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Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE
Band Pop Jam


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"Nikhil Korula Band: Eclectic jam band with uplifting results."

Nikhil Korula Band
House of Blues
West Hollywood

Contact: Hotline, 213-445-5542;


The Players:Nikhil Korula, guitar, lead vocals; Anthony King, leadguitar, backup vocals; Leo Nobre, bass; Adam Gust, drums; Dan Boissy, alto, tenor and soprano saxophone; Jack Lees, percussion.

Material: Skillfully delivering a rich blend of rock, reggae, funk and calypso, the Nikhil Korula Band are guaranteed to liberate your inner dancing child. A cross bet-ween the Dave Matthews Band and the memorable L.A. funk band the Boxing Gandhis, this seven piece also throw an occasional nod to the likes of Van Morrison, Paul Simon and the Counting Crows. Writing mature lyrics with a spiritual overtone, the band’s songwriter, Korula, views a painful world through an uplifting and life-affirming lens.

Musicianship: A former opera singer, frontman Korula offers an expressive, well-trained vocal performance that exudes sincerity. His band mates, all veteran musicians playing at a pro level, make for a high-caliber display of talent. Together, they comprise a jam band extraordinaire with the ability to take the crowd to euphoric levels.

Performance: The NK Band never lost their stamina, even in their longest stretches of instrumental reveries. In a set that approached two hours, these superb players maintained their level of play throughout. Frontman Korula, an extremely charismatic performer, made an impressive connection with the audience.

Summary: More than just a collection of songs, this performance was a profound statement that reminded the audience that there is power in music. By dedicating songs to family members, as well as others, Nikhil Korula made a public concert personal, and brought everyone into his world. That sort of intimacy made this outing memorable.

-Lisa Elaine Scott - Music Connection Magazine



When Nikhil Korula starts talking about making music, you can hear the passion in his voice. The singer/songwriter of the aptly named Nikhil Korula Band obviously loves what he does—which in his case, means mixing part Dave Matthews guitar licks and sax solos alongside world-music beats. It’s a long way from his roots as an opera singer. Korula used to sing with Placido Domingo, before he was introduced to guitar-based music in college—and subsequently learned about African music from a trip to Johannesburg and Kenya. “It’s where life began, and where life will end,” he says of his Africa trip. “That whole continent is so rich in culture and beauty, and it’s suffering right now. It’s such a dichotomy to see that.” Korula’s new album, The Way Things Work, displays the six-piece’s own western/tribal dichotomy, but Korula knows that his fans are won over by their shows. “When you’re recording, you don’t get that contact with people,” he says. “But when you’re playing live, you look out in the audience and you see so many different kinds of people. That’s the most unifying thing about what we’re doing.” Jeff Miller - Relix Magazine

"Nikhil Korula Band: A Bit of Everything"

One of the biggest complaints of college students living in dorms is how much they hate their roommate's music. Whether it's the guy who plays Garth Brooks all day, the punk who endlessly blasts the Clash or the girl who swears she's Britney Spears, most people won't agree on one genre of music.

But then there's the Nikhil Korula Band. Blending calypso, African, blues and rock into a sound that works surprisingly well, the seven-member band is hitting Southern California with a new style that everybody can enjoy.

"In one phrase, it's music that makes your soul groove," said Nikhil Korula, USC alumnus and front man for the band. "It's music for the people."

And people have been listening. The catchy, upbeat rhythms combined with Korula's smooth voice have sold out venues throughout Los Angeles. With the 2003 release of Nikhil, the band's five-song debut EP, the fan base has expanded from college-aged to middle-aged and beyond.

The EP opens with "Love Will Make Your Day," a tune that will surely make you dance. Korula's voice is similar to that of John Mayer or Dave Matthews, but the way it soars seamlessly through the notes is distinctively his own. The instrumentals add a poppy, reggae sound to the song and the guitar solo is repeat button-worthy.

The CD then slows down with "Freedom" and "When I Look in Her Eyes." While the sound of the harmonica rules the former, the lyrics are most noticeable in the latter song.

Korula's crooning about a woman who "captures my soul and keeps my heart waiting ... she leaves me no chance to try to surrender" makes it the perfect song to set the mood for any couple.

The final two songs are also about falling in love and Korula's voice again adds the perfect smoothness to the lyrics, reassuring the listener that indeed, "everything is going to be all right."

Korula's distinctive voice comes from a solid background in music. He came to USC to study vocal arts and to sing opera, but his roommates introduced him to the worlds of jazz, reggae and funk. Korula met bassist Ethan Phillips while at USC. Phillips was in a band called the Jazz Poets with guitarist Anthony King and drummer Lorca Hart at the time
King and Korula started performing as a duo, and current band members Phillips, Hart and saxophonist Dan Boissy later joined the pair. The addition of Jack Lees on percussion was the final piece to the Nikhil Korula Band puzzle.

