Beauty and the Muse

Bass Queen x Nik West

Posted on: June 6, 2015

Nik_West_FredSmithPhotography2sm(Photo Credit:Fred Smith Photography)

I was invited to the “Black Girls Rock” concert in Detroit a few months back. This girl with a huge colorful Mohawk and sweet metallic shoulder pads passed me in the audience. In my head, I was screaming. She’s go it!

Fast forward. I saw her again on a panel discussion the next day. I worked up the courage to talk to her. She was super down-to-earth. And here we are. I am excited to show you these dope photos! And you get a double dose of awesomeness from vocalist and bassist, Nik West.

Nik_West_Snarky(Photo Credit: Fred Smith Photography)

LV: What were your fashion inspirations growing up?

NW: Fashion inspirations were my mother and my drawings. I was an avid illustrator from the age of 4. The only things I would draw were people’s hands and fashion illustrations of clothing that my mom wore to work. I would add little belts or big jewelry to the drawings. I had a big imagination.

LV: Describe your fashion/identity as a young adult?

NW: I really didn’t get into fashion on myself. It was mostly drawings of what I imagined on paper. I wore boy clothes. I have a much older brother and I wanted to be like him so I tried dressing like him as much as possible lol! Then all of my friends started dressing like me. So we had a group of girls that dressed like boys in middle school and the first two years of high school.

LV: When did you decide that you wanted to be involved in the arts?

NW: When I was 15, my mom took me to a modeling showcase because I was so tall and long. To my surprise, multiple modeling agencies wanted to sign me. So I decided I would see where it took me. Later I became Nordstrom’s jean girl. I was the model that was photographed weekly in their newest lines of jeans from all designers.

Nik_West_Orianthi_607(Photo Credit: Michelle Shiers)

LV: What magazines, campaigns, organizations, and/or media have you been featured in?

NW: Teen Vogue, Black Hair Magazine, Image and Style Mag, American Idol (special guest) Metro Times, Seattle Times. Multiple runway shows, Fashion weeks, and publications.

LV: What types of setbacks or obstacles have you faced as a woman in the industry?

NW: With music, the boys wouldn’t even give me a chance to play with them. I wasn’t good enough I guess. But my dad gave me an identity with my musicianship. He inspired me to keep playing and not to worry about the boys’ opinions. I used it as ammunition to be the best and to be unique on purpose.


(Photo Credit:John Beckett)

LV: What are some of the projects you are working on currently?

NW: I just finished my EP Say Somethin’ and I am very proud of this because it describes who I am not just as an artist, but as a producer and writer. I am currently working on my Bass In Your Face Tour which is how WE met while in Detroit. I am in the process of wrapping up the Queen of Strings Competition, which is a worldwide female bass and guitar competition that I founded. We have some amazing talent and for our first year we had an enormous amount of entries. I am also starting a mentorship program through the Queen of Strings to mentor young ladies on their instruments and just in the industry. Everyone needs a mentor, and mine happen to be male, but I would love to have a system that involves women mentoring other women in the industry.

I am also doing commercials (I don’t have my mohawk on in them so you may or may not recognize me much…and that’s okay lol!) and I am in the process of creating my signature bass for the masses.

LV: How would you describe your individual style?

NW: Very eclectic. I’m part rocker, part punk, part hippie, and part anything else I feel on a particular day. I don’t really have a specific style. But I like anything out of the ordinary. I love bright colors. If someone else is doing it, I tend to go the other direction. I think my hair has inspired others to do something similar as well. I wear it because it means so much to me. It is a brightly colored mohawk molded into the shape of a bass clef and it continues into a long braid on one side of my body. For instance, Janelle Monae wore something similar to the Met Ball this year with the long braid and many of my fans posted the Nik West inspirations on her page and tagged me many times. I thought it looked beautiful! It’s very flattering to have others take notice of my style and wear it so elegantly as well.

nik-west-fender-bass(Photo Credit: Demann Crawford)

LV: Define beauty and confidence…

NW: I think they both deserve their own definitions from me lol!! Beauty is anything we want it to be at the time. It is not what society tells us it is. Beauty can be that ugly sweatshirt we cut up and made it into our own masterpiece. Beauty can be the scars we have that tell our true story. Beauty is sometimes those things we like to cover up because society tells us to. But Confidence is doing just the opposite of covering up the scars. It is the internal understanding of who you are and who you are not and being able to flaunt who you are in a way that inspires others to do the same. Confidence IS beauty

LV: What advice would you give other women who are in your position or want to get to your position?

NW: Don’t wait on others to make it happen. God gives us all everything we need to succeed. We just have to recognize that and take baby steps toward our goals. Write down your goals daily and do something every single day (even the weekends) that push you toward your goal. Be yourself and learn to master the art of differentiation, meaning, don’t try and be like everyone else. Be different, be bold, be confident, and most of all, BE NICE to others. If it doesn’t uplift someone, try and hold back on speaking about it. When you get, be sure to give. Be thankful for every little success no matter how small. It sets you up for bigger successes.

Nik_West4(Photo Credit: Fred Smith Photography)

LV: Leave us with an awesome quote.

NW: “Talent is the ability to hit the mark no one else can hit. Genius is the ability to hit the mark no one else can see.” I strive to one day be marked as a genius (in more than just calculus LOL!!)

Follow Nik West on Instagram @ NikWestBass

And check out updates on her website @ www.


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Over pizza, a friend and I talked openly about hijab and sexism we’d experienced around it. 
Many people assumed that because I wear hijab it means I’m married. Hence, the idea of a woman wears hijab for a man and not herself or for God. 
She shared a story about going to a club with her hijab and being told that she shouldn’t be there by random Muslim men because she was hijabi. She bluntly replied, “Neither you or I should be in the club as Muslims.” Her story triggered me because I too had been through the same scenario. In addition to that I remember when my ex used to constantly tell me that I didn’t love God enough or I wasn’t Muslim because I doubted wearing hijab. But the chick he ended up going out with, during our marriage, was a non-hijabi 🤔 
My friend said something that resonated with me. “If it’s so easy to wear hijab, then why don’t men do it? They won’t. Because it makes them visible.” Being visibly Muslim, for some of us, isn’t easy. To wear or continue to wear hijab isn’t always easy. So, why are we so harsh on non-hijabis? 
When I went to California this summer, I decided that I was going to wear a bathing suit and ditch my hijab. For so long, I always wondered what it’d be like. Although, I felt guilty for showing my body as a Muslim I also felt empowered because I had the choice. And that I was very much so still Muslim whether I was covered or not. 
As a Muslim woman, I applaud you for wearing hijab, but I also understand if you aren’t there yet. Not all Muslims come in one size fits all. 
What are some common misconceptions about Muslim women that you’ve heard? What’s your take on hijabi vs non-hijabi? And anyone can chime in on this discussion ☕️
Photo: @funlens 
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