Profile photo of modern soul singer, Nick Hakim sitting in front of a lake

Selection Section: Nick Hakim’s Favorite Records

The Selection Section calls on some of our favorite DJs, bands and artists to share some of their most loved releases with us. On the eve of the release of his album ‘Green Twins‘ on ATO Records, Nick Hakim tells us about his top 10 favorite records!

Profile photo of modern soul singer, Nick Hakim sitting in front of a lake

Hakim hails a from musical household in Washington D.C. His older brother got him into bands like Bad Brains and Nirvana, while his parents introduced him to Nueva Cancion. Once he reached high school, he forged his own path of musical discovery, and taught himself to play piano. ‘Green Twins’ came together in the 4 years since moving to Brooklyn, during which time he also embraced the live circuit, both as a solo musician as well as with his band.

‘Green Twins’ has already met a warm reception, wiht NPR Music’s First Listen saying “Nick Hakim writes songs that honor his own complexity and the complexity of love (they are, in part, inextricable), delivered through brilliant, pillowy, jazz-inflected arrangements. But, perhaps above all, it’s the voice – striking vessel of emotion and impressive technical force.” You can read more from First Listen and hear the full album here.

The combination of his lush, soulful vocals, beautifully visceral lyrics, and warm-toned guitar make for a moving listening experience. ‘Green Twins’ is definitely one to get your hands on!

Check out some Nick Hakim’s favorite records that helped shape ‘Green Twins’:

Nick Hakim's favorite records: Carole King and Gerry Goffin

1. Carole King and Gerry Goffin – Go Away Little Girl

I love Carole King. She’s a hero of mine. She wrote this song with her husband Gerry Goffin. I really love Nancy Wilson’s interpretation of this song. She entitles it “Go Away Little Boy”. Nancy Wilson is also one of my favorite vocalists of all time. This leads to the next one.

Nick Hakim's favorite records: Jimmy Scott - Little Jimmy Scott

2. Jimmy Scott – When Did You Leave Heaven – Little Jimmy Scott

“There would be no Nancy Wilson if it weren’t for Little Jimmy Scott” says Nancy Wilson herself.  SO many were so inspired by this man. I love this song so much. My friend Dylan recently played this song for me while were hanging. I had checked out Jimmy Scott in college but this re-sparked my love and I listen to this song a lot…ask my band members.. I play this tune in the van while on tour all the time…

Nick Hakim's favorite records: The Love Potion - This Love

3. The Love Potion – This Love/Moby Blinks

So this is a special piece of music for me because I discovered it while working at a record store. My co-worker just got a box of 45s that he started going through and found this one and we put it on and were MINDDDDblown by how amazing it was. I love the contrast of the music on each side. ‘This Love’ is an incredible love ballad and then the other side is an incredible, guitar-driven instrumental. We used to do a cover of ‘Moby Binks’ live.

Nick Hakim's favorite records: Marvin Gaye - A Tribute To Nat King Cole

4. Marvin Gaye – Sweet Lorraine – A Tribute To The Great Nat King Cole

This is one of my favorite recordings of younger Marvin Gaye. He was heavily influenced by Nat King Cole, who was one of the first artists to sing this jazz standard in 1940.

Nick Hakim's favorite records: The Primitives - The Ostrich

5. The Primitives – The Ostrich

My partner in crime, Andrew Sarlo, and I always share music with one another as we work on music. We’ve recorded music together for the past (almost) 6 years. This is a song he showed me when I first moved to New York while we started working on the Green Twins LP together.

Nick Hakim's favorite records: Nick Drake - Demo Collections

6. Nick Drake – Saturday Sun – Demo Collection Volume One

A good friend Linden Jay, who’s from London, showed me Nick Drake in my first year of college. For some reason he had EVERY single recording of Nick Drake from the three albums he made, to all the compilation albums, which had demo recordings!!! I love hearing artists’ raw demos. There were 3 demos back to back of this tune where you can hear people talking, other instruments playing in the background, sounded like he was at a conservatory or something. This was one of the first songs i taught myself completely by myself by ear without any help.

Nick Hakim's favorite records: Jack DeJohnette - Zebra

7. Jack DeJohnette – Zebra

This is another special find. I was working at a record/book shop in Boston and the same friend (Dylan Day) who recently played Jimmy Scott for me, came in and looked around for a while. He picked up this album and was like “mannnnn this is super rare DeJohnette !” We listened to it and he bought it. Then he left it at my house and I still have it and kinda don’t want to give it back because I listen to it all the time. It features Lester Bowie on trumpet. Jack DeJohnette is playing synthesizers on this record and it’s amazing.

Nick Hakim's favorite records: Jenson '87 Marching Band

8. Pride Of Oklahoma – Nasty – Jenson ’87 Marching Band Volume 2

I think this one of the coolest covers of all time. Questlove played this somewhere..I think it was on some interview or maybe just on his Instagram, I can’t remember. My partner loves Janet Jackson, as do I, and I remember showing her this and that was fun…Thanks ?love

Nick Hakim's favorite records: Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson - Winter In America

9. Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson – Song For Bobby Smith – Winter In America

Probably my favorite song by Gil Scott Heron/Brian Jackson. This album Winter in America is one of my favorites as well. It was recorded in a short period of time in Silver Spring, MD. this is a perfect song in my opinion.

Nick Hakim's favorite records: Backyard Band - Still Ray

10. Backyard Band – Still Ray

I love gogo music. I love DC. I love the ballads as well as the high energetic vamps. Although there are many gogo ballads I love to listen to, this one for some reason just feels special and like it was a spiritual experience for those performing. I think this is timeless. Weensey is one of my favorite singers. I grew up listening to this band. This is a cover of a Raphael Saadiq song. We used to listen to this all day in high school.  

Pick up a copy of Nick Hakim’s brand new album, Green Twins, out through ATO Records on 19 May! And catch him on tour:

May 20 Washington, DC – Rock & Roll Hotel
Nov 7 Bristol, UK – The Lantern
Nov 8 London, UK – KOKO
Nov 9 Manchester, UK – The Deaf Institute
Nov 10 Glasgow, UK – King Tut’s
Nov 11 Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club

Update: the motivation for picking Gil Scott Heron/Brian Jackson has been edited after publication

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