Nikki Lamborn & Catherine ‘Been’ Feeney from Never The Bride to perform at a gig in Liverpool
We have the pleasure of talking to Nikki Lamborn & Catherine ‘Been’ Feeney founder members, composers and producers of band Never the Bride.
Lead singer Nikki Lamborn is one of the most talented vocalists in the music world today. From Bristol, England, she left for the bright lights of London after working since the age of 15 at everything from hairdressing to waitressing, as she knew there was no road too tough to follow her dream to sing.
Catherine ‘Been’ Feeney is main composer, keyboard player, vocalist and occasional guitarist. She is an exceptionally talented songwriter who brings a unique blend of strength and melody to each song, which makes this duo who they are today. Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, she also made her way to London where she met Nikki on stage in a London Pub. Soon after they started writing and working together and haven’t stopped since.
You can order your own copy of their new album Jealously from here now!
Hi ladies! Thank you for agreeing to answer some of our burning questions.
We have to start off by saying we first saw you perform at a recent festival and you completely blew us away. From across the camping field we heard “Like The Way I Do” blasting out and as we are massive Melissa Etheridge fans, we literally ran to the stage to see you perform an amazing set. Have you ever met Melissa and are you also a fans of hers?
NIKKI – WE ARE HUGE MELISSA FANS, WE’VE FOLLOWED HER FOR YEARS AND HAVE SEEN HER PERFORM MANY TIMES. SADLY WE HAVEN’T MET HER BUT WE’VE JUST RECORDED “LIKE THE WAY I DO ” ON OUR NEW ALBUM JEALOUSY. I THINK BEEN WANTS TO WRITE TO HER AND ASK HER IF WE CAN SEND HER A COPY. :O)
BEEN – Melissa is an exceptional artist, everything coming from the heart. Her lyrics, especially on her early albums, are unique and as women we know exactly where she’s coming from. We were at her solo show recently in London (SEVEN GUITARS ON STAGE, Two with Two necks!) and guess what, we did give our album to her manager and hopefully he’ll pass it on. She sang her beautiful interpretation of The Weakness in Me, mentioned that for 20 years she’s been asking Joan Armatrading to duet on it with her and it’s always a no. We’d love to sing and play with her on Like the Way I Do but that’s a big ask as it’s perhaps her biggest song. However…a bit of piano on there might be a first! Wouldn’t it be something if she said yes !
Never The Bride / Melissa trivia – When we were signed to Atlantic Records, we had a track on the Encomium album, a tribute to Led Zeppelin. Our version of Going to California was on there with the greats, we even got a gold disc! Anyway, Billboard thought our track was Melissa singing under a Pseudonym, nice compliment for Nikki !
Where is your favourite venue or city to perform and do you have any particular inspirational or funny stories you would like to share with us?
NIKKI – WE’VE PLAYED ALL OVER THE WORLD, ITS DIFFICULT TO SAY WHICH IS OUR FAVOURITE CITY BECAUSE EVERYWHERE WE GO WE ALWAYS HAVE A GREAT TIME. WE HAVE ENDLESS STORIES WHERE DO WE START!? ACTUALLY WE ARE WRITING A BOOK WHICH INCLUDES STORIES OF OUR TOURS, RECORD DEALS, BACK STAGE ANTICS AND MORE! AS WELL AS WRITING WE HAVE CAMERA CREW FILMING US TELLING THOSE STORIES TOO, WHEN ALL IS READY TO GO WE’LL TOUR THE BOOK ,THE MUSIC AND TELL THE STORIES AND ON OUR SOCIAL SITES AND NETWORKS PEOPLE WILL BE ABLE TO DOWNLOAD SOME OF THE MINI FILMS OF US CHATTING. SOME OF THEM ARE HYSTERICAL, ITS HARD TO BELIEVE ALL THE THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED TO US IN OUR CAREER.
BEEN – all shall be revealed soon!
What is your favourite style of music to sing to and who would you say has inspired you musically?
