The Nashville Knack: Niko Kotoulas

The Nashville Knack: Niko Kotoulas

From Child Prodigy to Professional Composer
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Frédéric Chopin, Billy Joel, and Stevie Wonder were some of the most influential piano players of all time, but that list has been expanding further with pianists like Niko Kotoulas. Yes, his name may not ring a bell to you, but take a minute to hear the talent placed in the hands of this amazing piano player (Listen to his "Start a Fire" cover).

At the age of two, Niko was a child prodigy. He could barely play a chord on the small keyboard his parents bought him. Niko started to play along with the each melody he heard on the radio. Niko's parents recognized his potential, and placed him in piano lessons early on.


His piano teacher, Carolyn Chermak, taught Niko to play piano more efficiently. Some of his influences were through Greek folk, Gospel, and Hymns. As he grew older, he started to sing in his high school choir. Not only was he able to expand on his abilities, Niko's understanding for music theory was well founded in this time in his life thanks to his teacher Michael Samanski.

The words used to describe his major teachers/influencers were kind and well spoken as we continued our conversation. Niko now lives in New York City working 100 hours a week in finance and writing compositions. He is not alone in this nearly impossible endeavor.

With the help of his manager Matt Pellettiere, since November of 2016, the two formed a powerful team, which has helped in the production of Niko's latest album Dreams. This masterpiece of an album has combined the talent of artists Dan Berk, Caylen Hays, Sam Sohmer, Maria Maroni, and Jillian Steele to cover the vocals in each composition.

How Niko is able to balance a strenuous work schedule, compose beautiful pieces, and produce an album unlike anything that has come out in the past years is not something overlook. The passion put into each song can be heard in every note of songs like "Chasing You" and "Beating of This Heart."

In case you were not amazed yet, Niko played college basketball, majored in Economics at John Hopkins University, and, the cherry on top, he has side interest in making EDM music. Niko says to stay tuned in the near future, but to check out his new album Dreams first.

Take a soulful journey in each song the Niko's album has to offer. The breathtaking composition of each song is a treat with every second passed. In the words of Niko Kotoulas on his perception to success, "You can't get anywhere by yourself. Surround yourself with those on the mission. And remember, capital is liberating."

Cover Image Credit: Nashville Knack

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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Must-See Movies For Your Summer

Check out these movies in theaters soon!

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I can't wait till these movies come out. Going to the movies during summer is a great escape from the heat, giving you a few hours in the air conditioning while enjoying a big tub of popcorn.

Here are a few movies to check out this summer when you want to cool down for a little while:

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