Song of the Day: Nicci Canada’s “Love”

Feb 9, 2012 by


Usually, when the West Side of Charleston, W.Va., makes the news it involves a gun. So, when Bob Loughery called me, representing a jazzy soul singer named Nicci Canada, who grew up on the West Side, I was glad to check her out. I like her sound and the musical inspirations she hopes to emulate and channel: Jill Scott, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday. Canada performs Saturday in Charleston with the Bob Thompson Unit.

Today’s Song of the Day, “Love,”  comes from her debut CD, “”Twenty Twelve,” whose title I imagine speaks to her hopes for busting out this year. (You can order the CD or download it song-by-song at  Below is an excerpt from a profile I did on her for today’s Charleston Gazette in advance her appearance Saturday at the Love Art inaugural fundraiser for the Arts Council of Kanawha Valley.

West Side Native’s Got Soul

By Douglas Imbrogno | Charleston Gazette | Feb. 9, 2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Nicci Canada came relatively late to the realization that in the spotlight was where she belonged.

“It didn’t cross my mind until I was, like, 28,” said Canada, who grew up on Charleston’s West Side.

A friend planted the seed after hearing her sing. “Nicci, I think you missed your calling. You should be singing,” Canada recalled the friend saying. “And I thought, ‘OK, I’ll do it.'”

She is speaking by phone from Charlotte, N.C., where she now lives and plots the ongoing development of her career. The 37-year-old’s first CD, “Twenty Twelve,” came out in August. She’ll showcase her jazzy, soulful voice this Saturday with the Bob Thompson Unit as part of Love Art, the inaugural fundraiser of the Arts Council of Kanawha Valley.

“I’m just excited to come home. I love West Virginia; I love my people. I’m a Mountaineer girl at heart — always have been, always will be.”

Hometown acquaintances not clued into her reinvention will know her as Shawna Nakia Reese, but Nicci is her longtime nickname while Canada is her husband’s name she took when she married. She grew up singing in the Greater Emmanuel Apostolic Faith Church in Charleston where “my first solo was in the kiddie choir,” she recalled. | Read On




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