We had the good fortune of connecting with Niki Dawson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Niki, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
I think the most important philosophy I’ve clung to for my success so far, is to always be innovative. Artistic expansion can happen in visuals, sound, or writing. And that experimentation is what makes relevant things more refreshing. More importantly, it fosters authenticity in my opinion. Being innovative gives you an invaluable capability to adapt, for longevity as an entrepreneur.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Well, at 19 years old, I got my first break into ‘Hollywood’ on NBC’s singing show ‘The Voice’ (Season 1). Which snowballed into me getting a chance to perform in Las Vegas with ‘The Muppets’ . And later, I went on to win an episode on MTV’s singing show pilot ‘Copycat’, and also appeared on American Idol’s (Season XV) when they were still on FOX. And NO, it wasn’t easy at ALL. These are just the shows I was fortunate enough to be casted on, out of many other auditions for other shows that ended in the ever familiar “No.” And, either those “No’s” discourage you, or, just give you thick skin. I overcame those challenges by being relentless in my continued audition searches and processes. I auditioned for ‘American Idol’ for the first time actually when I was just 16 and completely choked under the pressure! Then I tried again seven years later, and got a little screen time!! haha Each time I was denied advancing to the next round in these lengthy audition processes, I learned to ask for constructive criticism from show producers to be “better” next time. And I think that’s what helped me my last time getting casted. So, never give up! I think the world should know more stories about underdogs that struggled to reach their goals. Like myself! And remember that you just need to be diligent towards your goals & dreams to see results. If you guys are interested in listening to my music, feel free to check me out on all major music streaming platforms. I even have a new single called ‘Lonely Wolf’ that’s out now for listeners to enjoy!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love supporting the local community over here in Jax, Florida!! So, I would take them to the awesome Riverside Art’s Market (RAM), where they can explore a variety of small businesses, everything from artists to farmers to makers and bakers. Then, I’d show them around all the great local eat spots like Murray Hillbilly! Murray Hillbilly is an Award-winning vegan southern comfort restaurant based in Jacksonville. They use local, natural, & organic ingredients to create flavorful plant-based food. And lastly, I’d introduce them to a cute spot in 5points Jax, called Wildcrafters. It’s a Tea & Kava Bar that features a wide variety of non-alcoholic craft cocktails along with organic teas & gluten-free pastries! And on Sunday nights they host a phenomenal Jazz Jam with Grammy Award-winning Drummer, Ulysses Owens Jr.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a shoutout to all my loyal fans!! They truly inspire me to keep creating no matter the obstacles. And I also want to give a big shoutout to Franziska Pugh with JAQs Publicity for the amazing support on my journey as well!
Photo 1 (red room) – Marc Mangra Photo 2 (Blue beach) – Kelly Martucci Photo 3 & 4 – Marc Mangra