Austin-based, Alabama-raised singer/songwriter Nakia has a heart that beats to the rhythms of Muscle Shoals soul, pumping blood infused with Stax funk to cells lined with Chicago blues grooves. His vocal talent is the kind that instantly turns listeners into fans — among them CeeLo Green, who invited Nakia to sing on his Muppets Christmas special. Nakia was a Top 8 Semifinalist on CeeLo’s team during the first season of ‘The Voice‘ on NBC.
Nakia moved from Chicago to Austin in 2002. After a brief stint in The Small Stars, a tongue-in-cheek lounge act fronted by Fastball’s Miles Zuniga, he formed Nakia & His Southern Cousins, got booked to perform at the 2008 Austin City Limits Festival, and wound up singing with Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings. Alejandro Escovedo heard him at a Rolling Stones tribute, which led to him singing backing vocals on Escovedo’s Street Songs of Love album, and to a second recommendation — this time by producer Tony Visconti — for Nakia to front his own Blues band. So he formed the Blues Grifters. A YouTube video of the band led to The Voice producer Mark Burnett recruiting him for the pilot, which resulted in his relationship with CeeLo.
Nakia is a active member of the Austin music community. He is an outspoken advocate for organizations such as Black Fret, HAAM, and The SIMS Foundation. He has served as the Chair of the Austin Music Commission and as a member of the Board of Governors for the Texas Chapter of the Recording Academy. Nakia is a two-time Black Fret nominee. Nakia and the Blues Grifters appear on the new ALL ATX album, “Low Down Violet Crown: Austin Rocks the Blues.” Nakia recently performed at the 2016 Austin City Limits Music Festival with the Barton Hills Choir.