Since the tender age of four, Nicole Garza (also known as "Nicki G") has transformed herself into a music machine. From Vegas to Chicago, she is on a path to rock the world only leaving behind the restless souls of fans begging for more. Whether she's singing, songwriting, arranging, producing, or performing she captures the eyes and ears of those around her. In 2005 Nicole released her debut album "Nicki G. Versatility," which quickly topped Broadjam charts. Singles such as "Wish I Knew" and "Caught You Looking" are only the beginning to a story that will continue to captivate the audiences of many generations to come. Her self-built band the "Oh Geez" takes the "v" in virtuoso and spins it like a top with their dexterous musicianship and outstanding stage presence.
Nicole released her breakthrough EP, Reinvented, in 2011, which was titled as such for the 2 songs "Wish I Knew" and "Call Me What U Want" rearrangements from her debut CD Versatility, as well as the reinvention of herself as an artist, songwriter, and producer. This EP consists of the 2 rearrangements and 5 new and powerful songs. This Cd was ranked in the Top 10 releases of 2011 in Chicagoland, and the Top 5 R&B releases worldwide! You can pick up your copy at nicolegarza.com, stream it on Spotify, or download it at most music retail stores including iTunes.
Nicole is determined to destroy barriers, and will stop at nothing to change a generation of music one note at a time. It's hard to find a time Nicole isn't behind the mic, as she plays both original and cover music, full band, and acoustic shows, approximating 200 shows a year countrywide. In the slower winter months, she enjoys working with adolescent singers who aspire to make their impact through the gift of music. If you haven't already done so, Nicole encourages you to check out the rest of her site at www.nicolegarza.com and attend a show.
Back-up for Kenny Loggins
Opening act for Jay Leno
Anthem for Chicago Bulls, White Sox, & Cubs
Super Bowl 2012
Sang for David Tutera "My Fair Wedding" Sings on new LIVE album
Cruisin' with HUEY LEWIS & THE NEWS,
WNBA's Chicago Sky,
NBA VIP party,
Back-up for LIVE Faith Hill Recording,,
US Dept. of Homeland Security,
After party for the Chicago Janet Jackson & LL COOL J concert!
Back-up for Jose Feliciano
NICKI G VERSATILITY VOTED TOP 10 LOCAL MUSIC 2005!!!
Nicole's condensed list of accomplishments are as follows: Recorded with Harry Maslin & Michele Maslin-Vice, Grand Prize winner & 4th in Hip Hop/R&B in the Madison Songwriter's Group Contest, Chart topping album titled Nicki G Versatility, 6th place in Wayne Brady's Hard Rock the House Talent Search, 4th in Chicago Idol, 3rd in the Yamaha Song Contest, Region Idol Runner-Up, Walter E. Smithe Commercial Winner, Rocktstar: Supernova Finalist, the ABC Music Project: The One finalist
Major Performances: Sang with Huey Lewis & the News, hired to sing back-up for Faith Hill, Janet Jackson LL Cool J after party band, Back-up vocalist for Faith Hill, Star Plaza Theatre, Taste of Chicago Pertrillo Band Shell, Auditorium Theatre, Athenaeum Theatre, Apollo Theatre, Daley Plaza, MGM Grand, Gary & Chicago Air Shows, FOX News, Navy Pier Skyline Stage, United Center, Green Dolphin Street, Arlington Racetrack, Toyota Park, UIC Pavillion, The Abbey Resort Lake Genvea, Cedar Rapids Country Club, Diversey Yacht Club, Anthem for Chi-Town Shooters.
With The Bangles back in action, here's some local women in music
By Tom Lounges Times Correspondent | Thursday, September 29, 2011
Schererville's Nicole Garza is leader of The Oh Geez, a nine-piece ensemble that performs and backs her up in the studio. "I am the sole writer in the group," said Garza. "I will bring them a piano arrangement and the band brings their own influences and arrangements to the table."
Garza's latest album of original songs, "Reinvented," came out in August and she co-produced it with Rick Barnes from Rax Trax Recording.
With deep roots in R&B, but still able to rock out, Garza describes her music as "commerical but eclectic." She adds, "I like to say it's soulful, funky, rock/R&B with world influences. It's very original." Her vocal influences include Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Kahn, Bette Midler and Shania Twain.
