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Stevie Nicks’ crucial advice for younger artists

As arguably the most important female voice in rock history, Stevie Nicks has carved out a legacy to be marvelled at. The twice-inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has had a career spanning five decades over which popular music has developed dramatically. 

Nicks rose to fame in the late 1970s, trailblazing a unique pop-rock style as the key voice of Fleetwood Mac. During this pivotal period, she seemed to be drawing inspiration from all the right places. Her earliest influence was Joni Mitchell and, fter hearing the legendary folk singer’s unique and enveloping voice in the late 1960s and early ‘70s, Nicks had decided that her dream was to become a singer. At around the same time, Crosby, Stills and Nash inspired the young Nicks to channel her energy toward a harmonising folk-rock style.

However, despite these more obvious influences from her youth, it transpires that she tends to listen to a lot of different music these days and has described her taste as “crazy” and “unexpected”. While appreciating the giants on whose shoulders she stands, it’s apparent that the legendary singer now seeks to be the best icon and mentor for the next generation of artists.

Nicks delved into some of the details of her modern music tastes in a 2020 interview with Vogue. She piled praise on her new best friend, Harry Styles, saying that she loved his album Fine Line. Elsewhere, she expressed her love for Miley Cyrus and Haim, revealing that she likes to keep up with the times and feel current by taking younger artists under her wing.

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“I’m inspired by them,” Nicks said. “I’m inspired that Miley wants to make music with me. I’m inspired that the Haim girls are my biggest fans—and I theirs. A lot of these kids are making the amazing records I’ve been waiting for them to make.”

“I’m not like other 72-year-olds,” she continued. “I listen to current music because I want to be current. When people find out how old I am versus the music I’m listening to, they think it doesn’t gel at all. I’ve been collecting musical knowledge since I was in the fourth grade listening to the singles my grandfather used to bring home.”

Nicks added: “I listened to Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers until the sixth grade when R&B radio became top 40. I said goodbye country and hello R&B, so it’s not like I’m ever stuck on one thing. What I love about Harry [Styles] is that he’s very old school but still modern. And that’s kinda like me.” 

As a keen mentor, Nicks has no end of advice that she’s determined to bestow unto the next generation of performing artists. 

“When I decided I wanted to be a solo artist, I’d only been in Fleetwood Mac for a few years,” Nicks continued in her Vogue interview. “I tried to figure out a way to do it gracefully because I didn’t wanna break up the band. I just wanted to sit at my piano and write poetry.”

The Fleetwood Mac singer continued: “After we did a record and a really long tour, the band scurried off to different parts of the world while I’d just be home writing songs for a year and a half. What did they care what I did while they were all on vacation? I’ve always said all the way through these two careers I’ve had: If you’re in a band first, never break it up.”

“I know Beyoncé because I spent a day with Destiny’s Child making the ‘Bootylicious’ video. I owe them a debt of gratitude because that’s the one time I ever got to pretend I played rock-and-roll guitar. But when Beyoncé made the decision to be a solo artist, she didn’t see herself going back to Destiny’s Child every couple of years.”

She concluded: “And that’s a perfectly acceptable decision because sometimes that’s what people wanna do. I, on the other hand, said, ‘Why not have the ability to go back to Fleetwood Mac whenever I want?’ Being a Gemini, I get bored really easily, so being able to have those two careers was great.”

In 2019, Harry Styles inducted Stevie Nicks into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She became the first woman to have been inducted into the Hall of Fame twice; the first time had been with Fleetwood Mac, and then in 2019, she was inducted again for her outstanding solo career. Watch the induction below.

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