NIKKI – THAT’S ANOTHER DIFFICULT QUESTION BUT I SUPPOSE I MUST SAY THAT I LOVE SOME OF THE OLD JAZZ, BLUES, GOSPEL SINGERS LIKE ELLA FITZGERALD, SARAH VAUGHAN, DINAH WASHINGTON, ETTA JAMES, BILLY HOLIDAY EVEN SHIRLEY BASSEY. I GREW UP LISTENING TO ALL OF IT MY FATHER WAS A DRUMMER IN A BIG BAND, HE’D PLAY HIS RECORDS ALL THE TIME. WHEN I GOT OLDER AND STARTED TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MUSIC I GOT INTO ARETHA FRANKLIN, TINA TURNER, CHER, BETTE MIDLER HAD A HUGH INPACT ON ME, EVEN BEFORE SHE WAS IN THE FILM THE ROSE HER SONGS AND VOCAL DELIVERY REALLY INSPIRED ME, SHE GAVE SO MUCH IN HER PERFORMANCES, SADLY PEOPLE DON’T PERFORM LIKE THAT ANY MORE. I’M ALSO A BIG STEVIE NICKS FAN SHE’S THE REAL DEAL, AND ANNIE LENNOX ROCKS…
BEEN – I have totally eclectic tastes in music, very into singers and songs more than musicians. Being a songwriter I hear the singer and the song before anything else on the record. The first singer to give me goose bumps was Aretha Franklin, Say a Little Prayer, I will never forget the feeling. They don’t have to great singers to turn me on though, I love artists like Regina Spector, love the way she tells stories as with Jane Siberry, her album ‘When I Was a Boy’ is one of my desert island discs for sure. I recently discovered an act I love from the US called Striking Matches, girl and boy, great singer songwriters and the girl, Sarah Zimmerman, is special for sure.
You’ve rubbed shoulders with many famous artists, including Bryan Adams and Roger Daltry. How was this amazing experience? Would you like to perform with any other artists?
NIKKI – I DID A DUET WITH BRYAN ADAMS AT THE BIRMINGHAM NEC, THAT WAS PRETTY SPECIAL AND QUITE SCARY. ALSO, BEEN & I TOURED THE UK & AUSTRALIA WITH ROGER DALTREY AND SOME OTHER FAMOUS FOLKS, NEVER THE BRIDE HAVE SUPPORTED “THE WHO”, ONCE AT WEMBLEY AND ONCE IN MY HOMETOWN OF BRISTOL. WE STILL CAN’T BELIEVE ALL THE PEOPLE WE’VE BEEN LUCKY ENOUGH TO WORK WITH ITS AMAZING BECAUSE ACTUALLY THERE ARE STILL THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO’VE NEVER HEARD OF US! WE’VE DONE GLASTONBURY WITH DAME SHIRLEY BASSEY, CHICHESTER FESTIVAL WITH CHRISSIE HYNDES, THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL WITH ELTON JOHN, AND HAVE PLAYED WITH A HUGH LIST OF FAMOUS ARTISTS ,WE STILL PINCH OURSELVES NOW! I WOULD LOVE TO WORK WITH TINA TURNER, SHE IS THE QUEEN OF ROCK!
BEEN – Nikki has been described by a journalist as a love child of Robert Plant and Tina Turner, could be nice for me to be on stage playing for all three legends together!
What would you say is your proudest professional achievement to date?
NIKKI – THERE ARE TWO FOR ME, THE FIRST WAS WHEN ROGER DALTREY CAME ONSTAGE AFTER OUR PERFORMANCE WITH HIM AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL, HELD UP MY ARM AND SAID TO THE AUDIENCE” NIKKI LAMBORN IS THE BEST FEMALE ROCK SINGER SINCE JANIS JOPLIN, AND I KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT, I KNEW JANIS”…. MY MUM AND DAD WE’RE IN THE AUDIENCE , IT WAS A PROUD MOMENT FOR US ALL, IT BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE. THE OTHER WAS THE MOMENT WE MET DAME SHIRLEY BASSEY FOR THE FIRST TIME AFTER SHE’D AGREED TO RECORD A SONG WE’D WRITTEN. SHE PERFORMED IT FOR THE FIRST TIME AT THE ROYAL VARIETY SHOW IN FRONT OF THE QUEEN…AGAIN A VERY SPECIAL MOMENT FOR US. WE WENT ON TO PRODUCE HER ALBUM “GET THE PARTY STARTED” WHICH BECAME A TOP TEN HIT FOR THE DAME.
