20th April 2021

From Liverpool to Atlanta: An Interview with songwriter Nik Patel

In Atlanta, Georgia, songwriter Nik Patel joins an arranged WhatsApp video call with LGSM. He has just finished a college Zoom session and bemoans the extensive questions asked at the end making him ever so slightly late. He is in characteristically good spirits, and with good reason too.

Patel and LGSM were in the same flat in halls last year and have remained good friends thanks to the wonders of technology. It was here that Patel’s songwriting ambitions became apparent to yours truly. This week, more than a year after it was written, the wonderful ‘You’ll Never Be Mine’ has been released. A reflective ballad with percussive guitar lines and magnificent vocal inflections from Patel, the song effectively showcases his raw talent.

LGSM sat down with Patel this past Thursday evening and was pleased not only to talk to an incredibly gifted individual, but also catch up with a good friend. Topics discussed include being a young musician in 2021, special trips to Ipswich and ice creams at Albert Dock…

Link to ‘You’ll Never Be Mine’:

LGSM: Your debut single ‘You’ll Never Be Mine’ was released earlier this week, is there a particular story about this song?

Nik Patel: It’s not necessarily about someone or something in particular. When I was writing the song I was in my Vine Court (University of Liverpool student residency) room, gazing at the lights of Tesco Express and KFC and everything just flowed together.

LGSM: That’s a fantastic set up you had there!

NP: Oh yeah, I essentially wrote a song about KFC…I was really impressed with myself when I had finished the song and I thought it was definitely one of the best I had written. The subject essentially is about letting the past go and embracing the future. When you come to the realization that some things might not work out, it’s hard, but it’s an experience you learn from.

LGSM: Are there any particular influences, musical or otherwise associated with this track?

NP: One of my biggest inspirations in terms of writing is Ed Sheeran. I first started writing music when I was 17 and just fell in love with his storytelling. Whilst I wouldn’t say my writing is ‘Sheeran-Esque’, considering the way he develops melodies and makes them intricate and rhythmic is important to my creative mindset.

In terms of this song, when I initially wrote it I played it a lot faster and it almost had an RnB feel to it. Eventually I wanted to slow it down and make it more of a ballad, it worked much better! The song is quite somber in tone, and now the pacing of the song matches that.

LGSM: How do you feel you have developed as a songwriter this past year?

NP: The way the world is at the moment tends to inspire you I suppose! I wrote the song in January or February of last year, so it perhaps does not reflect the big change in my life which was moving back to America. As awkward and as uncomfortable as that was, I wanted to preserve the negative feelings about leaving as when I look back on it from a creative perspective, I can see how far I have come. My writing has definitely developed through that experience.

Trying to write different kind of songs has also been important for me to try, I don’t want to be writing the same song over and over again! You see on the internet when an artist releases something totally out of their comfort zone and they will get hate for it, it doesn’t make sense to me.

“When I look back at where I was when I had to go home in March last year, I can see how far I have come now”

LGSM: Has the city of Liverpool impacted your work in any way?

NP: The title of my upcoming EP really answers that question…but I can’t reveal that now. Being in Liverpool was one of the best years of my life. I have moments that always have stayed with me, like spending time with my dad and getting an ice cream at Albert Dock. It became another home for me and I am forever grateful to have that experience.

The first day I spent by myself, I immediately went to Dawson’s and bought a guitar and when I got back to my room, I thought it was an opportune moment to write something. The relationships I made and the independence I gained were so important to me!

LGSM: If you could collaborate with any musician in the world (dead or alive!) who would it be?

NP: I would say Ed Sheeran again! I would pick Paul McCartney or John Lennon, but the reason I choose Ed Sheeran is that he’s been so important to me as a developing songwriter. I also love Suffolk, it’s a very special place in my heart. Whenever I walked into this place called Christchurch Park in Ipswich (Where Ed grew up!), I felt instantly calm and happy.