Nick currently lives in Cardiff, UK. His regular work includes playing with his own groups, freelance work with local orchestras, pit work in shows, live jazz/ballroom drumming, and teaching drum kit and percussion in four schools.
Nick is known for his versatility across a range of percussion instruments and idioms; timpani, orchestral, Cuban, Brazilian, marimba, jazz vibraphone and kit. He is a published arranger for percussion ensembles and duos. Nick is also an adept rhythm guitarist.
Nick was brought up Somerset where he lived until 2003. He began his musical career with recorder lessons in primary school and received a valuable lesson in live music when he was the only member of the school recorder group to turn up to a Christmas church performance. Six-year-old Nick diligently played solo anyway. Piano lessons followed before his introduction to the drum kit at a local Saturday morning music centre. Before long he was learning with a teacher in school, and by the age of ten he was learning on the job in his first ensemble; the community wind band Leigh-Upon-Mendip Players (L.U.M.P.).
After this, sitting in a band became the norm for Nick throughout his school years. He progressed through the Somerset Music system until reaching County Concert Band level. Nick also started playing kit with the local community Big Band where the musical director took him under his wing and inspired a love of jazz with relentless loaning of cassette tapes of the greats from the Bebop era. At the same time Nick had begun playing percussion with the local Championship section brass band and he started to consider music as a career post-school.
After auditioning in four conservatoires, Nick accepted a place at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. From 2003-2007 he studied Orchestral Percussion, Timpani, Drum Kit and Jazz Vibraphone there; graduating with a 1st class degree. His final recital, which featured a multi-percussion solo accompanied by a ten-piece brass ensemble, was said to have raised the bar for the following generation of students. Nick's dissertation also became renowned as it was solely focused on the triangle, in a mere ten thousand words.
Nick's freelance career began before graduation as he was hired in June 2007 to play marimba on-stage in an actor-musician production of 'Macbeth', staged by the Exeter Northcott outdoors at twilight in the eerie natural bowl of the Rougemont Castle Gardens. Following 'Macbeth', he returned to Cardiff to begin a teaching career with local music services and schools, as well as establishing himself as an extra percussionist with the local orchestras BBC NOW and WNO; with whom he has played at the BBC Proms several times and gone on nationwide tours.
In the summer of 2008 Nick spent a month in Havana, Cuba, where he studied salsa percussion with Alejandro Mayor, a teacher from the University of Havana. They had met when Alejandro spent a residency at the RWCMD in 2004, and it was that experience that began Nick's love of Latin American music and percussion. After returning from Havana, Nick began to put together arrangements and rehearse with the earliest incarnation of what became his salsa group Fiesta Resistance. This group's current 7-piece format was firmly established by 2012 and they have played gigs across the UK ever since.
2008 was also the year that the Blackhawk Big Band began. This group of local musicians were determined to avoid commercial big band music; instead focusing on more challenging material by the likes of Buddy Rich, Wynton Marsalis, Pat Metheny and Chick Corea. Nick joined, and his kit playing found new feet after a hiatus in regular playing since the community big band days of his teens. This development of his drumming led to being hired on kit with QDOS pantomimes for a couple of years. Nick's experience and contacts in theatres also led to a stint on the percussion chair of 'Evita' which toured the UK and Germany in the Spring-Summer of 2011.
In 2009 the composer of the 'Macbeth' score, Thomas Johnson, brought Nick in to play onstage once again, with a new actor-musician play 'Cobbo'. The mesmerising score saw Nick play mainly marimba and glockenspiel, very often at the same time. At this point Nick was probably the UK's most experienced actor-musician marimbist.
It was around this time that Nick was asked to play Hans Zimmer's theme from 'True Romance' on marimba at a wedding. He realised it was too complex for one player and formed a duo with his conservatoire friend Mike Rose. They put together a whole set of duo arrangements of popular classics and wedding music favourites, and became the world's pioneer marimba duo playing wedding music. Despite the narrowness of the niche they have played a couple of weddings a year on average, as far afield as the French Riviera, and 'True Romance' remains the most popular request.
Some more touring followed in 2014 with the 'wild Celtic' band Here Be Dragons. This long-established band had contacts around continental Europe, and Nick joined them for several festival tours in Italy and France.
In 2015 Nick and singer friend Chris Powell formed The Bad Ambassadors; a Divine Comedy tribute act. Not to be daunted by the Divine Comedy's sweeping orchestral indie-pop soundscapes, The Bad Ambassadors amassed enough string, wind and brass players to become the envy of the Divine Comedy themselves (who rarely tour with much beyond a rhythm section). The tribute band played a couple of gigs in 2016-2017 and had fifteen musicians onstage at their peak.
Nick's great ambition to visit Rio de Janeiro was realised in 2016; not only did he spend the Olympic fortnight in the city spectating at the Games, he went for a few lessons on Brazilian percussion and experienced a range of incredible live music in Rio's clubs. His newest group, 5-piece Samba Ôba, formed around this time; and played a few gigs of sambas and bossa novas before a pause while two of the group started their families.