Garza has a special place in her heart for The Bangles too. "When my mother was in the hospital with leukemia, I was 6 years old and would sing The Bangles' 'Eternal Flame' to her," she said. "To this day, she can barely listen to the song all the way through. It's such an inspirational and beautiful song, so The Bangles had a huge impact on me and my family with that song."
Among Garza's accomplishments during her nearly eight-year career as a professional performer has been to sing the national anthem for most of the major Chicago sports teams; being selected to sing as one of Chicago's Top 10 female vocalists; and being invited on stage to sing with Huey Lewis & The News.
Garza also moonlights away from her original music project as the lead singer/frontwoman of the Chicago party rock group Maggie Speaks, which tours across the country.
"You need to have the three d's," she advised to young ladies wanting to pursue a musical career. "Those are diligence, determination and dignity. Attack your career with those three things and there is no failing."
LOCAL SCENE: Region singer Nicole Garza gets 'Reinvented'
By Tom Lounges Times Correspondent | Thursday, August 25, 2011
Nicole Garza is on a mission -- a mission to succeed as a singer and entertainer.
"There was never any doubt in my mind I would grow up to be a professional singer one day," said the Northwest Indiana native while preparing to release her second CD of original songs. "I once told my high school choir director, Mr. Michael Lewis, that I would sing the rest of my life, even if it means living in a cardboard box, because singing is what makes me happy."
Fortunately, Garza's accommodations have not suffered while in pursuit of her dream because she maintains a dual career.
"I'm currently lead singer for the groups Maggie Speaks and Spoken Four out of Chicago, both cover bands are part of Maggie Speaks Incorporated and we play approximately 200 shows a year," Garza said. "It's tons of fun and it's my bread and butter, but ultimately I'd like to make a living singing my own material."
She gets a little closer to that goal this weekend with the much anticipated release of her sophomore album, a 7-song original collection she calls "Reinvented."
To celebrate the completion of the project -- recorded at Rax Trax Studio in Lakeview, Ill., and co-produced by Garza and studio owner Rick Barnes -- Garza will perform the album on Sunday for an all-ages audience at Northwoods, 8101 Indianapolis Blvd., in St. John.
Things start at 6 p.m. with an opening set by singer/songwriter Jessica Lauren Jones, followed Garza, and then a closing set from The Robby Celestin Band.
"Reinvented" is an appropriate name for this collection of Garza-penned tunes, as it is far removed from Garza's debut CD ("Versatility") of six years ago, when she was just out of her teens and performing as simply Nicki G.
But even then, Garza showed enough promise that "Versatility" landed on my annual "Top 10 Regional Albums of 2005" list published in The Times.
"Back then, being Nicki G worked for me, as my biggest goal was to create a project that was commercial and radio-ready when hip-hop was the big thing," she said. "But the music on 'Reinvented' is in my opinion more sophisticated and resembles who I am today. I'm really proud of this project, these songs, and all the musicians who played on it."
Garza headlines Cinco de Mayo fiesta at Jalapenos's BY TOM LOUNGES
Times Correspondent | Saturday, May 02, 2009 |
The first time this columnist heard of Nicole Garza was when local sound engineer Joe Rega phoned about an amazing new singer. A week later, a similar phone call came from Jim Rubino of Rubino's Music.
Back then, Garza was billed as "Nicki G," which she soon dropped in favor of her full name. That was fortunate. Though she can do the urban sound wonderfully, Garza has much to offer. A hip-hop moniker might have pigeonholed her.
Though rich with soul and at home with R&B, Garza's powerful voice is versatile enough to sing the gamut of popular music. She is a little bit Kelly Clarkson, Rhianna and Pink rolled into one. She began singing at age 4, never stopped, and eventually earned a scholarship to Columbia College.
Years later, the Schererville 20something has justified everyone's early excitement. She has backed major stars like Faith Hill and Jose Feliciano; performed live at Horseshoe Casino with Huey Lewis, and entertained the likes of Janet Jackson and LL Cool J at private parties.
