Music

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Where have you seen Araya Nicks before?

Perhaps you know the SoCal stunner as the face of Nordstrom’s summer shorts campaign. Or maybe you remember her wearing electrodes on her head and negotiating a vine-covered labyrinth in Chris Brown’s “Don’t Wake Me Up” music video?

Here’s a new context in which to view her: solo recording artist.

Nicks is currently working on her own album as a vocalist, and we’ve been turning up on the bus ride to work lately to her cut “One Good Reason.” Check that out below–and get the low-down on her favorite jams, movies and travel bucket list.

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Video portrait by Elizabeth Rudge | makeup by Jenny Verador | hair by Eric Wennberg

Legendary drummer, bandleader and fiercely proud Bay Area native Sheila E. was the hardest of hardcore divas in the 1980s. It broke her down. Now she uses music to build people up.

Back when she ran with Prince and his crew, the timbale expert enforced 12-hour rehearsals for her band and gave commands, not suggestions. She had hits (“The Glamorous Life,” “A Love Bizarre”) and built a lasting work ethic into countless musicians, like Raphael Saadiq who joined her cohort when he was 14. She also became a cold, unfeeling person. She details the transformation in her book The Beat of My Own Drum.

Now that’s all behind her and she’s found the love of music again. You can hear it in her album Icon from 2014 and see it in her music-therapy foundation Elevate Hope. We caught up with her while she was coaching a bunch of young players in Seattle for More Music at the Moore Theatre, teaching them to find their own voices.

We did not talk to her about Prince. We did talk about her dad, Latin jazz heavyweight Pete Escovedo; her godfather, Tito Puente; Krush Groove, the classic hip-hop movie she co-starred in with Run-DMC; and the fact that it took her leaving her family cocoon of supportive musicians to learn about the sexist notion that women shouldn’t play the drums.

Shop: T by Alexander Wang jacket | rag & bone dress

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One particular vision of spring style we endorse: dressing like a Starburst Easter egg in adidas x Pharrell Williams gear. Just because the holiday’s over doesn’t make it wrong. There is something sublime and optimistic about this much color in one place.

It makes us want to turn up the volume on one of our favorite sublime and optimistic Pharrell songs.

No, not this one.

This one.

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Shop: adidas x Pharrell Williams teeadidas x Pharrell Supercolor track jacket | all adidas Originals

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Ty Dolla $ign with 1970 Buick Gran Sport

Images courtesy Shomi Patwary and Atlantic Records

Music video director Shomi Patwary has been on our radar since his video for A$AP Rocky’s “Multiply,” with its awesome dance cameo from Yung Gleesh. Now Patwary’s caught our attention again with Ty Dolla $ign’s “Drop That Kitty,” a crossover hip-hop/pop jam with rising stars Tinashe and Charli XCX.

We caught up with Patwary on the phone while he was in New York filming another A$AP video and planning a project with Diddy’s son Christian Combs. He told us about rolling with the punches on “Drop That Kitty” and casting a surprise guest star who reminded him of his dad.

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Image by Gabi Porter

Don Was is one of our heroes, a triple O.G. in the music biz who doesn’t believe his own hype and never stopped being a fan. He’s still blown away by all the new styles in the world, and despite making classics has steered admirably clear of the mindset that “it was all so much better when…”

Now president of Blue Note Recordsthe American jazz label with the musically revolutionary back catalog (think Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk) not to mention peerless and influential graphic design by Reid Miles, whose name is one of the freshest Google image searches you’ll ever do–Don Was is basically the keeper of the cool

A fan’s dream.

Keep reading to learn which Blue Note albums he considers unheralded classics and which basketball positions each Rolling Stones member would play. 

Check this audio clip about Blue Note in the big picture:

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Image and animation by Studio N

Want to know the difference between a guy who shows up at the music festival, camping trip, or whatever summery group-hang situation with cool accessories, versus the guy without?

Guy #1 is the man. He’s got tunes, drinks, knows what time it is–and has a rubbery backpack where everyone can put their wet swimsuits for the journey back to _____.

Be that guy. Plan for the season.

Shop accessories:

Herschel backpack | Ray Ban sunglasses | Marc Jacobs sunglasses | Shinola watch | Klean Kanteen water bottle | Recover iPhone case | reusable red plastic cup | LSTN headphones | Gents hat | Jack Spade card holder | Bose bluetooth speaker

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Images by Manuela Insixiengmay

We’re big Robert Glasper fans here at Nordstrom, Glasper being the Grammy-winning musician doing the most–the most, we tell you–to keep the sound of jazz piano fresh, relevant and connected to the youth.

He’s all over the rap album of the year, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. And further indicating his breadth, Glasper’s upcoming album on Blue Note Records, Covered, includes live versions of songs by Miles Davis, Jhené Aiko and Radiohead.

Glasper is not Kanye-famous, though Yeezy has joined Glasper on stage to kick some freestyle raps. Nor is he trying to be. We caught up with him while the 37-year-old artist was taking the biggest year in his career in stride, touring, being excellent.

Keep scrolling to read Glasper’s thoughts on where an uninitiated person should start with Miles’ albums, the courageousness of Kendrick Lamar, his top five emcees–and listen to him extemporaneously rap Tupac’s verse from Digital Underground’s “All Around the World.”

Shop: leather jackets

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Image by Studio N

‘Tis the season when we begin to spend multiple hours outside in the sun, sometimes forgetting to take care of our fragile human shells. You know, music festival season.

And not to be a huge bummer, but we should talk about sunstroke and sunburning.

These things happen. They are serious. And like dehydration, they are dangerously easy to allow. Please be careful out there, OK? Don’t wriggity wreck yourself.

Check yourself: Drink water. Wear sunscreen. And bring a hat.

If we may guide you, our whole collection of Brixton hats is worth your perusal. That’s the Tiller, above.

Shop: Brixton

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Perhaps you’ve been following the True Religion premium denim brand since its inception in the early 2000s in Manhattan Beach, CA. If so, you already know some designs: the name-making bootcut jean and maybe also the more recent jogger silhouettes–though the boot fit is definitely still in the building.

The brand is growing its audience with new official spokespeople, basketball star Russell Westbrook and supermodel Joan Smalls. But let’s talk about unofficial spokespeople for a second.

Because there’s a good chance you learned about True Religion from rappers.

In the last decade and change, rappers have shouted out “Trues” 50 billion times in their lyrics, including heavyweights such as Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz and Jim Jones.

To sate our curiosity about how and why this came to be, we sent one of our favorite music journalists and rap experts–the uncommonly thoughtful David Drake–deep into the True Religion/rap music overlap.

This is his report.

–Andrew Matson

Shop: True Religion

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Music festival season is upon us and to stand out in the crowd of normies, we recommend hitting the Magic Hour Pop-In@Nordstrom–it’s full of slightly bugged-out festi-gear curated by our director of creative projects Olivia Kim.

But we’re also wondering: Who’s likely to look freshest on stage?

We’ve got seven ideas, including country star Nikki Lane at Stagecoach, April 24-26, in Indio, CA–where Nordstrom will be on the grounds, representing on our How We Roll tour.

Lane’s known to rock sheer, ruffly dresses and can stand on two bulls at the same dang time. Her 1970s cowgirl punk style gets a thumbs up over here.

Six more picks, in chronological order:

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