Nikki & Rich

Prior to collaborating, Nikki Leonti released a handful of CCM albums for the Pamplin label and toured as a backup singer for Carrie Underwood, while Rich Skillz produced tracks for Ludacris (“Ultimate Satisfaction”) and Eve (“Fantasy”). Given that Skillz had been told by collaborators that his work was “too big,” not spacious enough for their voices, he knew his career was about to turn a corner when Leonti's powerful voice and bold attitude instead “ate it up.” Leonti and Skillz described their sound as “Alicia [Keys] meets the Supremes while hanging out with Lauryn Hill listening to OutKast's ‘Hey Ya’ remixed by Phil Spector.” Going by the mischievous and assured throwback sound of the duo’s initial material (“Cat and Mouse,” “Next Best Thing”), which incorporated flashes of Brill Building pop and girl group soul over a hard-hitting rhythmic punch, Hill was presumably humming some variation on “Doo Wop (That Thing)” rather than staring at the ceiling.
Andy Kellman, Rovi

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