She also has performed at venues such as the Auditorium Theatre, UIC Pavilion and Taste Of Chicago. Her 2005 debut album, "Versatility," landed on this columnist's "Regional Top 10" list that year.
Backing Garza these days -- and tonight at Jalapenos' -- is her group, The Oh Geez.
"Normally, we are an 8-piece band, but for our stripped-down shows we scale back to a four-piece," said Garza. "It's me, Anthony Bracco on guitar, Garrett McGinn on bass, and Chris Paquette on percussion. But at Jalapenos' Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, we will instead be featuring Jesse Hernandez of TimePeace on percussion."
For tonight's performance Garza will tap into her Mexican-American heritage, spicing up her group's repertoire with Latin music.
"I've had my guys learn some new material specifically for this show and some of it will be sang by Jesse," she continued. "Some of these tunes include Santana and Selena covers."
To Tim from Walter E. Smithe:
Just a quick note to thank you for the fantastic promotion and anthem yesterday. While your comments were perfect, that might have been the best anthem of the year. Thanks again Tim
JBluck--Chicago CUBS Marketing and Promotion
Grayslake Review of World Class Noise featuring Nicki G
COPY AND PASTE link below http://www.worldclassnoise.com/Press_Kit/Grayslake.html
"There's a new R&B star on the rise, as 21-year-old singer Nicki G celebrated the release of her full-length debut CD, Versatility, with a free all ages concert last month at Andorra Banquet Hall. The event was a huge success."
~Tom Lounges/Editor, Midwest Beat Magazine
"Nicki G is the stage name of Schererville's 21-year-old Nicole Garza, former Lake Central choir member, cheerleader and member of the state and national championship title-holding Centralettes Dance Team who graduated in 2002 and recently released her debut album, Versatility.
The 10-song collection is a mix of upbeat R&B and ballads. It is available online at www.nicolegarza.com and at online music retail sites like www.CDBaby.com, www.BestBuy.com and www.Tower.com
Nicki will be a guest host with Tom Lounges and Freak and perform a handful of her songs live at the Rumble between bands.
"Having Nicki on this year's show gives ticket-buyers more bang for their buck. She is a rising talent from the region that they really need to know about," said Midwest BEAT Magazine publisher Tom Lounges.
"I used to sing stuff by Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and a lot of Bette Midler when I was growing up. Today my biggest inspiration is Stevie Wonder. He amazes me."
After honing her skills in the recording studio with producer Chris G (no relation), who has worked with the likes of TLC, Devanti (of Jodeci) and disco stalwarts, The S.O.S Band.
This summer Nicki G performed plenty of prestigious gigs the legendary Apollo Theatre; the Viva Chicago Festival in Grant Park; The Daley Plaza; and as part of a February FOX-TV News Special on hometown talent that included her as the only unsigned artist, alongside such established Windy City stars as Kayne West and R. Kelley, and staffers of Chicago's Icee Records and radio station, WGCI.
Don't miss this fast-rising star from the Hoosier heartland perform live at this year's Rumble!"
~Ernie Thomas, Midwest Beat Magazine~
"After speaking with Jim Rubino at the Wallace CD Release party last weekend, I remembered him telling me about his other project called Georgia Street. He enthusiastically spoke about the vocalists' harmonies. So I decided to take the trip to the Radisson Khaki club last night to check them out. Two beautiful girl singers and 4 fantastic musicians makes up a great band called Georgia Street. Let me tell you, Nicole Garza better known as Nicki G and Whitney put together some of the most incredible harmonies while strutting their stuff and showing the crowd that they love what they are doing. I have seen at times bands who put up a girl singer that has the voice but no personality and that's a shame. This is not the case with these girls. Listening to their voices you may have thought these girls have been doing this professionally for 20 years. Although, Nicki G does have her own solo work. Her debut album is called Versatility. They performed two of her originals last night while I was there. "Caught You Lookin'" and "My Heart" both filled with Latin influences which I love. Some of the other tunes they performed were "Proud Mary", "My Favorite Mistake", and a medley which had everyone boogyin' consisting of "Superstition" and "Play that Funky Music". This band plays a lot of other songs that are different from the normal sets you here around the region. Its really refreshing. Thanks again Jim for the tip."
~Steve Blaze 09-04-05 NWILive.com~