Nicholas Howard

Nicholas Howard

 New York City, New York, USA
BandPopSinger/Songwriter

New York City Soul that sounds like Lennon and Gnarls Barkley jamming in a smoky jazz club.

Recently showcased, independently, at 2012 NACA West and booked 10 schools in 2013 Winter semester.

Nominated twice for Independent Music Awards for "R&B Album of the Year".

Biography

Nicholas Howard's music, if you have to give it a label, might be called Urban Soul. Urban, because he's New York through and through, grew up in Queens. And Soul, because his music comes from that place where we all live, whether it's New York City or Podunk, Nowhere. His music is different from what you've heard before, and yet, because it comes from a soulful place, once you've heard his music, you'll recognize it as your music, too.

His sound is not the same sound repeated with minor variation in song after song. Of the ten tunes in his new CD, no two sound alike. His grooves swing easily from bluesy ("Blood from a Stone") to socially aware ("Mother"), from lust-filled ("Scotch on Her Lips") to philosophical ("Life Is a Mystery"), from politically savvy ("Carnival") to shake-your-hips Latin ("My Hands Are Rough"). And the title track ("God Is in the City") swings gracefully between the sacred and the profane, doing beautiful justice to them both, while giving way to neither.

Nicholas grew up with the best of both worlds, the neighborhood streets of Queens, and in the household, a pair of artist-type parents (mother a modern dancer, father a writer) who introduced him to Bach and Billy Holiday, and everything in between. As Nicholas put it, "My influences? Everything and nothing. Life is my biggest influence. Hip-hop, rock, blues, jazz, salsa, Bachata, middle eastern, a little country, a good subway performer, a guy playing the buckets with his boyz. Any music that has the power to move me."

The singer-songwriter-arranger-producer-engineer was born in LA but grew up in the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in New York City. By age ten he was trying his hand at hip-hop rhymes, and making his own beats. After squirming through high school in downtown Manhattan he went south to Florida to earn a degree in audio engineering, building a solid base for later musical production. After graduation he landed a job at the bottom-of-the-heap at top-flight Right Track Studio off Times Square. Before he left, he was in the control room for projects that featured some of hip-hop's and finest, including the Neptunes, Fabolous, Joe Budden and Nas.

But the creative bug had bitten and there was nothing that would satisfy but putting out his own music. He took on the challenge and founded his own independent music company, Belief & Hustle Records. Teaming up with co-producer Rocky Grisez, he launched his first album, A Rip in the Sky. The chorus of the opening track defined the album and his own destiny: "Miss Music, you've got my soul."

The new CD, God Is in the City, is Nicholas' ode to the city that inspires him. He explains, "To me New York is a blessed place, because it's a place where people put themselves in the toughest situation possible in order to realize their dreams." In his CD's Thank-You's Nicholas ends with these words: "To the streets of NYC that have influenced me and my music, I say thank you for all your inspiring attributes and the honesty and integrity you hold within your concrete shell. This album is made in your name."

Lyrics

Miss Music

Written By: Nick Howard

I’ve seen some hardened roads
But yours has got to be the toughest
I’ve been watching long
Can you believe the game they’re playing
Your father Rhythm and sister Melody keep saying
It’s hard to grasp Nick
And sad but true that

(Chorus)
You
Got nobody to love you
And I
Can’t leave you alone
Ms Music you’ve got my soul

What’s it gonna be
Take my hand and lead the way dear
Don’t give up hope
I know I can do it baby
I’ma make you proud
With every step I’ll push away fear
And feed the hungry
What we’ve been missing

(B section)
Oh how they do you wrong
How they bend your shape
To fit their gain without a care
And no I can’t mistake
When I hear their songs
It sounds just like you weren’t there
To be
A part
Of them
No No
Cuz

(Chorus)

If the heavens open today
I would sing your praise
With the voice that you gave me and
When we speak I’m put in a daze
Oh I think you’re beautiful
You’re Beautiful
So if the world had something to say
I’d remind the faithless of the times that you saved me
And with your followers I’d play
To show you’re beautiful
You’re beautiful

(B section)

(Chorus)

Look Up

Written By: Nick Howard

Looking at you
Makes me wanna lose
And throw everything away
Just can’t love myself
Enough to see
Past your warm embrace
Insecurities in my own heart
Allow me to escape into you
From the start
I’ve had to fix the old me
I’d much rather be the new

(Chorus)
Look Up, Look Up
And Love yourself

When I know I’m right
And say I’m wrong
I swallow my heart in a beat
Just to keep you here
Close to me
If only for another week
I can’t see you gone
Don’t know who I’d be
Back to the door lonely and free
From your clutch
I can’t stay away girl
You gotta hold on me

(B section)
Played too long
I wanna fold
Innocence gone and I’m out of control
People around with not much to say
If I wanna new soul
It’s up to me

