St. Louis Singer-Songwriter Lloyd Nicks Finds His Breakthrough With ‘Never Fail’
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and after 10 years of pursuing music professionally, Lloyd Nicks couldn’t have anticipated the year 2020 being his biggest yet. But everything changed last summer when one of his songs hit the airwaves across the U.S.
“During quarantine I released ‘Never Fail,’ and it kind of just went crazy,” the Cahokia, Illinois, native told St. Louis on the Air.
Somehow, Nicks explained, his single had ended up on desks at the local Christian radio station 99.1 Joy FM. “And they loved it,” Nicks said — so much so that he became the first local artist to get airplay on the station, as far as the station’s longtime staff member Sandy James can recall.
Joy FM also shared Nicks’ track with the Christian radio music promoter 55 Promotions, which got it moving across the country to other stations. As of last week, “Never Fail” had risen to No. 37 on Billboard’s Christian Airplay chart, garnering hundreds of thousands of listens.
The song itself speaks to Nicks’ personal journey. The Chesterfield resident is now a worship leader at the Crossing, a church community that he credits as being his biggest advocate.
“I lost my mom to cancer five years ago on my birthday, and it completely destroyed my concept of reality,” Nicks said. “I’ve experienced some of the lowest moments of my life the past five years. But I can honestly say, through these five years, God has walked with me.
“He’s been constant with me. He’s shown me a measure of grace and peace that I never knew existed. And through this time, this song, it’s bigger than just a song to me. It’s my testimony that God never fails. He didn’t leave me in my despair; he walked me through it.”
In addition to “Never Fail,” Nicks dropped “Focus” last year, which he and a close friend wrote with the year’s crises in mind.
“I said, ‘How can we give some people some hope but also call out what we’re experiencing,” Nicks said, “[and] give them something to look for that surpasses everything that we’re seeing?’”
Nicks said he grew up in a family that wasn’t particularly musical. He credited his Cahokia High School teacher Penny Zimmerman for setting him on his path and being “a second mom to me.”
“She just took me under her wing, and she nurtured me, and she taught me about the gift of music, which inspired me to go study music,” Nicks said.
He added that working within the genre of Christian music hasn’t been limiting but instead actually helps make him distinct.
“I’m not bound by my creativity because I’m labeled as a Christian artist,” Nicks said.
“In fact I think my creativity is actually expanded. And shout-out to my label Kingly here in St. Louis, holding down the fort in this area. [They] challenged me to think deeper and [to] bring some of those messages that are sometimes veered away from into Christian music and give it some hope — and also at the same time create a sound that is infectious entirely, not just Christian music.”
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.