Genre: Pop, Adult Contemporary, Romantic / Jazz
"With all her history,
She still looks young to me,
It is the place I love,
I love September in Moscow".
When Serge Nikol sings these words he isn’t referencing a classic movie. His college years were spent in Moscow after growing up in Montenegro and Kosovo. He later moved to Toronto where he continues to make music that encompasses many styles including blues, bossa nova, pop and rock. His voice leans toward pop icons like Paul McCartney; his guitar chops have a Lenny Kravitz sensibility but he can also pull out a tender Jose Feliciano-like riff on a nylon string guitar. His latest single, “Beautiful Stranger” cranks with tasty rock riffs and sultry lyrics. His earlier EP release, Dreamin’ includes “Strong Enough,” which was number two on the pop/rock charts at IndieMusic.com.
He grew up with the wide variety of music his father taped off the radio. It could start with Ray Charles, segue into mariachi music and end with The Beatles. At the age of six, his father bought him a guitar. His uncles taught him a few chords and as he got older, he learned every song in a Beatles songbook. Also a Chuck Berry fan, he sat in front of the record player for hours, learning those famous riffs from “Johnny B. Goode.” Other favorites included Leonard Cohen, Pink Floyd and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Serge remembers, “In Kosovo there were ethnic tensions between the Albanian majority and the Serb and Montenegrin minority. The only connection between people there was western music. When I sang and played rock ‘n’ roll it didn’t matter what my ethnicity was. Everyone enjoyed it.”
When civil war broke out, his family moved to Moscow where he attended film school and played in a rock/blues band.
After moving to Canada he performed in a few rock bands then became interested in the Brazilian music of Tom Jobim, Joao Gilberto, Carlos Lyra and others. This lead to a regular engagement at CopaCabana, a Brazilian steakhouse in Toronto, where he’s played five to six nights a week for the past four years. He sings in Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, English, Russian, Albanian and Serbian. “When I sing in Portuguese people often ask what part of Brazil am I from and when I tell them that I was born in Montenegro, they can’t believe it.”
His EP Dreamin’ is perfect for a slow burning candle lit romance. It starts with the bluesy forcefulness of “Strong Enough” but the growl soon softens to a purr. “Travel” features a slow samba beat that brings to mind swaying palm trees and brilliant sunsets. His gorgeous laid-back take on The Cure’s “Love Song” features heartfelt vocals and a soaring trumpet. The humor and sentiment on the bilingual “I’m Cold” will make your sweetheart want to draw closer. The jazzy title cut features lush vocals, a classical guitar and the lullaby of waves on the beach.
In the early 2013 he’ll be releasing Bossa Nova. Produced by Cuban guitar virtuoso Elmer Ferrer, it will include “The Girl From Ipanema,” “Desafinado,” “Triste,” “ Berimbau,” ”Dindi,” “Menina Moca” and “Manha de Carnaval.”
He’s also worked as an actor on CBC shows and in a few films. He grew weary of playing Russian criminals so he continued with his true passion, music.
His career as a singer-songwriter is new but one that is infused with years of experience and the memory of The Beatles on a scratchy cassette tape made off the radio in Kosovo.