Nicole Atkins wanted to make her sophomore album “a great-sounding, classic rock record.” But of a particular kind.
“This is like my ‘Layla’ ... my break-up record,” the 32-year-old New Jersey singer-songwriter says about “Mondo Amore,” which was inspired by the end of a romance. “I wanted to make something really beautiful out of situations I was going through. I don’t think it’s a cheap shot. I didn’t set out to make anything that was angry or sold anybody out.
“When you lose something you really love, it’s not hateful — it can be at times, but that’s just temporary. Mostly it’s sad, and within that sadness you can find beauty and put that to sounds.”
The personal relationship wasn’t the only thing Atkins lost in the interim after her 2007 debut, “Neptune City.” She also changed record labels and bands, dubbing her new outfit The Black Sea. There were moments of despair with all of that piled up on her, Atkins acknowledges, but she had no doubt she’d be heard from again.
“Yeah, there was lots of despair, followed by lots of, ‘OK, I’ve got to figure out what I’m going to do next,’ ” Atkins explains. “Once everything started crumbling, I just had to figure out what I needed to do to keep myself going, creatively and in my life, so I wouldn’t just be completely bitter and jaded.
“I’m not that kind of person. I just figured out how I could make a really great rock ‘n’ roll record and pull myself out of that hole.”
Nicole Atkins & The Black Sea and Cotton Jones perform Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.
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