“I was just trying to figure out life from a place that didn’t make sense to me”
BY ELLA GAUCI, IMAGE BY NICK & SIX
If you attended UK Black Pride this year, you may have heard NicK & Six – a collective of multi-sensory artists – performing. DIVA spoke to the talented storytellers about the release of the latest single The SaddesT Sunflower.
Six (she/they) grew up in a small town, raised by her father’s record collection. With the sounds of everything from Funkadelics to Beach Boys, music was a constant backing track for Six’s youth. She would turn movies on mute and curate her own backing tracks from her CD collection.
NicK (they/he/she) began performing and curating music from the age of two. By four, they had entered the professional industry. “Music is a part of the village that raised me in so many different ways,” NicK explained to me over Zoom.
The pair met after facing exploitation within the music industry. “The both of us individually folded under the pressures of systemic marginalisation and oppression and were left vulnerable to interpersonal abuse,” NicK said. “We met each other through facing exploitation and music lit the pathway out of that.”
Describing themselves as “multi-sensory artists”, for NicK & Six music is more than just strumming chords and singing into a mic. It’s about collective experience, spirituality, and history. “It’s so healing to be up there playing guitar or singing,” Six shared. “I feel good when I’m sharing what gifts and skills I have.”
After jamming together for years, the collective’s song The SaddesT Sunflower was released this year.
“I was always being compared to a sunflower at the time because my hair was bright yellow. People knew me for smiling and being lively or energetic but I didn’t feel that way inside,” NicK explained. “It was literally the beginning of my journey of identifying as a survivor and understanding that I am a survivor. It was the beginning of my journey realising that I had been groomed and trafficked by my own family and that’s why I had been working since two years old.”
As the first track on their upcoming mixtape, The SaddesT Sunflower provided NicK with a space to finally confront their past experiences and trauma.
“I was just trying to figure out life from a place that didn’t make sense to me. The song is about me recognising that while I was a sunflower-presenting person, I was feeling very emo on the inside,” NicK said. “I needed to face it and say it out loud. That song was the beginning of the journey of me saying a lot of things out loud which I hadn’t had the words to articulate before. The SaddesT Sunflower is the start of my journey of tapping into myself through song.”
London has had a special place in NicK & Six’s hearts since their creation. In fact, the first song they learnt to play together was Amy Winehouse’s Valerie. The pair came to London in 2018 for the first time and immediately found an incomparable wealth of inspiration and experiences by performing on the streets.
What’s been the most memorable part of their journey together so far? “Meeting Lauryn Hill!” they both said with excited smiles. The Ex-Factor singer imparted “life-altering” words of encouragement on NicK & Six which have spurred them on through their music.
You can listen to The SaddesT Sunflower here.
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