Born in Western Australia Nicki Gillis was destined for stardom. The daughter of Italian and Croatian migrants her childhood days were spent at school and working on the family farm but at night she was normally to be found on the side of a stage as her mother was singing and dancing on stages all over Perth.
As young as 18 months Nicki was singing for her food… Across the fields and suburbs of Perth her wailing could be heard, the wailing that would one day become the foundation for this extraordinary vocalist. A vocalist with the ability to capture her audience’s attention and mesmerise them with every note.
Nicki spent her youth in school choirs and performing at local events. At the age of 12 she won a scholarship to Australia’s pre-eminent talent school and by 16 was a professional backing vocalist for national touring acts visiting Western Australia.
After years of performing in various theatre productions and song and dance troupes Nicki joined a number of different professional rock and blues bands and was performing three to four times a week. This went on for four years and included 12 months with Western Australia’s premier party band.
In 1992 Nicki co-founded the award winning six piece Country Rock band “Buckshot Dolly” which toured extensively throughout Australia.
Capitalising on her skills and experience, in 1993 Nicki established the Harmony School of Voice and Music where, over the next few years, hundreds of students were able to benefit from Nicki’s vast wealth of knowledge.
In 1996 Nicki sold her share of the business to concentrate on developing her own career which, among other things, included performing in numerous cabaret shows in and around Australia’s Surfers Paradise. During the same year she had a successful debut as a solo artist winning the prestigious Gympie Muster Talent Search.
In 1997 her self titled EP was released in Australia and included the song “Hittin’ That Highway”, Nicki’s first international release.
The following few years saw Nicki developing her song writing skills, producing live musical theatre and performing at corporate events. This included the opening ceremony of the Women’s World Hockey Championships in front of an international television audience over 16 countries.
After moving away from Western Australia to concentrate on relaunching her national presence from Sydney, Nicki recorded her second EP which included the European #2 hit “On The Mountain”.
2006 saw Nicki’s first international tour to the Middle East where she performed to thousands of coalition troops assisting in the rebuilding of Iraq.
Between her constant touring, Nicki presented the daily drive program on Australia’s Cool Country Radio.
The 2007 release of her debut album “Lucy’s Daughter” was much appreciated by her increasing number of fans. Three Australian top ten singles came from the album; the first Australian single, “Leavin’ You for Myself” reached number 7 in the Australian charts and number 6 in the UK Country charts.
The single “Honey I Don’t Have Time” reached number 6 in Australia while the “Be a Star” gained significant radio airplay across the globe entering the UK radio charts at #2 for one week before going to #1 where it stayed for four weeks.
Nicki exudes class and has a star quality that engages audiences from many different demographics and musical genres. Her awards, including the 2006 Blue Mountains Blues/Jazz Music Award, the 2007 Horsham Independent Female Artist of the Year, Open Album of the Year and the prestigious 2007 Coopers Golden Saddle Award, all demonstrate the industry acceptance of Nicki’s talent.
Nicki has garnered a great deal of positive press since her move to Sydney including two appearances on the Australian Nine Network’s premier variety show “Mornings with Kerrie-Anne”, a full page spread in Sydney’s largest circulation newspaper, “The Sunday Telegraph”, and a special celebrity appearance at Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo.
2008 was a year of consolidation for Nicki and she spent the entire year touring the country and overseas, including two trips to entertain Australian troops in war zones.
2009 saw Nicki win the Frank Ifield International Spur Award before headlining her own sell out club and festival tour of the UK. This was the start of Nicki’s international schedule that has included tours to the UK, USA and New Zealand.
2010 saw the release of a collaborative project with Bob Howe - the album, “Collaboration”, is a collection of songs that have influenced Nicki and Bob over the years. This included songs as diverse as Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” and T-Rex’s “Life’s a Gas”. All songs were given a ‘country feel’ and the album received high praise. When released in the UK, “Chasing Cars” went to number 3 on the UK country music charts.
2010 year also saw the release on a duet version of “I Remember You” with Frank Ifield. The accompanying video clip included footage of Nicki recording the song, 1960’s footage of Frank performing the song and footage of Frank and Bob Howe producing the song in the studio.
Over the years Nicki has been requested many times to sing songs for audiences and some fans have begged her to record songs that have had an impact on their lives. In 2011 Nicki finally had the time to put together an album of all these songs for the fans. The result is the magnificent “Woman of Substance” album. The album included a reworking of “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan” and an accompanying video clip.
In May 2011, Nicki was named by the Australian Entertainment Industry as the Best Country Music Performer or Band in Australia. The winning of this prestigious “Mo” Award, ahead of some of Australia’s higher profile country superstars clearly shows what industry experts think of Nicki and her live performances.
With continual local, domestic and international touring over the past few years, and the constant charting success of anything she releases, Nicki’s performances have evolved into productions that ensure all audiences, no matter if in large or intimate venues, receive the best possible entertainment.