BEEN – Some of the live stuff has been great of course, but one big moment for me was getting signed to Atlantic Records, there were Nikki and I on the label that Aretha and so many other amazing artists were signed to in the day, no mean feat!
You have an awesome style of dress, we love the rock chick look. Do you have someone who makes your clothes, or a favourite store?
Nikki – Why thank you ladies, we have various places we get our clothes, Camden Market is one and we’ve found that sometimes you can find something really special in a second hand shop. The one thing I do have made is my basques or corsets as some people call them. These are made by a great company called “The Catwalk Collection London”, Daniella the owner has become a great friend. Its important to have a corset that fits you well, too tight and you can’t breathe to sing, to loose and you cant perform cos your too worried your boobs are gonna fall out!! haa haaaa. x
BEEN – and lets not forget our New Rock Boots…’we wear boots all summer long’ – I got my first pair over 20 years ago, still have them – really cool pair of retro rocks – then I felt like I was walking on air wearing them, the latest pair I have weigh around 2 kilos each boot, keeps me fit ! Nikki even walks her dog in them, that’s’ serious boot love.
People seeing you live for the first time will probably notice there is a large female presence in the band. Have you both always wanted to work with other women musically?
NIKKI – UNTIL I STARTED WORKING WITH BEEN I’D ALWAYS WORKED WITH MEN IN MY BANDS, I MUST SAY THAT HAVING THE CAMARADERIE OF WOMEN IS A PLUS, BEEN AND I ARE BEST FRIENDS TOO SO THERE’S STRENGTH IN THAT. WHEN WE PLAY WITH THE FULL LINE UP WHICH YOU’LL SEE WHEN YOU COME TO SEE US IN LIVERPOOL IN MAY, YOU’LL MEET SALLY JO OUR VIOLINIST, SHES AN AWESOME BLONDE BOMBSHELL WITH A SLEEVE OF TATTOOS AND AN ELECTRIC SIX STRING FLYING V VIOLIN!!!
BEEN – we’re usually outnumbered by the boys in the band so if we’re making that impression, our female presence must be larger than life! It’s fun with the girlzzz for sure!
Nikki, you are a voice coach when you are not performing. Can you tell us more about this work and what type of people you have worked with over the years?
NIKKI – WHEN I CAME TO LONDON I’D NEVER BEEN TO A VOCAL COACH, ONCE I STARTED GOING OUT AND SEEING OTHER SINGERS I KNEW I NEEDED TO UP MY GAME. I MANAGED TO GET IN WITH GLYNN JONES, HE WAS VOCAL COACH TO ANNIE LENNOX, HEATHER SMALLS, TOM JONES, ELTON JOHN AND OTHER WELL KNOWN ARTISTS , I STAYED WITH HIM FOR 15 YEARS, SADLY HE DIED AROUND 10 YEARS AGO. I WAS ALREADY COACHING HIS METHOD WITH HIS BLESSING WHILST HE WAS ALIVE, ITS SAVED MY LIFE AS A VOCALIST. HIS METHOD TEACHES YOU TO SING FROM YOUR DIAPHRAGM AND NOT YOUR THROAT ITS AMAZING. I’VE COACHED/COACH BEVERLEY KNIGHT, NEWTON FAULKNER, JOCELYN BROWN, LANA DEL RAY, EVEN COURTNEY LOVE! ITS CERTAINLY NEVER DULL!
Been, you both own Lock Stock & Barrel Records, have you found this a good way to help other performers be heard and do you have a particular favourite band you have discovered?