Just as the band has grown and changed, Korula said the style of their music is constantly progressing as well. "I think I'll always make some kind of music that you can dance to," he said, "but the possibilities are endless."

Korula attributed the unique sound of the band to the combination of its members. With backgrounds in jazz, blues, hip-hop and swing, the musicians blend many different genres together, which results in the unusual harmony of sounds that is becoming their trademark.

Also distinctive about the music is the overwhelmingly positive message of the songs. Korula, who writes all the songs performed by the band, attributed this to his desire to bring some happiness to people overwhelmed by the violence and hate pervading society.

"No matter who you are, you feel somewhat alive when you dance," he said. "When people dance, you see that child in them. It's like, you're dancing, I'm dancing, we're all free at this one moment in time."
- Daily Trojan (USC Newspaper)


Blending the sounds of calypso, rock, reggae, funk, African and Latin, the Nikhil Korula Band combines the best of what the world has to offer for an unstoppable beat.

Veteran jazz musicians fronted by a former opera singer, the Nikhil Korula Band infuses extraordinary musicianship with irresistible dance jams -- a combination that has sold out venues across Los Angeles, including the House of Blues, Temple Bar, Knitting Factory and the Viper Room.

A University of Southern California dorm room was the incubator for this unique sound. Frontman Nikhil Korula was destined to be an opera singer until he was thrown into living quarters with classmates at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music who slowly coaxed him to the “other side” with the lure of a guitar and the mind-blowing creativity that comes with it.

Born in St. John’s Newfoundland, Nikhil Korula has lived in Arcadia, California, since 1983. He was the youngest founding member of the Los Angeles Children’s chorus and has lent his glorious, dulcet tones to Luther Vandross, Plácido Domingo, Barry Manilow and even a performance at the Grammys by Mike and the Mechanics. His musical tastes are also heavily influenced by his extensive traveling across the world.

“I’ve done so much traveling in my life and I think there was a reason for it. I found something in every country. Wherever I traveled, I found something that made me groove,” said Nikhil Korula

But he says it was at the 1996 Horde Festival, featuring Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler, and Rusted Root, when the direction of his musical aspirations became clear. “I remember being in high school thinking, I can do that.”

In 1997, Nikhil Korula met Ethan Phillips at USC and was soon introduced to the bass player’s band mates in a group called the Jazz Poets, which included guitarist Anthony King and drummer Lorca Hart. In a time of dreary, post-grunge singers, Nikhil Korula’s powerful, resonant voice immediately caught King’s attention and the first incarnation of the band was born, as an acoustic duo.

King, who cites Pink Floyd’s David Gilmore as one of his biggest influences, has lent his licks to blues singer Martha Davis and hip hop band the Nappy Roots, among others. There was immediate chemistry between King and Nikhil, which set the groundwork for the musical journey ahead. The pair did acoustic sets across Los Angeles but it became more and more apparent they needed to grow, and slowly started integrating the other musicians in 2001.

“As soon as we started rehearsing it was just immediate chemistry within the sound, the vibe and everything,” said Nikhil Korula.

The timing was perfect. While inspired by the challenge and freedom of jazz, Phillips, Hart and saxophonist Dan Boissy were ready to move away from their musical roots, yearning for an audience that would be on their feet dancing, not quietly admiring from afar with a martini in hand.

“I like the energy of the crowd, when the crowd is into it and people are dancing or just feeling it and singing along. When you touch somebody or somebody’s bootie is moving to your bass line, that’s it. That’s what it’s about right there,” said Phillips.

Hart has played with jazz greats from Bennie Maupin to Alex Acuña and in exotic locales such as the islands of Guam and Saipan, but says nothing beats playing with Nikhil Korula.

“We haven’t reached even a small amount of our potential yet,” said Hart.

Boissy, who previously toured with a swing band, watched the band longingly from a distance then slowly worked his way on stage. Jack Lees was added on percussion to propel the beat in 2003. Nearly 100 people attended their first show as a full band, a performance that blew everyone away, even the band members themselves.

“The energy was just off the hook from the beginning, just the looks on people’s faces was incredible,” says Nikhil.

“My favorite moments as a player are those times when you feel like everyone's ego is gone and it's all about making beautiful music,” said Boissy

The Nikhil Korula Band is comprised of Nikhil Korula (singer/rhythm guitar), Anthony King (lead guitar), Ethan Phillips (bass), Lorca Hart (drums), Dan Boissy (saxophone), and Jack Lees (percussion). - WORLD MUSIC CENTRAL

"Album Reviews"

An irresistible life force glows from this disc by a band that manages to infuse its pop songs with a heavy helping of various eithnic/world sounds such as reggae, calypso, Latin, African and more. Best of all is the act's Van Morrison/Dave Matthews influenced vocals. There's the life affirming "Lift Your Head," the bright and buoyant "Sunrise," as well as the poignant "Walk on Water." The songs are long, but consistently appealing. - Music Connection Magazine

"A Taste of Africa and lots more"

A taste of Africa and lots more

Think of the Nikhil Korula Band as the rainbow snow cone of the local rock scene: plenty of flavors, all adding up to something cool and sweet. Afro-beats, Latin grooves, calypso, jazz — the six-piece group jam-bands them all together in a manner that leaves its growing audience dancing.

