whom You Know is so pleased to present her as Mover and Shaker!

Peachy Deegan interviewed Niki J. Crawford for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: What is your first musical memory?
Niki J. Crawford: My first musical memory is sitting on this old stereo where my mama would play all her records-real records- (Frankie Beverly and Maze, Aretha Franklin, Stevie) Basically all the good stuff, and I would sit on it and sing along!

What is the first song you wrote?
The one I remember was called "Smitten"....I remember my mama saying "How do you know that big ol word?"

What inspires you to write songs?
HONESTY--my songs most always come from my truth, or the truth of who I was around that day.... all my songs are true and it happened!

What makes a vocalist who writes their own songs different from those that sing other people's songs?
Well, for me, I just "feel" it a little differently....I have sang other people's songs and it was great, but when it's a song that comes from my heart, or my personal experience, It just comes out of me different - from my soul.

What are you proudest of?
Aww man, I am proud that I was brought up to love me and never forget others....... and I'm so proud of my gift to sing and to love people, and really mean it.

Who have you enjoyed working with the most and why?
I really enjoyed touring with Santana....I remember it well…it was my birthday, and he brought me up on stage and said out loud to thousands of people, "This girl has a voice that brings people closer to God"..........I cried of course, but that’s how he was.....HUGE, but also so HUMBLE! that was a cool moment!( He also gave me a really cool birthday gift that year!)

What are your 5 favorite songs of all time?
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?--too hard, but I will try..... Donny Hathaway's-"Giving Up", Whitney Houston's live version of "A Song For You", Frankie Beverly & Maze-ALL OF THEM, Mother's Finest-"Truth", and Stevie Wonder-ALL OF THEM!........ sorry that's the best I could do.

How did you like working with Hugh Grant?
It was fantastic! My character got to yell at him a lot, and I also got to sing a lot so it was a good day!

What is he like?
He was the coolest....very approachable......

What are your future career aspirations?
I just want to put out great music that inspires people, and that says, "Hay we are in this together, Im in this with you"... you know....... and make movies that feel the same way.....I remember this beautiful girl coming up to me at my last show, and she said to me "You just make me want to be better" --that’s what I want to do!

What is your favorite place to be in NYC?
Wow, another hard one, but I love ALL THEATRE in New York! I just go to plays whether I know anything about them or not! love it!

What is your favorite shop?
There are too many to pick just one, but I have to say, having an APPLE STORE be open for 24 hrs is the best!

What is your favorite drink?
Non-alcoholic would be orange and cranberry juice mixed...... Alcoholic would be a really nice Red Zinfandel!

What is your favorite restaurant?

What is your favorite NYC book?
I have to start by saying I love all things SEX AND THE CITY! But, Paul Auster is pretty cool too!

What is your favorite thing to do in NYC that you can do nowhere else?
Get good sushi at 4am! you gotta love that!

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
Underrated I think is the honesty and the Energy --Overrated is the thinking that New Yorkers have attitudes! I mean, we all do when necessary!

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
That I am such a "Country girl" at heart!

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?

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