Born to Chilean and Peruvian parents and based in Brooklyn -- though Washington, D.C. is his hometown -- Nick Hakim arrived in 2014 as a purposefully raw and refined balladeer with an old soul. Prior to his breakout year, he appeared on Gizmo's Red Balloon album beside the likes of Gwen Bunn and Casey Benjamin, but 2014 was when he released a pair of warmly received EPs. The predominantly acoustic Where Will We Go, Pt. 1 (July) and Where Will We Go, Pt. 2 (September) pitched him somewhere between Jeff Buckley and Anthony Hamilton, albeit in a strictly low-key, singularly intimate fashion. Hakim steadily grew a fan base through his performances, including stints opening for Maxwell and King. Green Twins, his debut album, was made over the course of three years and released on the ATO label in 2017. ~ Andy Kellman
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 19, 2017 | ATO Records
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First of all, that voice. Anything but refined, Nick Hakim's singing is cloaked in a kind of otherness. A distant song, as if from another galaxy: the American who grew up in Washington before casting anchor in Brooklyn unfurls around her a diaphanous soul. And it certainly is soul that lies at the heart of her magnificent first album Green Twins. It is as if Nick Hakim had resuscitated Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield, but taking care to make them over a little, with a dash of folk here, or a blush of pop there. Through the melody there runs here an unexpected rhythm or there a surprising instrument: her musical imagination is vast enough to take in South American music she heard at home (her mother is Chilean and her father is Peruvian), or hip-hop from her teenage years... On Roller Skates, a deliberately rickety drum-machine backs up a piercing guitar, itself sickly-sounding, while Nicky Hakim's voice, in a halo of reverb, transforms the song into a waking dream. Every melody on Green Twins is bathed in a softness (never blandness) that reinforces the music's dreamlike quality. Because even if Hakim's voice could thrill fans of Curtis Harding, Cody Chesnutt, Roland Gift and Bilal, the music here is all very much her own, so much so that one wonders if she has in fact invented the gospel music of the third millennium. To be sure, this is the most spellbinding Qobuzissime of the year. © MZ/Qobuz
Alternative & Indie - Released April 3, 2017 | ATO Records
Although he studied at Berklee College of Music and might come across as a young gun, Nick Hakim can be described as a somewhat diffident late bloomer. The singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist didn't plant his first foot forward as a musician until he was out of his teens. Within a few years, however, his first two EPs were in circulation, attracting listeners with uniquely old-soul ballads that were intimate yet mysterious. Hakim also opened for Maxwell and King and signed a deal with ATO, home to Alabama Shakes and Chicano Batman. He took his time with Green Twins, a full-length recorded over the course of three years. As a consequence, the songs sound more deliberate and defined compared to the EP material, which sometimes drifted to a point of near dissolution. Hakim still sounds inspired primarily by dazed, genre-blurring studio creations recorded no later than the mid-'70s -- psychedelic soul and funk, the works of slightly eccentric singer/songwriters -- or those who have either sampled or emulated them. Liberal reverb and relatively subtle sonic tricks are used for intensifying emotive sentiments and lending a wraith-like quality to Hakim's voice -- his achingly sweet leads and untethered howling backgrounds -- and his bristly guitar. Most of the songs evoke some combination of obsession, rapture, gratitude, and anguish. The whirling title track, spaced-out "Bet She Looks Like You," and easy rolling "Cuffed," all exemplary, indicate the profound effect of a committed relationship. The impact is conveyed in open-hearted lines like "I admit -- inside me lives fear," "If there's a god, I wonder what she looks like/I bet she looks like you," and "She taught me to make love with patience." The album's potent mix of soul-searching lyrics and spaced-out sonics lends itself to deep thought and accompanied stargazing. ~ Andy Kellman
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