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On the Record with Nicole Atkins

"I should be doing the sound that I want to, because it's the only thing that can really last."

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New Jersey native Nicole Atkins now has three full-length albums under her belt, and nothing to prove. Her new album, Slow Phaser, charts new territory for her, as bass beats and understated sonic effects hammer her message home. At times jarring, and at all junctures unexpected, it's a stripped-down performance from an artist who knows exactly what she wants to say.

MTV called your single "Girl You Look Amazing" a "sad-selfie anthem."

They totally nailed it. That's exactly what the song is about, you know? That whole psychology, with the Instagram thing. "Oh God, my life is in shambles, but look how great I look right now, everybody!"

Slow Phaser has some strong vibes of loss and regret, while at the same time your narrators seem really empowered.

I wrote a few songs before [Hurricane Sandy] that were based on relationships: relationships that didn't work out, friendships that didn't work out, and kind of feeling like an outcast. Then the storm happened, and I was writing a lot about the devastation and the loss of a lot of things that I always thought would permanently be there. Realizing that some of the things that I was focusing on before that were so small in the grand scope of everything — it did feel empowering. It did feel like, I should be doing the sound that I want to, because it's the only thing that can really last. People go away, people die, buildings come and go, but the sound is always gonna be there.

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