(Chorus)

I’ve lost my friends and
Got too much to mend now
There’s little to salvage
All and all and all
Compromising
It’s too late for that too
What I gotta do babe is
Get rid of you

(B section)

(Chorus)

Through the Phone

Written By: Nick Howard

Sitting home, all alone
Ain’t the way it’s supposed to be
Dial a friend, seven numbers
Might take me to ecstasy
Got me feening, so much I’d swallow my pride (yeah)
Cuz through the phone, I hear that voice that drives me wild

(Chorus)
Oooo ooo
I’m really hoping that you will
Swing my way and make a stop
If you can’t come and chill then keep talking to me
Cuz through the phone girl you’re making hot

So now you’re saying, keep you company
While you get ready lover
That’s not a problem, I’m right here so
Go on and get yourself changed
Cuz every word is, so fine I wish they’d rewind
Cuz through the phone
I’m having so much fun you could take your time

(Bridge)
Your voice does things (does things)
That make me wanna scream
Your voice does things (does things)
That got me going, going crazy
Your voice does things (does things)
That make me wanna touch you baby
Your voice does things (does things)
Hey

(Chorus)

Through the phone
It ain’t a question, I’ll be ripe and ready for you
Through the phone
Let’s get a session, I’ll show you how it feels
Through the phone
What a feeling, the stage is set for us two
Get off the phone
Girl come over, let’s seal the deal

(Bridge)

(Chorus)

So much Left to Say

Written By: Nicholas Howard

There’s so much left to say,
Sitting here in my room.
These angry hands are trembling,
And you won’t be back soon.
There’s so much left to say,
And neither of us are in the mood,
But if we don’t speak our words,
We’ll both be dealing with someone new.

Every time we push and pull,
We each never really understand.
And you say what you say
Like you’re talking to a different man.
So since you’re acting like all is said and done –
It’s been fun.

Girl, wait. Don’t walk out.
That ain’t gonna solve a thing.
If you stay we just might, maybe,
See what the truth will bring.
But I can see in your eyes like setting suns,
It won’t come.

Gonna be just myself again, yeah.
Gonna be all alone in my own space.
But to see you walk through that door,
It would mean everything, everything, babe.

Blood From a Stone

Written By: Nicholas Howard

Where I’ve got to be
Is someplace by myself.
I know it – it’s way too hard to breathe.
And you won’t understand
When I say that I can’t be friends.
Only one way we won’t come to an end
Is if you –

Squeeze blood from a stone.
Go ahead and squeeze blood from a stone, woman.
If you can’t do that, don’t come back no more.
No more, no more.

You say you’re still in love with me,
Cuz you can’t swallow your pride.
Believe it – I’m way too used to free,
So you can’t sway these thoughts
That I’m having about you now.
You should’ve kept your mouth shut
And just took that bow,
Or tried to . . . .

I could show you the road.
Since you don’t know where you’re goin’.
I could show you the road now, honey.
It costs me nothing.

Life is a Mystery

Written By: Nicholas Howard

Hey, this life is a mystery
And full up with misery.
Leave or stay,
There’re always things from which you’ll want to get away.
Still deciding where to go?
Look around, man, no one knows.

Hey, this life is a mystery.
Your chance’s just as good as his will be.
Step outside, it just might be your time to die.
Make your plans but who’s to say
You’ll stick around another day.

Hey, this life is a mystery.
Makes me want to learn from our histories.
But books are so damn skewed,
It’s hard to really tell if what they’re saying is true.
Yes, it’s nice to know the past,
But watch out for the future, coming fast.

Hey, this life is a mystery.
And what you see so vividly
May be fake or real.
When you can’t trust your eyes
You have to go on feel.
Read the words that your soul spells.
If you don’t then no one will.

So your life’s that bad, huh?
Your life’s not that bad.
It’s just a mystery.

Mother

Written By: Nicholas Howard

Mother, we’ve done you wrong.
And this world is so cold that I’m not sure we’ll find the sun.
Mother, we’ve done you wrong.
It’s time to make a change before our days are done.

We’ve got a hold on your lifeline
With warmth that doesn’t soothe,
Leaving traces that will taint you for all time.
And though our lives depend upon you,
We’ll poison just the same,
Until your untaught children all forget your name.

And, with our eyes so blinded by what we want and need,
We’ll let the green that doesn’t matter train our sight.
When what we should be looking out for is right here underfoot
And smiles down from overhead, if we’d just look.

And, as hard as it is to reach,
I know there’s heaven over me,
If we could only make this earth so pure.
And, as much as there is to teach,
There’ll be more for us to grieve,
If we don’t start somewhere, then do some more.

She loves us all faithfully.
So get your soul on track.
She’s waiting for, patiently,
The day we love her back.

