Meet Roc Nation’s R&B sensation Nicole Bus! With a humble soul and beautiful voice, she graces every stage with expertise and nails every interview with grace. Nicole, who has a sound akin to some of her biggest influences (Sade, Bob Marley, and Lauryn Hill), hit the road on the “Let Love” tour with Common and garnered critical praises for her recent NPR Tiny desk performance. Additionally, she broke ground with her coming out single “You,” which held a #1 spot for five consecutive weeks on the Billboard chart, and added her to the legendary list of Roc Nation artists possessing a number one song on the charts. Needless to say, Nicole has made quite a splash since her 2018 debut with her label.
Recently, she released her debut album KAIROS, which adds to the dazzling list of accomplishments for the half-dutch and half-Curaçaose singer. Check out my recent conversation with this rising star!
LivengoodLivin: Hey, Nicole! Reading about your origins as a little girl coming from a small Holland village to now being a pillar of a legendary label such as Roc Nation inspires me to work harder and chase my dream! In your words, can you elaborate on your experience with the label and your incredible run of success to date?
Nicole Bus: Thank you for your kind words! Honestly, I take it day by day; it’s an amazing feeling to come from listening to Sade, Bob Marley, Lauryn Hill, and gospel music with my father to having charting singles such as “You” and “Mr. Big Shot.” Seeing your music having critical acclaim from critics and fans throughout the world made those weekends where I sang in my church choir and practice making beats on my keyboard all worth it. Practicing in my house trying to emulate Sade and Lauryn Hill to now tour with Common! Who would have thought? Overall, words can’t describe the feelings of joy I have in my heart currently towards everything that happened to me these past few years.
LL: Glad to hear about your happiness! It’s ironic you mentioned Sade and Lauryn Hill, that’s the similar vibe I got when I saw your recent NPR Tiny Desk performance. The way your voice synchronized smoothly with the band gave me chills, and you have your own twist on it, which made it stood out to me. Can you describe to me your perspective on the performance?
NB: Studying both of those amazing singers, the first thing that came to my mind is how to make the stage my own! While I love both of them so much, I added my own flavor onto the song by emulating the pure love I have through music, through the mic and letting it flow with the band instead of forcing it. In that moment, it was all about delivering a performance that hopefully resonates with viewers for years to come!
LL: Well, I think it will be talked about for many years to come. Along with the performance, “You” achieved the number one single on the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart for five straight weeks. How does it feel to see your music become so well received, and may I get a little background on the curation of the hit song?
NB: With the single “You,” it was all about being myself and showing my ethnic roots through my gift of singing. Being grateful for the opportunity I got when Needlz (Legendary producer) put me on his Instagram and labels discovered me; the need to make” You” special really lit a “creative fire” in me. With a sample from the Wu-Tang classic “C.R.E.A.M,” I had to add the Nicole twist to it that really makes it pop! Adding a bit of international flavor with Reggae into the song to make the beat simmer with listeners really helped breathe new life into the song.
The simple fact that Rick Ross remixed the song really warms my heart. The single touched so many lives, and I’m the most recent artist from Roc Nation to achieve a number one single. That really astounds me! Making lives better with the gifts I was blessed with keeps me going. “You” really gave me a blueprint for curating music that hopefully becomes the sunshine in people’s daily lives all over the world.
LL: Well, your positive mindset and voice defiantly shine brighter than the sun in my eyes! Another single I was curious about was “Mr. Big Shot,” where the Reggae really stood out. I love the video teaser I saw for it as well. Can you give a behind the scenes perspective on the overall experience of making the song and video?
NB: I felt my love for Bob Marley and Reggae growing up really stood out in the single. Being the leading track in my debut album KAIROS, I had to make the single special. Making the song, I thought to myself, “how do I get both women and men engaged in the song?” Adding the perspective of the man feeding into his ego throughout the song while singing from the side of the woman gives listeners both sides of the story.
The best stories, to me, are told from the narrative of both the “good” and “bad,” and writing “Mr. Big Shot” from that perspective gave me life in making the song lively. Adding drums and instruments to complement the production to the song, to me, makes it more livelier and engaging to listen to. I’m glad my vision is similar to fans throughout the world because of the praise the song is getting. Hopefully, the video is as well received.
Recently coming up with concepts for the music video, I wanted to inject my artistic nature into it. The art you see in the teaser trailer comes from the type of aesthetics I love to see and curate, so I hope viewers enjoy the video as much as I loved making it. Along with my new album, the process of creating everything has been amazing. I can’t wait to share it with the world.
LL: Yes! I can’t wait as well, at least in the meantime, you’re an opener for Common’s “Let Love Tour,” which must be an incredible feeling! How has the feeling been sharing the stage with a legend like him and the fact that he is a fan of your sound?
NB: Common’s music always appeared on my daily rotation, naturally growing up to the artists I listened to. The way he writes his music is genius and timeless, so it’s refreshing and heartwarming to hear him give my music praise. I still can’t believe he reached out to me to be an opener for him! It was just yesterday I was playing his music as a kid.
Seeing how he prepares and goes about his process brings out the inner student in me. Like the days when I was back in high school and studying at the Conservatory Of Amsterdam. I had to focus in on everything he does and apply it to my daily process to improve my overall results. Also, gaining new fans with every performance adds icing to the cake!
With talent and soul like that, Nicole Bus Shines With KAIROS
Speaking with Nicole, it built heavy anticipation for her LP, KAIROS, which is co-executive produced and co-produced by Bus and multi-platinum producer Needlz [Drake, Cardi B, Bruno Mars]. Of the album title, Bus noted: KAIROS is the Greek word for “appointed time.” She continues, “Everything is coming together at the right time.”
Composed of 14 tracks, KAIROS propels Bus into another level of artistry. With all of her momentum, tune into the album with Singersroom to see the reason behind the hype.