BEEN – The label was originally for our own music then we had our wonderful Shirley Bassey experience. She fell in love with one of our songs, The Living Tree, and was singing it on TV, in concert and then to The Queen no less at A Royal Variety Performance. We were thrilled…here we have one of the most amazing singers of all time singing our song. We kept thinking when is she going record it. So I asked her and mad as it sounds she said ‘to tell you the truth I don’t have a deal at the moment”. We couldn’t believe it and set about changing that then as Nikki says, the rest is history. We got her back in the top 40 with our song, went on to produce her ‘Get The Parted Started’ album which reached number 6 in UK album charts then we masterminded getting her on Glastonbury, Sunday headline act 2007. We were on stage with her, colossal feeling to be on stage with a true Diva.
There seems to be a very large following of fans for Never The Bride from all over the world, we met people from Scandinavia at LFest. Do you still have places left to tour where you would like to engage even more fans?
NIKKI – OMG YES!! WE’D LOVE TO TOUR MORE IN THE USA, CANADA, AND JAPAN, THAT WOULD BE AMAZING!
Can you tell us your favourite three Never The Bride songs and why you like them?
NIKKI – THATS A TOUGHY! I’LL HAVE TO GIVE YOU 6 SONGS…. I LOVE “BETTYS SONG”, “LIVING TREE”, “TIGER BAY”, “YOU’RE NOT ALONE”, “CRY OUT”, “LOSER IN LOVE”. THE REASON IS BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL HONEST, THE LYRICS ARE TELLING A STORY THAT YOU CAN VISUALISE WHILST THE SONG IS BEING PERFORMED. ALSO THE MELODIES ARE EXCITING AND GREAT FOR PEOPLE TO SING ALONG TO WITH THE BAND.
BEEN – As Nikki says. Hard to choose but off the top of my head – Cry Out – It ‘s one of the first songs we wrote together and people have come up to us at concerts or written to us telling how the lyric changed their lives …
April Rain is about the thoughts that come into your head, about what we all go through. The heartbreak you see on the news, struggles, battles, hopes and dreams shattered but we don’t give up, there’s a way out.
Then of course there’s The Living Tree. It’s always been one of our big songs but since Shirley Bassey recorded it, every few months another version will pop up on YouTube with other people doing their camp interpretations, some great and some not so but just amazing that our song has taken a life of its own, it’s not just ours anymore.
Are you very friendly with other members of your band and crew, do you socialise together, is it more like a big family?
NIKKI – WE SOCIALISE WHEN WE’RE ON TOUR BUT AT HOME WE ONLY SEE EACH OTHER FOR REHEARSALS AND GIGS, ITS NOTHING PERSONAL ITS JUST THAT EVERYONE IS ALWAYS WORKING ALL THE TIME. IF WE HAVE A PARTY OR SOMETHING WE INVITE THE BAND BUT MORE OFTEN THAN NOT THEY DON’T MAKE IT. WHEN YOU’RE SELF EMPLOYED YOU NEED TO MAKE HAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES.
BEEN – yes at home they’re all busy busy but when they do show up at one of our soirees it’s great, they bring along their fiddles and guitars and tambourines and away we go!
Tell us about one of your favourite moments from the last few years of performing with Never The Bride?
