Nikki Leonti on Singing with Katy Perry, Christian Music & REUNITE CCM

nikki leonti

On November 2nd, Nikki Leonti, Crystal Lewis, Stacie Orrico and Rachael Lampa will share a Southern California stage for a very special event called REUNITE CCM. All four artists got their start as teenage chart-toppers in the Christian music world before moving on to tremendous mainstream success.

At just 17, Nikki Leonti found instant success after signing to Pamplin Music in 1998 - also home to another teen artist, Katy Perry (then known as Katy Hudson). As half of the R&B group, Nikki & Rich, Nikki appeared on Ellen and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and in 2016, Nikki was a semifinalist on America's Got Talent with her family band Edgar. In addition to writing songs for artists like Robin Thicke, Jessie J and Candice Glover, she has toured with Carrie Underwood and lent her vocals to over 100 songs on the FOX series, Glee. She currently hosts the weekly W Hollywood Jazz Night, where everyone from Justin Bieber to Stevie Wonder to Prince has made an appearance.

For more information on REUNITE CCM, go to: 

Q:  Nikki, thanks for doing this interview with us. Congratulations on your upcoming event REUNITE CCM.  You started your career as a CCM artist, how and why did you get into the Christian music scene?  

I got into the Christian music scene as a young teenager. I have been traveling around and singing to various churches since I was seven years old. By the time I was 13, I signed my first record deal out of Southern California. That record made its way to Nashville and I ended up signing a major record deal entering the world as a 16-year-old.

Q:  What were some of the highlights for you during those days? 

Some of the highlights for me were being able to experience so many different cities and new people. I think being exposed to so many different denominations, cultures, personalities and events, I was able to learn so many things that have benefited me throughout my life.

Q:  You became famous at a very young age, what are the pros and cons of this? 

I think the pros were the experiences that I got to live out. The cons were the pressure that I had on me to reach a certain level of perfection. I definitely caved under pressure, and the weight of my mistakes were amplified because of the expectations that had been set for me. 

Q:  Do you still sing those songs you recorded from those days?  

I haven't performed any of the songs from my teen years in probably over a decade.

Q:  You were also with Katy Perry on the same Christian music label.  Did you get to meet her during that time? What was she like?

I did get to meet Katy Perry. We had the opportunity as teenagers to tour around and do some shows together. I recently sang backgrounds for her at the Hollywood Bowl and we reminisced on our childhood and some of the fun moments we shared.

Q:  What is REUNITE CCM and what made you decide to produce this event? 

Reunite CCM is a dream that's been on my heart for a while. I've wanted to connect some of the artists that I've been friends with for so long. Being able to perform with people I consider family is going to be such an amazing moment for all of us. I think people are ready to enjoy a little nostalgia and sing along to some of their favorite CCM hits.

Q:  Any plans on returning to Christian music and recording another CCM album?

I have no plans as of now to return to CCM. I do so much in the songwriting world for film and TV that it takes up a lot of my time. I'll never say never, as singing gospel music will always be my heart... and nothing will ever quite make me feel as good as singing for God does.

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