In a world diluted by so much bubblegum pop and R&B music, Nikki Yanofsky’s ‘60s-inspired jazz vocals are a welcome refresher—think Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald. And the Montreal native is just getting started! At 20 years old, the singer is riding the success of her sophomore album Little Secret, which was executive produced by legend Quincy Jones and soared to number one on the charts. We caught up with Yanofsky hot off her appearance on Dancing With the Stars to play a quick game of 10 Questions.
Photographer: Jenna Peffley
How would you describe your music in three words? Jazzy. Honest. Energetic.
If you were a song, what song would you be? I would say “When You Wish Upon A Star,” but the Louis Armstrong version. First of all, there is so much hope in his voice, and it’s just really about believing in yourself, and I feel like that’s something I’ve really had to do a lot. I also just love the unexpected time he uses when he sings. You don’t really know when he’s going to come in and sing a line. There’s spontaneity to it that I really relate to and the way I try to approach my life.
What’s the best thing that happened to you this year? I think just releasing my CD. That was such a big moment for me, because of the hard work and amount of time I took to make it. Finally releasing it was such a nice relief, and also it just made me really happy for people to hear it.
If you could swap closets with anyone for a week, who would it be and why? This is a tough question, because there are so many possibilities. I love everything that Audrey Hepburn wore. If I could just have everything she ever wore, I would take it in a second. It’s so classic and beautiful. For a more contemporary choice, I’m obsessed with Sarah Jessica Parker’s style, her slash Carrie Bradshaw, so I would take that too.
What’s your fashion weakness? I have an unhealthy amount of sunglasses at my house. Lately, I have been into the Wayfarer shape. I have like 25 pairs, so I think I need to cool it.
What was your first-ever concert? I saw The Eagles with my parents. It was a really fun concert. I grew up with classic rock music and I was so excited to go.
What’s the one app you can’t live without and why? Afterlite. You can mix filters and put dust on them, so it looks like an old picture. I do that to every single picture; it looks like it was on film.
What’s the best part about living in Montreal? I think fall in Montreal; there is nothing more beautiful. My favourite place to go is Beaver Lake, because you can just go and look out at the entire city.
What’s your dream music collaboration? Stevie Wonder would be one, but I think for a more contemporary choice Bruno Mars. I would die to work with him, and Marc Ronson too.
If you weren’t a singer, what would you be? I would definitely still be in music. If God forbid I couldn’t sing or something like that happened, I would still do something in music, like write songs for people. I just can’t live without it; it’s always something I wanted to do.
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