Already an establish keyboard player of the popular band, Zenglen, Nickenson Prud’homme decided to venture on a solo project to showcase another one of his many talents, his vocals. The artist admits he was a little skeptical at first about releasing an album featuring his own vocals not knowing whether or not people would embrace his voice.
He took his chances by releasing a single off Shedly Abraham’s Djazz La Vol. 5. The song entitled “Deception” since then, the reviews have been so overwhelming … he decided it was safe to release a whole album.
Cheyna: Nicky, I heard you have a new band coming out. What’s the name of your band?
Nickenson: The band name is Harmonic.
Cheyna: You’re a member of Zenglen, don’t you think that might create a conflict?
Nickenson: The new band consists of a group of friends of mine who played on the album with me. Harmonic is going to back me up when I have contracts outside of Zenglen. Some contracts are important and I have to fulfill them. As far as conflict is concerned, it will not affect me with Zenglen because I’ve been doing this before the album came out. We’ve already played in Haiti. When Zenglen is not booked, I can use the time to go on tour and continue to promote the album.
Cheyna: How did you first get your start in the Haitian Music scene?
Nickenson: I started in Haitian music when I was a little boy at the age of 13. I understood music since I was 5. I could differentiate from minor to major keys from early on. I started creating musical melodies since then. At the age of 9, I started playing the keyboard. It was at the age of 13 I joined my first band, Explosive in Haiti. When I was 17 I joined Djakout Mizik. When I turned 19, I came to the United States and joined Zenglen and I’ve been with them ever since.
Cheyna: How long have you been in Zenglen.
Nickenson: I joined Zenglen when I was 19, I’m now 29 so I’ve been in Zenglen for 10 years.
Cheyna: You’re pretty young.
Nickenson: Thank you! I still respect and credit all of the musicians that are much older than me.
Cheyna: I credit you for being so young and yet managing to accomplish so much.
Where in Haiti are you from?
Nickenson: My mother is from St Louis du Nord and my father is from Cap Haitian but I was born in Port-au-Prince. When asked this question I usually say St. Louis du Nord because that’s where I was raised and still vacation.
Cheyna: Why did you decide to put out your own solo album?
Nickenson: I was scared at first because I didn’t know whether or not the fans would embrace my voice. I didn’t want them to laugh at my voice which made me a little reluctant. When Shedly persuaded me to release the song “Deception” on his album, I was surprise of the out come … how people loved it. However, I was still not set to release a solo because I didn’t know if it would work. A few friends like Marc Lubin (well known song writer to the artists in the HMI) and some others who are featured on the album finally convinced me and gave me the confidence I needed to pursue it. I feared releasing the whole album because I’m usually hard on myself even when I’m producing other artists. Chances are if it weren’t for the words of encouragement from these people, the album could have been done but never released. I also would like to thank Fabrice Rouzier and Jean Max for their encouragement.
Cheyna: Now that the album came out with rave reviews, did it give you enough confidence to pursue a second album?
Nickenson: For the way this album’s been running … my heart skips for the second album. Not that I can’t do it but some people think your first album is usually the best. For example some people said I couldn’t top “Deception” I told them I have a new album that would top Deception, they didn’t believe me. When they heard “Zanmi”, they had a change of mind. Well, I don’t know but we’ll leave it to God. I’ve always pray to God to give me the strength to do better with each project I take on, same way I got better at playing the keyboard.
Cheyna: Recently, I’ve spoken to a few other musicians about who they thought were the best keyboard players and who had the best keyboard solo and your name came up amongst the best. How do you feel about hearing that?
Nickenson: Oh, I would love to thank the musicians who said that. It’s encouraging and
a compliment. I didn’t know how they felt because there are others out there doing beautiful music.
Cheyna: A lot of times you are compared to Nu Look’s maestro/keyboard player/singer, Arly Lariviere. I remember a few months ago on OpaMizik.com message board we had a topic where some members were comparing the two of you. Would you compare yourself to Arly Lariviere?
Nickenson: To tell the truth, Nickenson and Arly are day and night. Arly is a composer and singer first. I never considered myself to be a singer. Arly has experience with some great musicians. He has his style and I have mine. I think my style is a more on the younger side than his.
Cheyna: Are you guys friends?
Nickenson: Well, don’t be surprise to hear Arly and Nickenson working on a project together.
We can’t have problems because were both working for compas so there’s no reason for us to have any problems. Same way Gracia and Richie just did a beautiful thing for the Haitian music industry where they put their differences aside to work together. I think it’s a good example for the young who’s coming up in the music. For Arly and Nickenson to create a project together, it would be a good thing in the industry.
Cheyna: In the past couple of months Zenglen’s been going through a few internal issues to where nobody in the band knew for sure where Richie stood. One of the reasons was Richie’s disagreement with the title for the live album. Do you think it was unfair since you also sing on the live album for it to say Richie and Zenglen?
Nickenson: I am oblivious of the details of what transpired due to the fact that I’m so busy in the studio. I never had the time but it’s when I was listening to interviews done over the radio that I really got an idea of what was going on. Honestly, I have no personal feelings towards Richie. I just thought it would be fair if it just said Zenglen because Zenglen played the music.
Cheyna: Now that Richie is back, are you guys in harmony?
Nickenson: We’re in HARMONIC menm!
Cheyna: Zenglen has always been verbal when it comes to the state of the compas music industry. But you personally, what do you think are some of the issues that the industry faces and what can be done to change those aspects an order to save the music.
Nickenson: For things to work better, we first have to fix the bootlegging problem. It’s hard for a musician when you’re working hard day and night in the studio, barely having any time left to spend with your wife and children because you want to produce a great project … only to have it bootlegged. Bootlegging is like getting your home invaded. That’s why musicians are dying poor. This problem can only be fixed if the people buying the bootlegs stop it. I’m not blaming the bootlegger, I’m blaming the supporters. If they stop supporting the sales of bootlegs, then these bootleggers will be forced to stop.
Cheyna: With all the solo projects Zenglen’s been releasing, when can we expect a Zenglen album?
Nickenson: We not only release solos, we release good solos. I’m always working for Zenglen. Zenglen is working. Right now the solo projects are working for us.
Cheyna: Who is responsible for Zenglen’s promotion and why haven’t the last few albums been properly promoted?
Nickenson: Well, I’m not responsible for Zenglen’s promotion. Kaliko, Richie and Brutus are the ones handling the promotional aspect of the band.
Cheyna: On a more personal side, I know you are married with a child, but can you tell us what do you look for in a woman?
Nickenson: I like simplicity. A woman who knows how to carry herself in public and who’s not loud. I’m not the type of guy who goes for looks first; I want a nice personality.
Cheyna: How does your wife feel about you being in the music business? I know some women have a hard time coping with a man in music because of the large number of women that cling to musicians.
Nickenson: My wife found me in music and she’s been very accepting of me and my career.
Cheyna: Thanks for the chat, Nick! And good luck on your future projects.
Nickenson: Thank you!