It’s difficult not to have your mood instantly boosted by the pop-synth sounds of Lio Nicol’s new EP. Regardless of your current environment, Nicol’s upbeat songs, sweet voice, and quirky lyrics will immediately transport you to a different place and give you some serious laid back vibes.
Nicol studied biology at the University of Montana before deciding that a career in music was for her. She left her hometown of Missoula in 2010 and made her way west to California to pursue her dreams. Since then she has collaborated with some of the industry’s top musicians including Grammy award-winning producers, and her 4-octave range and stage presence have impressed audiences across North America at popular venues such as The Mint and House of Blues.
It’s not surprising that Nicol sites Diane Warren as one of her biggest inspirations, as she is a clear storyteller, using the songs of her EP (titled “1”) to explore complicated relationships and heartbreak in a way that anyone who has loved or lost can relate to. In the song “Blame” she recounts the struggle of deciding who is to blame for the end of a relationship (And if it’s all the same you’re not the only one in pain/You need to know I’m not the only one to blame). In a way she seems to be expressing the tricky nature of being willing to take responsibility for your actions, whether they be good or bad. The song serves as a gentle but catchy reminder to look outside of yourself when making judgments – a sentiment that carries far past the scope of romantic relationships.
Additionally, it’s the sassy, upbeat track “They Sent You Back Down” that I found myself especially drawn to. It’s the kind of song that is best listened to at top volumes on a long drive with the windows down. Not only will the catchy beat hook you, but the lyrics have a poetic yet positive take on love that guides the song toward being a pop anthem of a new generation.