Quite probably the best resident band in Abu Dhabi — and with various awards to prove it — The International Playboys will be familiar to anybody who has frequented the capital’s cult subterranean bar Heroes.
But while not ripping through everything from contemporary chart hits to AC/DC for the past six years, their scarlet-haired frontwoman Nicola Warwick has been honing her solo craft. On Tuesday [March 7], she unleashes her debut EP of original material, entitled BOAT (which stands for Born on a Tuesday), with a special release-day launch show at Heroes, backed by the band.
The Cape Town native, 31, tells us more about her musical ambitions.
What inspired the EP and its title?
“I learnt last year that I was born on a Tuesday and most of the significant things that have happened to me have fallen on a Tuesday. Funnily enough, the launch was only able to happen on this given Tuesday as well. “I write about being human. About love and life. I’m merely putting feelings and thoughts into melody and rhyme that everyone else at some stage have felt or dealt with. All of the songs are personal, be it my own experience or something witnessed.”
How long have you been working on original material?
“I’ve been writing songs since I was a teenager, but really only dug into it all a year back being in the studio. Creatively, it was many nights staying up very late to finish an idea, sending it to my producer back in South Africa and bouncing ideas back and forth before he started pre-production. I had a week to record the album back in Cape Town.”
You’re a confident frontwoman while covering other artists’ material with the band at Heroes, but is playing your own songs live going to be more nerve-racking?
“I’m already feeling anxious, so I imagine on the night I’ll be super-nervous. I’m also very excited. I promised myself I would release my original songs to whomever wants to listen. A major bucket-list item ticked off.”
Have you been dropping in a few original songs in your regular Heroes sets?
“Yes, we have and it’s gone down a storm, especially on a Thursday night, when it all kicks off here. That was to test the response at first, but [now] we’re not performing any of the songs until the launch night.”
Do the other members of the band have ambitions to record/perform their own songs?
“Definitely. As we rehearse for the EP launch, everyone has become more excited and supercharged for future prospects.”
Online, you have cited the likes of Pink, Kelly Clarkson and Paramore as your main influences, who are all very pop-based artists.
“I’ve heard that I sound similar to these incredible vocalists, so I put them down as references. Aside from Pink, I’m not influenced by the other artists mentioned. Personally I love an epic rock song. But creatively I think I’m more influenced by Roxette, really. I’m a sucker for anything catchy — a hook.”
If you could record one cover song, what would it be?
"It changes all the time, but let's say What's Up? by 4 Non Blondes. Vocally, an incredible song."
“For The International Playboys, we’re so exited to see where this EP goes and work on material ourselves as well. As a solo artist, I’m already working on an Afrikaans album. In whatever language, I’ll keep on writing and recording until I have nothing to say anymore.”
The EP launch starts at 9.30pm on Tuesday March 7 at Heroes, Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Hamdan bin Mohammed Street, Abu Dhabi.