“Humanity is in a state of turmoil. The earth is changing, and people are experiencing deep unrest,” explains frontwoman Koral Delatierra of the Rocky Mountain reggae band, Niceness. “We want to create a space for people to come together in the spirit of oneness, and join us in creating a world we all want to live in.”
Niceness is a familial gathering of vibrantly diverse personalities rallying around personal, socio-political, and environmental issues. Among its ranks include activists, an organic farmer, a life coach, a permaculture designer, a Buddhist bodybuilder champ, two music teachers, an adventurer, an arborist entrepreneur, and a Doctor of Psychology. The Colorado-grown band also has the rare distinction of being fronted by a firebrand female vocalist who oozes shamanistic charisma hypnotizes with seductively stirring vocals and upholds a fierce commitment to “art in action” ethos.
“We want people to come to Niceness shows for the quality of the music and our message, and because we have something to say,” Koral affirms.
The Niceness band consists of frontwoman and songwriter Koral Delatierra; drummer, vocalist, and songwriter Michael “Mikey G.” Gomberg; guitarist Dustin Wilson; keyboardist and vocalist, David “Bassie” Christeson; bassists Mike Enriquez; percussionist Jonathon “Johnny B” Barfield; alto sax player John White; trumpeter Jared Wright; and tenor sax player Jeff Gutierrez.
Together, this collective is more than a band; it’s a state of mind. Mikey G., who coined the group’s moniker, explains: “‘Niceness’ is a colloquial outburst that translates to ‘Right On!,’ ‘Sweet!’ or, as Jamaicans exclaim, ‘Irie!’. The name is a proclamation of jubilance.”
Niceness grooves on island time for sure, but these restless spirits confidently and authentically integrate a United Nations gathering of musical cultures and traditions into its signature aesthetic. The group’s bold, exploratory impulses find them seamlessly integrating elements of soul, funk, Latin and hip hop while staying true to roots reggae vibes. Niceness has garnered favorable comparisons to John Brown’s Body, Trevor Hall, and Nahko And Medicine For The People.
The Telluride, Colorado-based purposeful posse consistently sells out regional venues capping 200-300 fans. In 2017, the band released its self-produced debut, Sunshine, along with a joyous slice-of-life themed video for the song’s title track. For Niceness’s album release, the band sold out its hometown’s venerated venue, the historic Sheridan Opera House. In addition, Niceness has had the honor of sharing the stage with a diverse array of iconic and beloved artists, including Black Uhuru, The Itals, The Wailers, Common Kings, Nahko, Anuhea, Passafire, Monophonics, Blackalicious, and Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon, among others.
Niceness began in 2014, and its formation represents a homecoming for many of its members. Each have had profound and winding musical, spiritual, and personal paths that have led to this creative collective. Crucial chapters in these journeys include discovering reggae music and the unsung Telluride 1990s bands 8750 & Bredren which featured current Niceness members Mikey G., Bassie and Johnny B.
For frontwoman Koral, Niceness is a life-changing entry in her artistic and personal continuums. Music has been a lifelong passion for Koral, but not a lifelong professional pursuit. “Singing has been my medicine since I was a young girl. When I would have troubles at school or home, I would often go to my favorite rock up on the hill and sing to the wind.” Prior to Niceness, Koral had never been in a band before, but she was a diehard fan of Bredren, and used to sneak in to see the guys play.
Much of Koral’s journey has been defined by her commitment and reverence for preserving sacred wildlands. This has been a pursuit that has taken her from the magnificent Redwood forests to South America where she studied organic farming and permaculture design while making her way by selling her artwork and street performing.
In 2014, her passion and purpose intersected when she was approached to be a part of a new local reggae project. “I had such admiration for them. At first, I was terrified, and I didn’t want to take them up on the offer,” she confesses. After an inspired audition, Koral was invited to be the embryonic band’s new lead singer, beating out other more experienced vocalists. “She impressed us with her range and vocal quality. Her authenticity shined through the music. Koral is a healer as much as she is an entertainer,” Bassie says.
Niceness currently has a deep catalog of fan-favorite tunes, new tracks, and imaginatively
reggae-fied covers of 1960s and1970s soul and R&B evergreens. Live staples include the originals “Sunshine,” “Walk Away,” and “Precious” from their beloved debut album, Sunshine.
The slow-burn “Sunshine” boasts sensually expressive singing, a deeply in-the-pocket island groove, and vibrant telepathic musical interplay showcasing how a nine-piece band can play intuitively and uncluttered. The song’s sun kissed vibes aptly support its celebration of life message. It’s a call to arms to take care of your body, believe in your dreams, love nature, and breathe in this wonderful gift of life. “Walk Away” is sweetly minor-keyed, and it offers a stark reminder to those embroiled in toxic relationships that they have the power to end unhealthy cycles. The empowering “Precious” boasts an intriguing artistic contemporary/classic duality—its grooves have a lilt akin to ska and early reggae, but it also features futuristic electronic touches.
Niceness has grown as people, artists, and as sympathetic collaborators since the release of its first long-player, Sunshine. “We have cultivated a much deeper bond as friends which allows for a more intimate environment while creating,” notes Koral. Gems in the band’s new oeuvre include the empowering and reflective “Jewels;” “Kingdom” which features dazzling horn and vocal unisons lines; and “La Hora,” a rousing reggae tribute to Koral’s love of Latin culture. Of the latter, Koral says: “The hour has arrived when we will rise to say enough is enough, we will be the change.”
Niceness has been teasing its new songs live, but are still finalizing studio arrangements and a release schedule. Until then, the nine-piece collective will be out on the frontlines serving up healing vibes, enlightenment, and sage consciousness to affect change in individuals and the world at large.