"I think the turning point for me was visiting Africa in 1999," says Korula, the vocalist who studied classical music at USC and surrounded himself with players who have a strong jazz background. "There was so much rhythm, energy and harmony to African music, I really felt at home.

"With this band we focused on building a big sound where the instruments don't step on each other, but complement each other to form something special."

Fans who've streamed to the NK Band's recent shows at the House of Blues (where they play Monday) seem to agree. "It's definitely feel-good music," Korula says. "Life is tough enough as it is, but when people come out, they want to dance with us."

Korula formed his own label, Groove Infinity, to release this year's album, "The Way Things Work." He and bandmates Anthony King, Leo Nobre, Dan Boissy, Adam Gust and Jack Lees recently had a label showcase, but Korula knows his band's style might be a tough fit. "Labels want to package you," he notes, "and we're definitely a band that takes a lot of risks." - LA TIMES







Recent Singles (airplay on 45 stations in 25 states) - "I'll Stand Alone, "Music Of The New Day," "A Song For L.A." (played at Staples Center for Lakers, Clippers & Kings) & "Harmony"

Past Singles - "Love Will Make Your Day," "If I Could," "Cool," "Sunrise," "Truth," "So High," "The Way Things Work," "Stay For A While," "Tonight"



"Music that makes your soul groove..."

Blending the sounds of calypso, rock, reggae, African and Latin grooves, the Nikhil Korula Band has been gathering worldwide attention one fan at a time. From their diverse backgrounds and musical influences, this unique sextet infuses extraordinary musicianship with irresistible dance jams, a combination that has been selling out such iconic venues as the House of Blues, Apollo Theater, Viper Room & The Roxy. Due to its ever-increasing fan following, this vibrant musical act has traveled all over the world playing festivals like Bonnaroo & Summerfest, performing on college campuses and jamming at clubs, both big and small. In the 9 years they have been together, the NK Band has been honored to play with some of today’s most accomplished performers as John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Ben Harper, Los Lonely Boys, Tim Reynolds, Dave Matthews Band, O.A.R, Page McConnell of PHISH, Colin Hay (Men At Work), Rusted Root, Colbie Caillat, Les Claypool, Sara Bareilles, Erykah Badu, The Roots and many more. At the time of their inception, a few band members even played in a tribute concert for rock legend Carlos Santana, featuring Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.

Classically trained in voice from the age of 5, founding frontman Nikhil Korula lent his dulcet tones to sing with the likes of opera giants such as Placido Domingo and pop stars Barry Manilow and the late Luther Vandross and even sang for one of Danny Elfman’s film scores in addition to performing at the 32nd Annual Grammy® Awards with Mike and the Mechanics. However, his creative talents drew him to the intense world of jazz and improvisation which led to his playing many acoustic sets throughout Los Angeles. This experience in turn helped him to collaborate with some of the city’s finest jazz musicians to form the Nikhil Korula Band (NK Band).

The music of the NK Band soars seamlessly across a world of influences, lifting listeners to a plane of joy and positivity. Through their electrifying concerts the band pushes musical boundaries with its improvisation, making each live performance unforgettable. As a result, the enthralled audience is left with a feeling they will never forget. In their first year of performing together, the band sold out of their debut EP, a 5 song CD that still makes waves on the college scene. This success propelled the NK Band to record a full-length album at Ocean Way Studios in Hollywood, following in the footsteps of incredible recording artists, Beck, Paul McCartney and Radiohead. The intricately crafted songs on their album, THE WAY THINGS WORK, underscore the band’s message of love, honor, peace and promise, most needed in our troubled time. In the short span of its existence, several NK Band tracks from their 2010 release, LIVE VIBES ("If I Could," "All Up To You," "Lift Your Head," "Livin’," "Sunrise" and "Love Will Make Your Day") have been played on AAA and college radio stations around the country and all over the world. In 2012, the Nikhil Korula Band released their finest album to date, MUSIC OF THE NEW DAY, by going back into the studio to record 15 new songs, all of which were recorded to analog tape and fueled with explosive performances and numerous special guests. With dedicated fans, exceptional live shows, and consistently remarkable songwriting, the Nikhil Korula Band continues to have a remarkable effect and amazing impact on audiences globally.

Band Members