The Nth Power shares the love in Frisco
IF YOU GO
What: The Nth Power with Dopapod
When: Thursday, Oct. 15, doors open at 8 p.m.
Where: The Barkley Ballroom
Cost: $15; tickets can be purchased in advance at barkleyballroom.ticketfly.com
When music has a purpose, it’s more than just something to listen to. It’s an energy, a force that encourages people to change the world, even if it’s just their own. Musicians have been credited with changing history and even bringing enemies together. The Nth Power, a relatively new band comprised of world-class players in the scene, spend each and every performance working to spread a message — a message of love and happiness.
“I want (the audience) to walk away with love and peace and just knowing that it doesn’t matter what your situation is right now — you can change it,” said drummer Nikki Glaspie. “And, that’s why we are here, that’s why we are in a band and striving everywhere, just to spread the message of love.”
FROM THE BEGINNING
The Nth Power has been working to share its message of love across the country since its formation in 2012 after an impromptu late-night jam in New Orleans over the Jazz & Heritage Festival. The band is a roster of talented musicians, each with an extensive background in music. Glaspie put herself on the map as Beyonce’s drummer for five years before joining Ivan Neville’s New Orleans funk outfit, Dumpstaphunk. Glaspie met bassist Nate Edgar sitting in at a jazz club early on while she was studying at the Berkeley College of Music. Before The Nth Power, Edgar worked with Groovechild and John Brown’s Body. Guitarist/singer Nick Cassarino can be recognized from the Jennifer Hartswick Band, and as tour guitarist for artists including Big Daddy Kane. Their collaboration began when Edgar and former keyboardist of The Nth Power Nigel Hall sat in with Glaspie and Cassarino during a Jennifer Hartswick Band performance.
“During sound check we all kind of looked at each other and were like, ‘Man, this is band right here,’ so we started writing and recording immediately,” Glaspie said.
The name was created from the first letter of the first names of its founders — Nikki, Nick, Nate and Nigel. The band added West African master percussionist Weedie Braimah, after connecting with him at Jazz Fest 2013. Braimah comes from 11 generations of percussionists on his Ghana-born father’s side, and his name literally translates into “little drummer” in the country’s Akan dialect. Eventually, Hall left the group to focus on his solo career, and was replaced by keyboardist/singer Courtney “Jay-Mel” Smith, a St. Louis native, who was an organist and choir director at his church before joining the group.
With all of the prominent musicians in the industry that Glaspie has played with, she said her biggest accomplishment in life so far has been The Nth Power.
“This is where my heart is and what I totally believe in the most. I would say that’s my greatest accomplishment. But I have definitely had the honor of playing with some of the greatest musicians in the world, and I can truly say that my band is comprised of that. I get to play with the greatest cast ever every night.”
TAKING LOVE ON THE ROAD
Glaspie began her love affair with music as a drummer with her church. She grew up with a lot of gospel influences, such as Fred Hammond and Kurt Carr. She began studying secular music in college, and said she was and is inspired by the works of James Brown, Bootsy Collins, Nirvana and Led Zeppelin.
After years of playing with prominent musicians, Glaspie said every one of them has had an impact on her work.
“The way that I approach music is I try to learn something from everything,” she said. “I learned a lot about funk and different styles of funk from Dumpstaphunk, and I definitely gained a work ethic from Beyonce, she works 24/7. I need to work as hard as she does. I play with a bunch of different artists — I have learned and am still in process of learning professionalism and stage presence from Maceo Parker. He’s one of the oldest guys doing it and he’s been doing it forever. So there’s definitely a lot to learn from him and his band, who have also been doing it for a long time.”
As a band, Glaspie said The Nth Power has evolved because of their influences and what they listen to and hear.
“We are always trying to make it better,” she said.
No stranger to a busy tour schedule, The Nth Power has more than 150 performances under their belt, including shows at big-name events such as Bear Creek Music Festival, Telluride Jazz Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, Gathering of the Vibes, and also made a second international appearance at Australia’s Caloundra Music Festival. Glaspie said the band’s favorite place to play is, of course, Jazz Fest, which they’ve played the last three years and are looking forward to again in 2016.
The band recently dropped a single, “Only Love,” and plan to release their first full-length album “Abundance” on Nov. 13.
Glaspie has played in Summit County before with Dumpstaphunk, although she said she is not a big skier.
“I’ve always wanted to try snowboarding, but I need my hands and my elbows and my legs,” she laughed.
Shows are a blend of funk, soul, rock, jazz, Gospel, folk and World Beat, but most of all, Glaspie wants to use the music to share the words of love.
“If you listen to our songs, we definitely talk about spiritual development and searching for whatever it is you are looking for actively, and not just sitting around and thinking that things are going to come to you if you don’t do any work,” she said.
While she said she knows the music will change as they evolve as musicians, she mainly strives to make a difference in the world.
“That’s really what I want to see,” she said. “As far as how this band grows, I want to gain more fans and really just try to encourage a certain lifestyle. Just for people to understand — to be happy is a decision you make. You make the decision to be happy, you know what I mean? … There’s so much going in the world that we can just be depressed about, and beat ourselves up about, or we can put on our boots and do something about it, do some work. That’s kind of the attitude I want to encourage to everyone.”
That message is one that The Nth Power will never let go.
“Believe in the healing power of music — that’s our only goal in this is to spread love and hopefully promote healing,” she said. “Healing for people that need to be healed, have problems and issues and neaed some help with them, we just want to help, that’s why we are out here.”
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