Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Checkmate”?
So, “Checkmate” came out on April 2nd of this year and this is my first single I have released so far off of my album. “Checkmate” is a song about not letting people walk all over you, and reminding yourself that you are confident and powerful!
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
This song was inspired from my newfound love of Chess. Over quarantine a lot of things were closed down and my friends and I decided to one day play chess in the park. I got so into chess that I binge-watched “Queen’s Gambit” and I read a chess book to develop new strategies and really understand the game. In all my songs I always love to hide hidden meanings and metaphors within them. I don’t think it was one specific moment that inspired me to write this song, but rather an accumulation of moments where I realized that I need to be more confident in myself and recognize my worth.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
It was so fun to film because my producer/friend and I went to this place in LA called FD Photo Studio where they have a whole bunch of different types of rooms with different themes and everything! The day we did the photoshoot and video we had been shooting since 12 pm and by the time we did the video it was almost 7 pm so at that point we were just going off adrenaline. The vibe we were going for was very sexy, confident, and powerful and I think we executed that pretty well! We also wanted to play around with different colored lights to make it a sultry mood we could experiment with. I wanted to make sure that in the video I hit all of the chess pieces because I’ve always wanted to do something dramatic like that haha.
Why naming the album after this song in particular?
“Checkmate” is a powerful move in chess, but also it is a powerful analogy for life as well. Throughout my life I have always tried to be as kind as I can and unfortunately people I’ve met in my life took my kindness for a weakness. I now realize that kindness is a strength and as cliche as it sounds everything happens for a reason.
How was the recording and writing process?
It was one of the most therapeutic experiences I could have had. I started writing just after I got out of a really tough breakup and writing and singing helped me immensely through my healing process. I was able to just pour all my emotions into my notebook which contributed to all my creative inspiration. The studio I record at called “OC Hit” has so many talented and amazing people and I was lucky enough to get to work with such wonderful people and have them help me and inspire me through the process. When I first started writing my songs it was a really emotional hard time, but going to the studio a couple days each week was always what I looked forward to most. It was so refreshing to just be completely vulnerable and open about what I was feeling because at the end of the day sometimes you just want people to listen. Honestly, I am very grateful for my past relationship because if I hadn’t of gone through heartbreak I would not have had the opportunity to write this album and learn more about myself and grow throughout the process.
What role does Southern California play in your music?
You know that is a great question. I have lived in Southern California my whole life and there is so much constant inspiration whether that’s through the people I meet, or the places I go. I also feel being in Southern California I have been blessed with many opportunities to network with people in music as well as perform different places and meet all different kinds of musicians.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
The five songs I wrote actually tell a whole story starting from the first song to the last. So, if you listen to the album in order, you’ll be able to understand my story. My last relationship was definitely a big part of where I got my inspiration from. For quite some time my ex-boyfriend and I were together and he was a significant part of my life. He also was my first love and this album is how I grew and developed self-love and a confidence and growth in myself I didn’t know I had. These songs are my personal experiences of healing through heartbreak, but also finding a silver lining and reminding myself of my worth. I put all of my identity in my past relationship and ended up losing myself in the process, but through my music I was able to find myself again.
What else is happening next in Nikki Chantal’s world?
I have my second single called “Fool’s Gold” coming out June 4th which I am super stoked about! I am always writing new lyrics and concepts for songs that I want to release in the future so I will keep continuing to create more art! To stay updated on new stuff I’m working on you can check out my Instagram- @nikkichantall, where I post cover videos of songs as well as updates on my own music!
Thank you so much again for this opportunity! I greatly appreciate it.