Lockdown 2.0 might be over, but we still don’t have our gigs back, so we’re bringing the heat to your nights in with the UK’s best emerging acts. The talented artists that are bubbling under the surface waiting to make 2021 their year. Tune in to our weekly Instagram lives and discover your next favourite performer. Stick to your bubbles, pour some bubbles and check out who’s bubbling up on the music scene!

Each week we’ll be introducing you to one of our ‘ones to watch’ so you can get to know the people behind the tunes. This week, we have our final instalment with Nikita (@nikitahollym), the sparkling singer/songwriter who we’re a little bit too obsessed with...

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hello! I’m Nikita, a singer/songwriter from Essex.

Describe your sound?

I always find it tricky to define my sound as I’ve found that it is something that is ever evolving, but the one element that always stays the same is that it has Neo-soul at the roots of it.

When did you start making music?

I’ve been told that as a toddler I would often wake up my mum singing, ever since I can remember I’ve been singing and making up songs on the spot. In junior school I started to write my songs down and I’ve found it to be an outlet for me. When I first hear a beat I will record myself free styling over it and when I listen back it’s like somewhere in my subconscious has taken over and poured out how I’m feeling at the time, sometimes it can be a bit of a surprise.

How would you describe your personal style?

Timeless. Good fashion is always timeless. I don’t tend to follow trends as I go for pieces that resonate with me, I think if you love something you’ll wear it well and you can never ‘go out of fashion’.

What are your passions outside of music?

Outside of music another passion of mine is cooking, I absolutely adore the time I spend in the kitchen. I like to push myself with tricky recipes and I get a real sense of pleasure in feeding my family and friends with good food. I love exploring new places and I relish in meeting new people. I’ve done a fair bit of backpacking and a ski season as I love to snowboard. Last but not least, I have a real green thumb. I’ve been growing my own vegetables and I like to say that I have many plant babies that I am a fair bit obsessed with.

You were recently diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). To spread awareness, can you tell us a bit about that?

It has been a crazy year to say the least! GBS left myself having to learn to walk and talk again. To start from the beginning, GBS is an auto-immune disease where your immune system attacks your peripheral nerves. This causes severe nerve damage and stops signals from the brain travelling along them properly, which can cause problems such as numbness, weakness, pain and eventually paralysis.

For myself it caused paralysis in my legs, arms and face. It was quite scary at the time when I didn’t know what I was dealing with, but when I was diagnosed I felt a sense of relief. There is no cure for GBS but there is a treatment that can help to slow down your deterioration which is intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG). Once you’ve had the treatment you have to work your way back from where your body has left you. I knew it would be a long journey ahead but I’ve found a way to be grateful for the journey and all that it has taught me.

You’ve been sharing your story online, what’s the main thing that you want people to know about GBS?

GBS isn’t hereditary or contagious, it can happen to anyone. It’s still not known entirely why this happens but in most cases, GBS occurs a few days or weeks after an infection. For myself the early symptoms were pins and needles in both my hands and feet, my temperature gage was off, cold water would feel like it was burning. I then started to fall over a lot, I was beginning to lose my coordination. I felt tired and I have extreme pain in my back. With GBS, the faster you receive treatment, the quicker your recovery will be, although every case of GBS can vary to the next. If you ever experience these symptoms get yourself to hospital immediately!

How do you find the light in dark situations?

Throughout this journey I’d suffered from a lack of control but the one thing I did have power over was my mindset. I am someone that can find humour in most situations and I really think that has pulled me through a lot of dark times. One thing I’ve realised now is that the only person that I am up against in life is myself and as long as I am better than yesterday I am winning.

How do you keep your sparkle?

Having self love is a major way that I keep my sparkle. Being able to look within and grow from our mistakes and learn to love the person that we are and finding compassion for ourselves. It can sometimes be a bit of a balancing act but letting go of perfection and loving yourself, flaws and all, allows you to let your light shine bright.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned this year?

Wow where do we begin haha! This year has taught me more lessons than any other year in my existence. When everything is uncertain, everything that is important becomes very clear. Stop stressing the little things and overthinking. Just go for it, life is too short and you never know what is around the corner.

How are you going to make 2021 yours?

I have high hopes for 2021 and a lot of plans in the pipeline. I’m going to be releasing my newest EP, and if the world permits, I would like to go on a tour. To combine my love of music and travel is the ultimate dream.