ST. CROIX — As she has done for the last few years, Virgin Islands soca sensation Nikki Brooks is releasing her newest song in time for her birthday at the end of this month.
Brooks, who turns 50 years old on Tuesday, has been integrally involved in promoting self pride, love and rebranding herself and her music in recent years.
Her 2021 birthday release titled “Shiver” is one that Brooks said she had a lot of fun making.
“I wanted something a little flirty. Something to help people to just relax and have a good time with the song,” she said. “Everything in the world is so tense right now, people are under a lot of pressure, so this is not as serious as some of my other songs, but it is sexy and it flirty and it is fun.”
“Shiver,” with a lot of whimsical notes and a mix of Indian and African influence, tells the story of a woman teasing a man and placing her expectations in her fantasy on the table. The refrain “touch me make me shiver, diamonds are made with pressure, touch me make me shiver, hope you can deliver. Come let me feel your body chemistry,” is just that — fun and flirty.
“When you think of the global pandemic, people are dating different, they are online dating and so many of our interactions are virtual, this is one of the outlets, to just have real fun and have a good time. Sometimes you have to love on yourself, have a good time being flirtatious and just live free,” she said.
Brooks said she worked along with Trinidadian producer Nyce Nation and A Plus Productions on St. Thomas to master the song and they were all very satisfied with the final product.
She said the very first time she performed on a stage she was 7 years old and sang “Greatest Love” by Whitney Houston at a Virgin Islands Puerto Rico Friendship Celebration.
“I hit that stage that night, it was my first time, but I had a great time. I loved it so much and I have been singing and performing ever since,” she said.
With her pure talent and high energy performances, she is always known by her distinctive voice — belting out vocals for big bands across the region in a way others cannot. She has received astounding support from her expanding fan base, securing a title also as an international cultural ambassador.
Brooks has provided vocal accompaniment for top bands including St. Croix’s VIO International, St. Thomas’ Imagination Brass and the legendary D.C.-based Image Band. She holds the honorable distinction of being crowned the first female Calypso Monarch on St. Croix and says she continues to prove herself as a standout in the industry despite obstacles.
Brooks has headlined for acts across the Virgin Islands, Caribbean and the United States including Mighty Sparrow, Romain Virgo and R. City. She has performed in the British Virgin Islands, Labor Day in Brooklyn, V.I. Cultural Fest in Harlem and Brass Fest at the Brooklyn Museum.
Brooks took a break from soca and other secular music when she made a change in her life, but in 2015, she made a comeback.
“I had turned my life over to God and changed what I sang and how I lived, but when I made my comeback I did so with ‘Know Me Now,’ that was my testimony. I had to start over and I have not stopped pushing since then.”
Brooks said music and her children are her biggest motivators and she puts new music out all the time. “I don’t do music because it’s Carnival, or Festival, I do music because I am living and breathing and because it is what I love to do and I want to share it with the world,” she said.
One of the biggest obstacles in driving her career, according to Brooks, is gender barriers and she continues to work for a breakthrough.
“I have done a lot, just as much or more than some of the men with big names in the industry, but being a woman in this industry is hard,” she said. “I don’t have a band or anything else flagging me as hot, just my name and my identity, I have to keep pushing and promoting myself.”
As she celebrates her golden anniversary of life, Brooks said she is looking forward to continuing to expand on her music and her life.
“I love all types of music, but I think the next move for me will be to dibble and dabble in some lovers rock music and I am really excited about that,” she said. “Calypso is my first love, I’ve done some R&B as well, so we will just see what else comes next for me and for my fans.”
Brooks said she sees this year as being almost over, so she has her eyes set on the year ahead.
“In 2022 I think we need to push women power, not to take over the world, but to promote ourselves and get ahead. We need to respect each other and help each other out so that we can collectively reach our goals,” she concluded.
For more information on what she has coming next and her big birthday reveal, follow Nikki Brooks on all social media platforms at I am Nikki Brooks.