By Dan Kimpel
“Womanizer” by Britney Spears is a galvanizing pop anthem and the singer’s first #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 since “Baby One More Time.” For Nikeshia Briscoe, the song represents a spectacular entrée into the business.
Briscoe, from Kansas City, KS, admits feeling a bit overwhelmed when she moved to Los Angeles. “I was under the misconception that because it was so big, no one would ever see me or hear me.” After two years, she returned home for a month before relocating to Atlanta. “I was told ‘No,’ by every major producer, writer and publisher. That was my biggest struggle, but I pushed through and I got ‘Womanizer,’ my first placement, my first single and my first #1.”
Although Atlanta might have seemed like a closed shop, there was one place she was welcome. “I signed up for SESAC a year ago. One of my good friends introduced me to Cappriccieo Scates (Associate Director, Writer Publisher Relations). When I got there, Cap knew all about me. He said, ‘I think you’re great and I believe that some day you’re going to do great things.’”
Shopping her own deal as a recording artist, Briscoe showcased for Sony/BMG and performed a song she had written on her Blackberry and tracked with her writing/production team, The Outsyders. “The label said, ‘We love you and we love the songs, but how would you feel about giving ‘Womanizer’ to Britney Spears?’ I was apprehensive. But I had to think about it as an opportunity for my music to be heard, not only through my voice, but through someone else’s. I said, ‘Let’s take a chance guys.’ We did, and it became the song that it is now.”
Briscoe, who is now completing her own solo debut, grew up singing in the church and in school with a capella and the women’s choirs. “I did a lot of stage shows so I learned melodies from classical to ragtime to big band and I mixed that together into pop music.” When she recently returned home with her platinum song, she visited with students at her alma mater. “I’m a girl from Kansas, and not a rich town,” she says. “Through me, those kids get to live the dream.”
And the Atlanta songwriter/producers who declined to work with Briscoe are singing a different tune. “They’re all calling me now. ‘When can we work together? The song is awesome.’ But there are no hard feelings. I believe in timing; when I first got here, it wasn’t my time yet.” But with the across the board success of “Womanizer,” it is now clearly Briscoe’s moment. “The first time I saw the ‘Womanizer’ video on 20/20 I cried. I’m very proud of myself, but it’s also a driving force to keep going and to write better songs.