Courtesy of Seth Kammueller
Nikki Lynette Courtesy of Seth Kammueller
This recording contains language that is not suitable for all audiences.
It's a new day and age for independent artists: A major record deal is no longer a prerequisite for a successful career. Few people understand this better than Nikki Lynette, a Chicago-based singer-songwriter and rapper. Even if you haven't heard the name, you may have heard her music — Lynette's voice can be heard in the tunes of television commercials for McDonald's, Secret deodorant and other well-known brands. Her music has been featured on MTV shows such as Jersey Shore and The Real World.
That's an impressive feat for someone without a big record deal. Lynette scored a licensing deal with MTV after placing second in the New Music Seminar Artists on the Verge competition hosted by Ourstage.com. And while it may be difficult to peg her music to one genre, Lynette's flexibility to sing and rap may explain why it's been well-received by many below the mainstream radar.
"A lot of people had a problem that I couldn't be easily put in a genre," Lynette says. "But one thing I think people have finally come to understand is that people these days don't only fit into one category anymore. We have friends from all over the world who are all different types of people. I call myself a laptop celebrity, because I do really well online with people that understand that the world is bigger than just where you're from and who you know. When the industry wasn't looking for me or didn't appreciate me, I had fans who did."
Lynette's latest mix tape, Roses N Guns, showcases her musical breadth. As evidenced by the title, she's been inspired by not only hip-hop and R&B but also classic rock.
"I listen to a lot of Guns N' Roses because I just enjoy singing old classic rock," she says. "Everybody I know tells me I was an old white dude in my past life, because that's the type of music I like to sing. That's what I'm into. I think my voice sounds great doing it."
Still, Lynette has a lot of untapped potential. She says she has other talents to explore further.
"I'm a visual artist," she says. "I design T-shirts and clothes. I sell them on my blog. The artwork on my EP is designed by me. Eventually, I would like to have a business, but I'm in no rush. I really want to build the music empire and then take over the world later."