NIKKI – I HAD A BIRTHDAY GIG A FEW YEARS AGO AND HAD ASKED A FRIEND TO BE OUR A SPECIAL GUEST , ALSO ON THE SAME NIGHT, I KNEW THAT SOME OF OUR FRIENDS WE’RE COMING OVER FROM NORWAY. THE FRIENDS FROM NORWAY WERE A LOVELY GUY AND GAL WHO’D MET AT ONE OF OUR GIGS WHILST WE WERE PLAYING IN HIS HOMETOWN. HE’D BEEN IN TOUCH WITH ME TO SAY THAT HE WANTED TO ASK HER TO MARRY HIM AND ASKED IF HE COULD DO IT AT OUR GIG, OF COURSE WE SAID YES (THE GIRL HAD NO IDEA). THERE WERE OTHER FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHO’D ALSO COME WITH THEM WHO HAD NO IDEA WHAT THE NIGHT HAD IN STORE. THE GIG WAS SOLD OUT, THROUGHOUT THE EVENING VARIOUS GUESTS JOINED US ONSTAGE FOR A DUET WITH ME IN THINK INCLUDING CHESNEY HAWKES THAT NIGHT, WE’D SAND ISLANDS IN THE STREAM (DOLLY PARTON AND KENNY ROGERS). THE ATMOSPHERE WAS ELECTRIC, IT WAS TIME TO ASK LARS AND TRINE TO COME TO THE STAGE (THE YOUNG BOY AND GIRL). I JUST SAID, OK, WE HAVE SOME FRIENDS HERE FROM NORWAY TONIGHT , COULD LARS AND TRINE PLEASE COME TO THE STAGE. I INTRODUCED THEM AND TOLD THE AUDIENCE HOW WE’D ALL MET AND HOW THEY’D MET, THEN I GAVE THE MICROPHONE TO LARS. LARS WENT DOWN ON ONE KNEE ONSTAGE IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE ROOM AND AND PROPOSED TO HER, SHE SAID YES , TEARS STREAMING DOWN HER FACE AND WE LAUNCHED INTO THEIR FAVOURITE NTB SONG ,”HOW MANY DAYS”. THERE WASN’T A DRY EYE IN THE HOUSE, IT WAS SO EMOTIONAL. THEN TO TOP IT ALL OFF, I INVITED OUR SPECIAL GUEST TO THE STAGE , GARY BROOKER IS THE THE LEAD SINGER /WRITER OF PROCAL HARUM, HE WROTE, “A WHITER SHADE OF PALE”. NOT MANY PEOPLE KNOW WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE SO DIDN’T REALISE WHO HE WAS AT FIRST. HE SANG SOME BLUES AND PLAYED PIANO ACCOMPANIED BY THE BAND, BEEN MOVED ACROSS TO PLAY THE HAMMOND ORGAN, THEN, GARY GAVE BEEN THE NOD AND SHE STARTED THAT FAMOUS OPENING RIFF OF A WHITER SHADE OF PALE, AS SOON AS GARY SANG THE FIRST LINE THE WHOLE ROOM WAS ON THEIR FEET! WE DUETTED THE SONG TOGETHER AND THAT WAS THE END OF A FANTASTIC EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER OF A NIGHT!
BEEN – Nikki has mentioned some but one of the things I love about Never The Bride is we never know what will happen on a gig. Anything can happen! We can have a set planned then it can all go out the window and another favourite moment is created, that’s what’s magic about live music.
Are there any plans for another tour, or new album coming up?
NIKKI – WE ARE ALREADY ON TOUR THIS YEAR PROMOTING OUR NEW ALBUM “JEALOUSY”. WE’RE JUST BACK FROM DOING 3000 MILES IN MARCH ALONE! 5 GIGS IN NORWAY ALL IN DIFFERENT TOWNS, AND 2 NIGHTS IN FRANCE, THEN LONDON AND BRISTOL ON OUR RETURN. WE HAVE A LONG LIST OF DATES FOR THIS YEAR ON OUR WEBSITE NEVERTHEBRIDE.COM INCLUDING OUR GIG IN LIVERPOOL.
BEEN – we also have plans to go back into the studio soon to record more original material we have so many songs waiting to get out there…soon !
Will you be at any festivals again next summer? Do you enjoy staying to listen to other bands at festivals and more importantly, to party?
NIKKI – TO BE HONEST WE DON’T GET TO GO OTHER BANDS VERY OFTEN AS I SAID EARLIER IN THIS INTERVIEW WE’RE ALWAYS WORKING OURSELVES. BUT IF WE ARE PLAYING AT A FESTIVAL AND THERE’S SOMEONE WE WANT TO SEE THEN YES OF COURSE IF ITS POSSIBLE WE’LL STAY. THIS YEAR SO FAR WE HAVE TICKETS FOR MELISSA ETHERIDGE, GLADYS KNIGHT AND BETTE MIDLER. THERE ARE TONS OF ARTISTS I’D LOVE TO SEE BUT THEY DON’T PLAY THE UK THAT OFTEN AND WHEN THEY DO WE’RE BUSY. I TRIED TO GET TICKETS FOR TONY BENNETT AND LADY GAGA, THEY’RE GREAT TOGETHER. I LOVE KD LANGS VOICE BUT SHE DOE’ST TOUR MUCH NOW. WE LOVE TO PARTY, IF THE ATMOSPHERES RIGHT THE PEEPS ARE COOL AND IT ALL JUST ROLLS THAT WHEN ITS BEST.
