Nicole Atkins (born October 1, 1978) is an American singer-songwriter. Her influences include 1950s crooner music, 1960s psychedelia, soul music, and the Brill Building style of writing. Atkins has been compared to Roy Orbison and singers from the Brill Building era.
Atkins was born in Neptune, New Jersey. She grew up in Shark River Hills, a middle class enclave within Neptune overlooking the Shark River. Atkins has cited the bay as a major inspiration for her music, particularly the imagery of "the river in the rain" found in the title track on her album Neptune City. She started playing piano at nine years old and taught herself to play guitar at 13. She eschewed more popular acts of the day for musical groups her parents listened to, such as The Ronettes, Johnny Cash, and The Beach Boys. She has cited the vocalists Harriet Wheeler of The Sundays and Cass Elliot as important early influences.
She started playing in pick-up bands and doing gigs at local coffeehouses while attending St. Rose High School in the nearby town of Belmar.