Artist Spotlight: Brooding desperation from Ohio singer-songwriter Nicholas Rowe

Artist Spotlight: Brooding desperation from Ohio singer-songwriter Nicholas Rowe

Meet Nicholas Rowe. Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, he is a brilliant singer-songwriter merging vulnerable lyrics with brooding vocals for desperate, in-your-face alt-folk anthems. 

Everything You Need To Know About Nicholas Rowe

1. About being a family man: Rowe resides in Columbus with his wife, Gena, and his two twin daughters. In an interview with Buzz Artist over the summer, he cited Gena as his biggest inspiration. 

2. How he began his music journey: Back in college, Rowe was kicked out of choir by the teacher who told him he was the worst singer she had ever heard. Instead of taking that criticism as defeat, he started a rock band, eventually experimenting with the folk music he crafts today.

3. His biggest musical influences: The album that changed Rowe's perspective on music is Blood On The Tracks by Bob Dylan. Rowe cites the masterful storytelling, overall sonic perfection, and Dylan's ability to give just enough detail as reasons for having been (and continues to be) compelled by the record.

4. On his "robotic" tendencies: According to Rowe's bio, his friends sometimes refer to him as "a walking Quaalude," unable to fully register and express emotion. Rowe insists this is untrue, but his natural tendency to experience emotion a little late is exactly where his songs come from, so every piece of music he puts out is as raw and surprising as his personality is.

Songs To Smash The Replay Button For

1.  "Everything Has Beauty": The title track from Rowe's latest EP, Everything Has Beauty, is schizophrenic in its swirling, growing folk rhythms, and there is a lot going on here. Gruff vocals move from a deep croon to a low wail, singing a bittersweet sentiment about the beauty in monotony. 

2. "Looking For God": This track is a slow-jam, layered with twinkling percussion and led by powerful songwriting. Rowe's songwriting abilities are exemplified in poignant lines like "I found my alter on a bar stool / And that was where I aimed to stay / I drank my whiskey all night long / And slept it off all day." The song is palpably devastating, and Rowe's voice aches, but it's a gorgeous tune with a whole lot of heart.

3. "How It's Done": The EP's final track is a sprawling, sparkling love song. Tender guitar melody and shimmers of distant percussion dance beneath an honest confession as Rowe desperately begs his listeners "to choose love." 

Watch Him In Action

Last year, Nicholas Rowe filmed a live session of "I Broke Free" as part of The Ember Sessions recorded in Ohio. The camera work offers lovely dark tones and a great performance of Rowe sharing his impassioned vocals while strumming an acoustic guitar.

In the music video for "Sacred & Profane," an expert duality is captured mimicking the song itself. Struggling between his positive and negative selves, Rowe sings deeply and desperately with one half of his face awash in light, the other darkened by shadow.

How To Connect With Nicholas Rowe

You can follow Nicholas Rowe on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bandcamp, and his website.

We hope you've fallen in love with Nicholas Rowe and the poignant honesty he offers. His songwriting is exceptional, sharing similarities to the great Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Jason Isbell while remaining original in the content he develops and his distinct voice. Rowe is an expert at digging into the caverns of his mind for lessons learned and experiences to share. He bears it all with vulnerable lyrics, whiskey-soaked vocals, and alt-folk rhythms, an admirable combination that creates a staggering and profound listening experience.

 You can connect with The Music Mermaid for more artist spotlights below.

Photo by Nik Williams.

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