“Higher Levels” – just released!

You can listen to “Higher Levels” on our music page and buy the song through iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody and many other outlets.


The seeds for the song were planted during an online call for songwriting collaborations from Sly & Robbie – the great Reggae duo and production team.

Sly & Robbie contacted me through MySpace in 2007 and invited me to work with them on some new songs they were developing,” said Nikki O’Neill, “They posted various riddim tracks and one in particular just jumped out at me, so I wrote a melody and lyrics over it and sent it back to Sly & Robbie. From there, the project sat for a while so I brought it to my band one day and Rich and Josh totally embraced it. We just had a creative surge and one great idea came right after the next. It was the kind of writing and arranging experience you hope and wish for every time you work on a song – just magical!

We continued to work on the tune in the following months, first writing a chorus section and then soon adding a completely new outro section. As with our previous two songs, we brought in Tiger Rose’s keyboardist Ed Lyon, who laid down some killer Hammond and Clavinet parts.  And then we invited some of the greatest singers in LA’s independent music scene to perform with us in the big, gospel choir part at the end of the song.

We were recording some background vocals ourselves one night and after Rich, Josh and I recorded our voices, we wanted to keep going. We wanted more voices, more lift, more emotion, so we started making some phone calls. Some of our favorite singers were coming over—Halina Janusz from Mother Jones Band, deLUXE from Too Pretty for Porn, Ruby Friedman from The Ruby Friedman Orchestra, just to name a few—and the next thing we knew, we had a full-blown choir. In classic fashion for this tune, it’s so much more than we originally envisioned, but It’s exactly what we wanted in the end,” said O’Neill.

“Higher Levels” is our third song release in 2010. “Say What You Think” was released in March and “Distance” was released in April. All songs are available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon, MySpace Music, Rhapsody, Napster, eMusic, and many more music sites.


Among the world’s most prolific and long-lasting production teams, drummer Lowell “Sly” Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare, commonly referred to simply as “Sly & Robbie,” have played on an estimated 200,000 tracks since they first started working together in Jamaica in 1975. The duo’s roots reside in Reggae, and they are credited with introducing the “Rockers” beat in 1976, the “Rub a Dub” sound in the early 1980s, in addition to being heavy contributors to the computer assisted music trend in the mid 1980s. Sly & Robbie have written, recorded and/or performed with legendary artists including Ben Harper, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, The Rolling Stones, Carlos Santana, Peter Tosh, Black Uhuru, Sinead O’Connor, and many more.


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  1. “Higher Levels” is by far my favorite. Maybe because it’s so happy and summery, maybe because of all the levels and voices in it. You all did an amazing job on that one (though they are all good). Can’t wait to hear the next release!

  2. Hey Nikki and Rich, I love this song. It’s well-constructed and the lyrics have an emotional depth that is becoming a trademark of Nikki’s songs.

    Oh yeah, did I mention that it totally rocks? Congrats on yet another awesome production!

  3. Hey, Nikki!

    Congrats on another song well done! I don’t know why you aren’t more famous – you are definitely more talented and diverse than so much of what’s out there now. Really like the groove and the light reggae feel of this song as well as the killer harmonies towards the end that add a depth and dimension to the song that reinforce the feel and the lyrics.

    Keep up the great work, girl, you’re awesome!


  4. What a wonderful, positive, bright song. I love the sway of the reggae feel.
    I LOVE Nikki’s voice and the layered, interesting, harmonies.
    And, of course, the production is out of this world. GREAT WORK everyone!!!

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