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Singing on the Underground

Nicolah Hogg is a Tottenham based singer song writer, performing under the name NICOLAH. Nicolah began by busking on the London Underground, then her first single "Flow" won the Mayor of London GIGS Songwriting Prize taking her to play at Glastonbury 2017. Since then she's received support & multiple airplay with BBC Introducing, including recording a live session for it August this year. Rachel Ho caught up with Nicolah ahead over her latest single "Waiting on You" being released this Friday, 21st December.

Photo supplied: NICOLAH

Where did you grow up and what did your parents do? 

I grew up near the Lake District in a town called Barrow-in-Furness. My Mum worked as a PA in the NHS and my Dad looked after me and did a variety part-time jobs.

What is your relationship to Tottenham?

I moved to Tottenham 4 years ago. Since then I’ve acquired a love for Tottenham and I’m proud to say I live here.  

Photo from Facebook: NICOLAH recording for BBC Introducing

Tell us about your music and how you got into it.

My love for music began at home, my Dad had an interest in recording, my Mum played the piano so there was physical opportunity for me to try out. They encouraged me and let me take opportunities to learn. I learnt a lot playing in Church, leading a congregation and the power of simplicity in melody.  And then through college and university, moving down to London and playing in bands I developed a keen interested in arrangement and a deeper connection and command of melody & lyrics.  

Once I started busking on the London Underground in 2015, I realised I could make enough to survive so I quit my other jobs and now I’m an independent artist releasing my next single ‘Waiting on You’ on 21/12/18, which you can pre save here:

Photo from Twitter: NICOLAH busking

How does being a women influence your music?

Being a women naturally influences the way I write. My outlook, I mean everything about me is influenced by who & what I am, my geography, faith, sexuality, class, race, gender and history. It dictates what I’m drawn to, what stories I chose to highlight, what visuals I choose to use & what music I choose to play.

Because I’m a women maybe I’m more passionate about, female visibility, women’s rights and female empowerment because I feel a personal connection to these issues.

As a woman, how do you think Tottenham has changed? What would you like to see change?

I feel like there’s been an increase in activity in the last few years. The visibility of local entrepreneurs’ with media outlets like Discovering Tottenham & Women in Tottenham. The development of venues like Bernie Grants, Five Miles, Craving Coffee, Blighty and community events like Tottenham Green Market & Tottenham Creates festival.

Photo supplied: NICOLAH

I think Tottenham has a good mix of cultures, creatives, small business, transport links, lots of green space, canal boats & students.  I hope as Tottenham develops it retains it’s history and culture and doesn’t just become another gentrified area with copycat modern flats.

I would like to see more events like Tottenham Creates festival, encouraging creativity,  keeping people & money in the area. I’m passionate about creativity for positive social change. I volunteer at Spotlight in Poplar, working with young people to develop their musical and lyrical ideas into more complete songs. I’d love to see something like that in Tottenham.

Favourite thing to do in Tottenham?

A chilled Friday evening at Tottenham Social  

A Sunday breakfast at Blighty.

A wander round Tottenham Green market.

A walk along the canal up to the Marshes or around Markfield Park.

Anything you would like to add?

NEW single ‘Waiting on You’ comes out this Friday 21st December!

Find out more about NICOLAH

Photo supplied: NICOLAH

#womeninmusic #womenmusicians #womenperformers #independentartist #busking #singersongwriter


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