Q&A with native New Orleanian musician Nick Daniels III, describes The Big Easy sound with a soulful flavor

"It is the birth place of American music with influences that are Caribbean, jazz, Indian, blues, gospel, etc. The music community has a vibe unlike other places because of the culture, the food, etc. It is like a gumbo with all the ingredients I just mentioned."

Nick Daniels III: Thats New Orleans Sound

Nick Daniels III is a native New Orleanian with a great vocal range. When Nick sings “That’s New Orleans” (single released in October 18th.), he describes The Big Easy with a soulful flavor that only he can deliver. The musicianship and production are of the highest caliber. The song has a catchy groove and chorus that are sure to please. Nick started playing drums in the fourth grade. By his mid-teens, he was the drummer and conga player for a local New Orleans group that backed up The Soul Impressions. After leaving his first band, Nick joined Tavasco as a bass player. Since that time, Nick has played bass for the Uptown All-Stars, The Neville Brothers (9 years), Zachary Richard, the Wild Magnolia Indians, and Allen Toussaint. In 2006, Nick joined the currently popular band, Dumpstaphunk.         (Nick Daniels III / Photo © by Marc Millman)

Dumpstaphunk was founded by Ivan Neville and has played national and New Orleans venues, including The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. They have also opened for The Rolling Stones. Look for the Nick Daniels III EP “Living In The Groove Zone” to be released in February 2022.

Interview by Michael Limnios       Photos © by Marc Millman / All rights reserved

How has the NOLA music and culture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

It has influenced me in every way. In the 7th grade I began to attend school with both races. It was the first time I saw different views because I had both blacks and whites in my classes. There is a vibe in NOLA with the people and the culture that is a good thing. The Mardis Gras parades and music is very festive and creates a positive feeling for the whole city. Not to say there have not been times in our history that are negative. We all learn from the good and the bad.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

My sound comes from within. My father once told me if you do right, right follows right. Do your best and good will follow. That is my music philosophy. Give it all you got. I like to write songs about what is happening in the world, love, and right & wrong. The music business gives you a platform to influence listeners. It is a duty to take advantage of that.

Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Again, my father once asked me “Do you know what makes two asses?” I said no. He responded “two asses make a much bigger ass.” Just because someone else is an ass you do not have to be one too. Whenever I run into that I try to take the high road. Great advice from my father.

"My sound comes from within. My father once told me if you do right, right follows right. Do your best and good will follow. That is my music philosophy. Give it all you got. I like to write songs about what is happening in the world, love, and right & wrong. The music business gives you a platform to influence listeners. It is a duty to take advantage of that." (Nick Daniels III / Photo © by Marc Millman)

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

Yes. I was playing bass for Etta James in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s. She was an aging star and not in the best of health. When she went on stage that night it was magic! I will never forget the way she moved and the energy that she put into every song. What a lesson. ALWAYS GIVE YOUR ALL AND THE CROWD WILL LOVE IT.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

The new music is missing soul, body, and realism. No samples in real music. Today, it is washed down electronic stuff that is pushed out to the masses. I prefer music with a real heart beat (drums) and not an electronic substitute. I hope the future music can become more real but I am not sure that will happen. My favorite influences include James Brown, Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, The Stones, and Sly and The Family Stone. All of these artists were great singers and musicians.

What would you say characterizes New Orleans music scene in comparison to other local US scenes and circuits?

It is the birth place of American music with influences that are Caribbean, jazz, Indian, blues, gospel, etc. The music community has a vibe unlike other places because of the culture, the food, etc. It is like a gumbo with all the ingredients I just mentioned.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Don’t expect too much. Humble yourself and do not be like so many people in the business. I am referring to self-aggrandizement or being a braggart.

"The new music is missing soul, body, and realism. No samples in real music. Today, it is washed down electronic stuff that is pushed out to the masses. I prefer music with a real heart beat (drums) and not an electronic substitute. I hope the future music can become more real but I am not sure that will happen. My favorite influences include James Brown, Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, The Stones, and Sly and The Family Stone. All of these artists were great singers and musicians."

(Nick Daniels III / Photo © by Marc Millman)

What is the impact of music on the human rights, spiritual and socio-cultural implications? How do you want to affect people?

Music can open minds and present different points of view. I would like to
make the world a better place by giving some wisdom and joy to the listeners.