Southern Miss softball player Karley Nichols is not exactly your average student athlete at Southern Miss. Her effort on the field has played a role in the team’s improvement from last year’s record. For Nichols, however, she has not only had a productive career so far, but is also preparing and trying to launch another career– a singing career.
In her first two years with the program, she has seen action in over 60 games and has made an impact for the team in the batter’s box with a career batting average of .378.
Southern Miss coach Wendy Hogue talked about the type of player Nichols is for the softball team.
“Energy, grit, competitiveness,” Hogue said. She’s a great teammate. She’s a great team player.
She wants to win. Strong, strong desire to win ball games.”
While she has played a major role in the team’s recent turnaround success, she is also hoping to duplicate her softball success in the field of music.
Nichols’ love for music stems from the loss of her father, who was also a musician and passed away when she was three years old. Her stage name, Nicky Boaz, being inspired by her father’s first name.
“He has definitely played a big part in my music,” Nichols said. “I didn’t get to experience it first -hand because he died when I was three so I never really got to experience that, but playing music, singing and writing stuff it kind of makes me feel closer to him in a way, I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true.”
While her musical talent may have come from her father, her love of music came from Nichol’s mom.
“My mom always played great music around the house so it was kind of destined to happen,” Nichols said. “She would force me to go to concerts all the time when I was younger [especially] when you go through that little teenage spell when you are younger and you don’t want to do anything with your mom. She would always take me to concerts and stuff like that and as I got there I would be in love with that artist but I would never let her know that because she made me go with her.”
Teammate Amber Pack has known and played softball with Nichols since high school and remembered the first time she heard Nichols sing.
“The first time I heard Karley sing I was in 10th grade in high school,” Pack said. “We were getting ready to play Oak Grove I believe and she sang the national anthem.”
While Pack states that Nichols’ performance of the anthem was well done, Nichols has a different opinion and says that she forgot the words.
Prior to college, Nichols had not taken music seriously but since the start of college she began to take a greater interest in music. Her first ever live performance in front of the entire athletic department at the school’s Talon Awards last spring.
“It gave me chills,” Pack said. “I just thought ‘Wow, that’s my teammate, that’s one of my best friends, it just blew me away.’ I enjoy Karley’s music so much. I’ve never met someone who’s so passionate about something and that just brings so much energy and she is doing focus into something that she is doing.”
Nichols greatly appreciates her entire team’s support because it gives her confidence in her music and has also played a role in Nichols trying to launch a music career.
“I don’t think they will ever truly understand how much their support means to me,” Nichols said. “I haven’t always been super confident in what I do. I know I love it and I know I’m good at it but they just reassure me so much and that means the world to me”
After that experience in the spring, Nichols decided to take her music career more seriously and has recorded at Crown Studio in Jackson and plans to release several songs. For Nichols, the most important of her musical style is to create music that people can relate to.
“For me, music kind of writes out my story,” Nichols said. “If I’m feeling something and I don’t quite know how to express myself, there’s always a song that fits my needs in that moment which is so cool to me. I just want to be able to do that for other people.”
Nichols has one simple goal with her music, and that is to keep singing no matter what.
“I want to go wherever it will take me,” Nichols said. “I could shoot for the stars and I will shoot for the stars, which is however high. Honestly I wouldn’t care if I was sitting on a street just doing it for a couple of dollars and pennies or something like that. I’m just going to keep doing it.”