Casual Victim Pile

Hometown SXSW showcasing sampler

Casual Victim Pile

Nakia

SXSW showcase: Thursday, March 18, St. David's Bethel Hall, 8pm

Nakia stood on the side of the huge Austin City Limits Music Festival stage in 2008 in a now legendary moment when the electrifying Sharon Jones, midperformance with the Dap-Kings, pointed her microphone to him. With a voice big as Texas, he laid out a sweet, gut-busting response to Jones' heartfelt call. Jones was duly blown away.

Nakia – the last name is Reynoso, but he uses simply Nakia – moved to Austin in mid 2002 with the noblest of purposes: to sing, write, and perform soul music. That he did handily, with funky outfit His Southern Cousins, well-received EP Playing the Cards, and last year's full-length CD Water to Wine. And if the unexpected moment of vocal glory shared with Jones reaffirmed his reason for being, his years of gigs and thousands of hours of practice paid off the second he opened his mouth.

A milestone moment like that can be liberating for a musician. Last fall, Nakia sought a different channel and disbanded the Cousins.

"Performing behind the piano is where it really all started for me," he explains of the decision to redirect his playing and writing. "Many of these songs I'm singing are the purest of my songwriting. It's pretty cathartic for me on a lot of levels.

"I'm so grateful to be here in Austin. Austin is a true original, and it requires a real level of authenticity to be a player. Living here, I have discovered a new honesty in my own voice. We're fortunate that we have such a large group of folks listening to soul music in Austin, and I hope people hear that soul in my new solo recordings," he chuckles.

"I'll never stop singing soul music."

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