BEEN – we would love to have the luxury of hanging out for the whole weekend at festivals to enjoy the vibe and the other bands but it never works out that way. You have to get back on the road !
What would your ideal Friday night involve?
NIKKI – DRINKS AND DINNER WITH GOOD FRIENDS, SHARING STORIES AND LAUGHING ABOUT THINGS WE’VE ALL DONE TOGETHER IN THE PAST.
BEEN – I like lazy Sundays !
What CD is in your car stereo right now?
NIKKI – I DON’T LISTEN TO MUSIC IN MY CAR, I NEED SOME QUIET TIME NOW AND AGAIN. MY LIFE IS MUSIC 24/7. IF ITS NOT PLAYING IN THE BAND, REHEARSING OR WRITING, ITS TEACHING AND ADDED TOGETHER THAT’S A LOT OF MUSIC!! I SOMETIMES PLAY SOME NINA SIMONE OR CAROL KING IF I HAVE A WEEKEND OFF. BEEN BOUGHT ME A TURNTABLE FOR CHRISTMAS, WE HAVEN’T HAD TIME TO SET IT UP YET AS WE’VE BEEN SO BUSY BUT WHEN WE DO I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO HEARING SOME OF MY OLD VINYL AGAIN.
BEEN – I don’t do music much in the car either! I love chat shows, hearing everyday people have a good old go about all sorts of subjects, makes me think!
At home I listen to my totally eclectic wonderful collection of music, mostly in the mornings! Today I’ve been listening all sorts, my song of the day John Mayer – Your Body is a Wonderland !
What is your favourite movie and show of all time, and why?
NIKKI – BLIMEY, WELL, I LOVE THE SOUND OF MUSIC. I THINK IT HAS EVERYTHING, ITS FUNNY, SAD, REAL, MUSICAL GENIUS AND JULIE ANDREWS IS JUST AMAZING! X :O)
BEEN – that’s a tough one – imagine how many movies we’ve seen and how many of them are great great movies!
You’ll think I’m going for The Wizard of Oz! Who couldn’t love Dorothy and Toto? Judy Garland – Somewhere over the Rainbow- the singer and the song. Undeniable!
If you could make the world a better place, what one wish would be your priority?
NIKKI – LIVE AND LET LIVE… STOP ALL THE WARS AND HATRED BETWEEN PEOPLE CAUSED BY RELIGION , RACISISM, HOMOPHOBIA, IGNORANCE , ARROGANCE , INTOLERANCE.
BEEN – I know it’s an impossible dream, but to let people live where they want to live in harmony.
What is your favourite saying in life and why?
NIKKI – PEACE & LOVE, I ALWAYS SIGN OFF EMAILS AND LETTERS OFF WITH THAT. ITS JUST A NICE THING TO SAY I THINK.
BEEN – upwards and onwards! It’s the only way.
Where can your fans find you, or find information about your latest news on Twitter and Facebook? (Please promote all your social media / website)
NIKKI – I WILL LET BEEN DO THIS… SHE’S THE QUEEN OF SOCIAL MEDIA. X
Never the Bride Online
We’re twittering away @neverthebride
And all things NTB can be found @ www.neverthebride.com
Nikki and Been, it has been an absolute pleasure to chat to you both, and to take up some of your valuable time! You are two of the most caring and professional artists we have ever met. We do hope to join you at the gig in Liverpool. Thank you, Sue and Sarah x
NIKKI AND BEEN – THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR INVITING US TO TALK TO YOU. WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU SOON, MAYBE AT OUR GIG IN LIVERPOOL. PEACE & LOVE NIKKI AND BEEN X X