God is in the City

Written By: Nicholas Howard

This concrete is heavy with the pain
Of a million stories told that all end up the same.
Work until you’re old but can’t account for a gain,
With nothing to show but a broken frame.
Why then would we all want to wager
Our lives for our dreams when there’re ways to be safer,
To live our lives clean and just wait for the maker?
I’d say it’s cuz –

God is in the city.
Since God is in the city
We’re all wanting to go.

People say it’s a fantasy
To realize your true self, unlocked with the key.
But you don’t need those fools’ help.
Take it from me.
They’ve left their souls on the shelf and stopped trying to be free.

This town is blessed.
There’s no more I can say.
And even though the streets are gonna test you all day,
You gotta hold your chest up, come what may.
And remember that ….

Won’t have my ambitions tamed.
Instead I’ll just go, go, go,
Down the road towards those city lights.
I got a date with Fate that I can’t change.

Waiting for Yesterday

Written By: Nicholas Howard

Let off a mayday
I don’t believe for a minute ya’ll
They’re up to something
War’s only starting the truly wrong
Power and greed have got those
Lives cheap up on the shelf
Line up and ask no questions
Unless it’s how can we help
Ten Hut and move out
Life can be much better ya’ll

(Chorus)
They keep saying that a change
Is gonna come soon but as for me
I’ll be waiting for yesterday
And oh the times we’re in are in neec
And waiting for yesterday

And while that strange soil
Is sifting through their selfish toes
We’ve got our own problems
At home where they matter most
Leaving our children hungry
Growing up to blame themselves
Cities is underwater
People in charge are somewhere else
Love hasn’t made it
It’s clear what path their conscience chose

(Chorus)

Yesterday is
Not just a saying but something
That was that could come to be
Yesterday is
Just afraid there’s not enough
Of us to care to believe
Yesterday is, Yesterday is
Just the same but more than a dream
Yesterday is, Yesterday is
Within our reach and feels so right now

(Chorus)

Curious Creature

Written By: Nicholas Howard

Man going to Mars, don’t need to travel that far to find the most curious Creature
She’s much closer than that, and she’ll change your mind
But if you go, return with the moon and the stars to match her glorious features
But take care you don’t fall flat as you approach her design

She’ll take all that you have and leave you wondering
Why you didn’t have that much more to give
You’ll gladly part with all your little something’s
To comfortably in her shadow live

Man going Mars don’t need to travel that far to find the most Curious Creature
She’s much closer than that, and she’s GOT you now.
If you leave and I’m sure you’ll try, you’ll find out fast, that you really do need her,
And even if you wanted to live, you’ve forgotten how

Your favorite song on the radio is playing.
But all you see is her face in the sound.
Those lonely lips are worse off when it’s raining,
But at least your tears are hidden as they trickle down.

Man Just go to Mars, tomorrow there’ll be another Curious Creature
But this one’s moved on from you, believe it or not.
If you try and I’m sure you will, Please understand, ain’t nothing could lead her
Into thinking that you’re better, than her new astronaut

Girl though you look like me, there’s something strange
In you heart in the back of your brain
And though I’ve tried to put my finger on
All my assumptions about you have been wrong!

Hello Lover

Written By: Nicholas Howard

Hello Lover, been a while.
What is that, different way you look at me now?
Oh our memories are beautifully wild
But Couldn't tell it from your awkward smile

Tell me Lover, how you been?
I've been worn, battle scarred, fighting my heart.
What'chu mean you're so happy with him?
Guess our love didn't leave a mark

So if you see me,
Hanging on the past too long.
Or angry that I'm all alone
Please remind me that Life goes on.

Hello Lover, speak the truth!
If I'da stayed by your side, would we have survived?
Oh forget that new man in your room,
And make up a gorgeous lie.

Tell me Lover, is this the end?
The last time we meet as friends?
If you don't mind, I'll just sit here and pretend,
like we just began again.

So if you see me,
Hanging on the past too long.
Or angry that I'm all alone
Please remind me that Life goes on.

So if you see me,
Hanging on the past too long.
Or angry that I'm all alone
Please remind me that Life goes on.

Discography

"The Living Room Sessions" released May 2012.

"God Is In The City" - Full Length LP released April 2009
Played on numerous podcasts and internet radio shows. Reviews in "press" section

"A Rip In The Sky" - Full length LP released 2006
Played on over 200 college radio stations across the US

Set List

Typical set list will include:

Songs from "A Rip in the Sky", "God is in the City" and newer unreleased material.

It can be a 30 minute set all the way up to an hour and fifteen set, depending on the venue. It can also be solo piano and voice or with band depending on the gig.

A few covers may be thrown in for good measure. They will mainly stay in the soul category. Bill Withers, Al Green, and possibly, the occasional Jazz Standard.