Influenced by the world, the Nikhil Korula Band just wants to make you move.
Music is a major part of my life. I find it a necessity, a hobby – something that has surrounded me from the very day I was born. Being born into a family that is musically influenced has given me a different view of the world. So you can just imagine the type of conversation that was shared between Nikhil Korula and myself. We met at a Starbucks on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Western, chatted it up over coffees and shared our love and appreciation for the art that is music.
Nikhil is the front man of the Nikhil Korula band. Consisting of six members, they have played at venues all over Los Angeles and beyond. You may have seen them rock the stage at the House of Blues, the Mint, the Knitting Factory or the Viper Room. You might have caught a glimpse of them at South By Southwest or at Bonnaroo. The Nikhil Korula Band has opened for artists such as Dave Matthews, O.A.R., Rusted Root, and Jason Mraz. Their musical resume, if you will, is already a few pages long.
But how did all of this happen? Opera. If you are sitting there scratching your head, let me explain. Nikhil is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, and was the youngest founding member of the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus. He was blessed to sing alongside opera great Placido Domingo, share his vocals at the Grammy’s and lend his talent at Rod Stewart’s wedding. It is obvious that performing isn’t foreign to him and his love of singing has been a lifelong commitment.
However, his intentions of becoming an opera singer were put on the shelf when he found himself surrounded by jazz musicians in his university apartment during his freshman year. Discovering this talent motivated him to dive into other forms of music, and because of this, the unique and distinctive sound of his band was born. Once school was finished, Nihkil and guitarist Anthony King started out as an acoustic duo that performed at coffeehouses and open mic nights around the Los Angeles area. Attending jazz gigs, he met other musicians and they were handpicked to form the sextet that performs today.
The sextet that is the Nikhil Korula Band has been performing successfully since their Knitting Factory gig in 2002. The show was sold out and a number of other shows quickly followed. Co-headlining at the House of Blues quickly transformed to headlining gigs and they return frequently to this world-famous venue to entertain their ever-supportive fans.
And the fan base continues to grow steadily. They move, shake and dance along to every song and at every show. I asked Nihkil how a fan would describe the band and he responded with, “great dance music.” For all of you out there who have yet to witness a live show, I will tell you this – the Nikhil Korula Band creates “music that makes your soul move.”
The sextet can be best described as a “world-influenced jam band.” When listening to their tracks, on either their full length record titled, The Way Things Work, or their Acoustic B Sides and Rarities EP, the influence of world music infused with the style of Dave Matthews Band, the anthem rock of U2 and the solid beats of hip hop is evident in their combination of sounds. This conglomeration is what makes the fans move. The band is fortunate to be able to book shows with ease and most importantly, they have the pleasure of doing what they love to do without boundaries.
Nikhil approaches music from all angles. His trips around the world, in places such as India or Africa made him realize why world influence plays such an important role. As the primary lyricist and composer for the band, he draws his subject matter from many aspects of everyday life, whether it is a song about a woman or about the power of positivity. Music is the medium for spreading a message. He emphasizes on the subject of hope and is satisfied when his creative processes results in nothing but making people dance.
They continue to entertain audiences everywhere with the sounds of Nikhil’s melodic vocals, the beat of a snare drum, the alto of the saxophone or the strum of a guitar. In a time when the industry appears to be dying, the music is more alive than ever before. This is the type of experience that is felt when watching the Nikhil Korula Band onstage. Being able to be a part of this experience and recognize the hard work of musicians who continue to strive for greater heights is something that can only be felt by those who know that music is all about discipline, love and truth.