Growing up, Nikki Yanofsky was lovingly known as “Big Mouth” around the house, and that didn’t bother her in the least; in fact, she wore it like a badge of honor.
“There’s typically a negative connotation to calling someone a ‘big mouth,’ but I was always really proud of it,” recalls the singer. “To me, it’s about holding strong opinions and not being afraid to speak your mind.”
On Big Mouth, her forthcoming studio album, the 23-year-old artist finds herself with plenty to say, and is subsequently re-adopting – and fully owning – her one-time nickname.
“This record is about really embracing who you are and standing up for yourself,” she shares. “I’ve found my voice, I’ve found my sound, and now I’m here with a purpose and I’m ready to roar.”
Despite her age, Yanofsky has already earned an enviable list of accolades and achievements. She has also worked with some of the most important and influential music industry figures of the past few decades, but while she’s grateful for their guidance, Big Mouth finds her taking over the reins of her music – and her career.
Yanofsky admittedly struggled when first starting work on the follow-up to her 2014 LP, Little Secret. Despite ample time spent in the studio with a host of talented collaborators, put simply, nothing felt right.
But that changed drastically on the day of January 21st, 2017, when millions of protestors took to the streets of cities around the world for the inaugural Women’s March.
“I was watching the news all morning and was just so inspired by that movement,” she says. Later that day, while taking a shower, a melody came to her out of nowhere and wouldn’t leave her head.
“That’s when it clicked,” she vividly recalls. “It just sort of poured out of me. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had writing a song, though in a way, it wrote itself.”
The voice memo she recorded that day – after rounding out the arrangement while shampooing her hair – became “Big Mouth,” which in turn inspired the musical and lyrical identity of the album of the same name.
While Little Secret planted some of the seeds for what would become her signature sound, Big Mouth finds them coming into full bloom. Her voice is unmistakable, but while the familiar tinges of Ella, Aretha, Stevie, and Amy all remain, the album is as fresh and modern as anything Yanofsky has done to date. It’s upbeat and energetic, simultaneously classic and contemporary, and poised to please her current fans while inviting new ones to the fold.
“All of my history, my past writing, the jazz standards – this is all of that coming into perspective,” she says. “Nobody is telling me what to sound like or what to do. My influences are still there, but this is me coming out and fully embracing my own sound, my own identity.”
That’s just as true on the thematic side, which finds Yanofsky newly inspired and ready to trumpet messages of empowerment, perseverance, and self-pride to anyone within earshot.
“There’s definitely a strong sense of girl power here,” she shares. “We have a long way to go, but we also need a chance to step back and celebrate ourselves for what we’ve already accomplished.”
With its unparalleled energy anchored by Yanofsky’s one-of-a-kind vocal prowess, Big Mouth is a treat from start to finish, and proves that being unapologetically outspoken needn’t carry a negative connotation.
In fact, the opposite can be true.