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Rising Stars: Meet Niq Hivner of West End

Today we’d like to introduce you to Niq Hivner.

Hi Niq, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to today?
Growing up outside of Philadelphia, I was orphaned shortly before I graduated high school, and I was not having any idea of where I wanted to take my life. It wasn’t too long after I decided to take a chance and pursue a degree specifically in the music business and moved to Nashville; I never actually wanted or intended on making a career out of being a musician initially. However, in my early/mid-twenties, I spent about two years traveling and living abroad in Europe and finding myself telling my stories and wild experiences through my music for nothing more than fun and entertaining those who were involved in those journeys (I never even picked up my first guitar until I was 23). My writing started to become congruent with all the life lessons I learned along the way, which I had to learn independently since I was on my own early. I always wanted to display living complete, accessible, and authentic, and before I knew it, I had many songs that I felt were a blast and had legitimate potential. I even developed this sort of mentality that I call “Responsibly Reckless,” and it’s living, doing, and overall being authentically yourself perpetually as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of anyone else but yourself. And I felt as though these songs, stories, and lessons were valuable and genuine, and I could open the eyes of others to live as full and free as I was through my journey. So I decided to take my knowledge in the music business and combine it with something I truly believed in: myself. I banded together long-term friends and created the beast of a band known as Uncle Niq and the Bad Man Band!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Hell no! Since being on my own without parents (at a time which certainly felt like I was just a young kid), there were many lessons on how to be a grown adult that I was far from understanding. And I was incredibly broke for a long time and felt as though I was surviving by the skin of my teeth for years. But because of all of those things, I learned the value of life, living, and pursuing every day as though it was on purpose.

I lost my father when I was very young and when I got to my teens, I lost both my brother and my mother; looking back on it all these years later, it’s pretty bonkers to think about it all, but it made me realize something fundamental to my journey in life: every day I wake up and have the opportunity to do new and exciting things that add value to my life is a day and a chance that those lost will never have. So how could I not want to give it all the best I can? It’s a wild ride, but who knows if I would have lived this action-packed and fulfilling life if I never had the chance to learn these lessons! All the hardship carefully crafted me to be a dude who takes chances, and risks, lives incredibly authentic, and what I’d like to consider to be a certified bad-ass. Life is hard for all, but that’s never an excuse to fall behind, and life is never shy of opportunities.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I live a double life with my career. Besides pursuing a musician and songwriter career, I work primarily in my initial dream career as an event manager, developer, and operator. I’m incredibly proud of creating and developing events from start to finish, and I find the best at it. Whether it’s in concerts, festivals, private events, etc. I have a strong passion for creating magic in the event world! I’ve been fortunate enough to help develop events that have hosted incredible artists and clients such as Sheryl Crow, Ice-T, MC Hammer, The Lumineers, and many others! So even when I truly move to musicianship full time with Uncle Niq and the Bad Man Band, I still anticipate working in that event realm purely because I adore that line of work, and I’m proud of what I can do with it!

With both these paths in my career, I’ve always felt that my attitude, uniquely wild personality, and raw north-eastern roots are always on full display, and I see these authentic pieces as advantageous to my career. Hard to say from looking inward, but I regularly hear from peers and strangers that I’m an absolute wild card and an individual that people have never encountered before. Whether it’s true or them being endearing, I always live complete, wild, and authentic all the way through, and it’s gotten me to places that I never dreamt were ever even possible when I was young.

What makes you happy?
I’m a huge traveler, and since I had the chance to do so, I haven’t stopped! The way you learn and look at life gets completely reconstructed when you immerse yourself in other cultures, environments, and customs! It’s so exciting and humbling, and each time I visit a new country or region of the world, I learn something deep about humanity. There truly is nothing parallel to that, and everything I’ve become today is a byproduct of the journeys, risks, and adventures along the way. And while I’m young, mobile, and reckless, I see no better time to keep the traveling up. Each step in that direction constructs me to be a better human and see the world for what it is on a better level. Reading and learning about other cultures is one thing but seeing it in real-time and being a part of it changes you. Nothing in this world makes me happier than being changed for the better and growing in this incredibly vast world. I channel that in my songwriting, my lifestyle, and each unique experience I have, and thus, the more unique of a life and person I find myself becoming. What could be more exciting?

I’m hopeful the band and being a musician can continue to take me to new places. Like a feedback loop, the more I travel, the more I write, continuing to push the agenda of who I am and how to live complete, elevating my unique writing. Art is a reflection of oneself, so those experiences that bring me such joy will continue to make my musical career unique and exciting. If I live a life, no one has yet lived and written about it, and I’m giving listeners something they haven’t ever heard before. I’m damn excited to see it make a difference in that facet of my life, and I hope others are.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Mikayla Lewis Joey Wasilewski Fiza Javid

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