Studio tricks or true grit and talent. Performing to a high standard.

Posted: September 22, 2023
Iron Maidens the band Nikki Stringfield plays for was formed in 2001, The Iron Maidens have quickly established themselves as one of southern California’s most popular tribute acts and are rapidly gaining international recognition. The band boasts beauty as well as excellent musicianship, lively stage presence, and a remarkable stage show with theatrical scenes interspersed throughout.

Performing live and in a studio are two different platforms. The sounds that come from a studio are magical. Technology can improve the voice of someone that has little to no talent. With modern artists, I am skeptic until I hear someone perform live. The words that are music to my ears will often read “The artist or band is great in concert”. This is where value comes from. Time after time, I have heard artists that are very impressive on streaming platforms and music videos. Come time for live performances their weaknesses become apparent.

There was a country music artist that people of all music backgrounds are familiar with. Great singer in the studio. Technology has helped this artist rake in the profits and fan base. However, his concerts were something undesirable and pointless. His vocals were poor and a reflection of his lack of talent. We are not going to name drop, but it is a reference to what is a common practice within many genres of music.

However, we are stoked to find artists that thrive at performing live before fans and crowds of all types. It reflects their confidence in themselves, and abilities. It just so happens that we would agree with Nikki Stringfield. She enjoys performing on stage and live for fans. Folks, this is the type of artist that makes me enjoy waking up in the morning. She makes my job easier. An interview with a great live performing artist is a gift.

So, what is unique about Nikki Stringfield?


Originally hailing from Dallas, Texas, guitarist Nikki Stringfield is a force to be reckoned with. After touring internationally with popular tribute band, The Iron Maidens and shredding originals with Heaven Below, Nikki decided to venture into the role of solo artist and released her first EP, "Harmonies For The Haunted," taking on lead vocals and songwriting in addition to lead guitars. She's also held acoustic residencies at the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood, CA to diversify her talents and prove she's truly a well-rounded musician. She now has two signature Schecter Guitars that bear her name.

Nikki's full length debut album, "Apocrypha," will be released worldwide September 29th, 2023. The reaction to previews of the new album have been clear: The Aquarian, “Mesmerizing.” Post-Punk, “Uplifting power-pop. Striking.” Glam Glare, “Instant classic. An exhilarating, almost spiritual experience.” Pop Passion, “Joyfully defiant.” Vents Magazine, “Great lyrics. Urgently flowing music.” Music Injection, “Brilliant.” Culture Catch proclaims Morgan’s style as, “Pop-rock noir. A much-needed antidote.”

Iron Maidens the band Nikki Stringfield plays for was formed in 2001, The Iron Maidens have quickly established themselves as one of southern California’s most popular tribute acts and are rapidly gaining international recognition. The band boasts beauty as well as excellent musicianship, lively stage presence, and a remarkable stage show with theatrical scenes interspersed throughout.

First and foremost, on the agenda of The Iron Maidens is talent. These women are highly trained professionals with diversified musical backgrounds ranging from orchestral and musical theater to blues and rock. The band and its members have been the recipients of many awards including best tribute band, and best in category (guitar, bass, drums, voice) at events such as The Rock City News Awards, The LA Music Awards, and The All-Access Magazine Award Show to name a few. The line-up is Kirsten “Bruce Chickinson” Rosenberg on vocals, Linda “Nikki McBURRain” McDonald on drums, and Nikki “Davina Murray” Stringfield on guitars, and Wanda “Steph Harris” Ortiz on bass.

The Iron Maidens cover Iron Maiden material from all eras of the band’s career, encompassing the band’s biggest hits as well as fan favorites. The stage show includes appearances by Maiden mascot Eddie, the grimreaper, the devil and more.

The Iron Maidens have packed houses everywhere they have played.


Guitar Thrills: Thank you for joining us today. I really meant it when I said it is a joy to interview you. Bands and artists that can perform in the studio and on stage, are successful. What enables you to perform well on stage? Is it something you have always been aware of?

NIKKI: Thank you! I’ve been performing live for 11 years now, and it wasn’t something I was a natural at. I was always a very shy person, so it took a lot to overcome that and really find myself as a performer/entertainer. I just really love playing for an audience and seeing them enjoying themselves and the music. Nothing beats that rush for me.

Guitar Thrills: Is it something that comes naturally, or do you have to continue to work at it?

NIKKI: I feel like you always should strive to improve everything you do.

Guitar Thrills: Tell us about the talented individuals that you have performed with?

NIKKI: I’ve been playing with The Iron Maidens since 2012, and the girls are like family. We’ve been on the road a lot this year, and I’m so happy to still be sharing the stage with them. I’ve played with Lorraine Lewis and her band Femme Fatale, which was a blast. I currently play in an original band called Heaven Below with my husband Patrick Kennison, who also plays for Lita Ford. And I’m so thankful to have him playing guitar in my solo band as well along with Shad Wilhelm on drums and Jesse Davidson on bass.

Guitar Thrills: What brought you and the artists from The Iron Maidens together? Did each of you have other bands that you played with previously?

NIKKI: The band formed in 2001 and the Dave Murray position was being filled with subs now when I moved to Los Angeles in 2012. I was asked to fill in, and eventually became a permanent member. Our drummer, Linda McDonald, played in Phantom Blue in the 80s.

Guitar Thrills: I would like to clear the air about something I heard. Are you going solo now? If so, why, and what kind of music are you going to be playing?

NIKKI: I’ve been releasing solo music since 2017 and I’m still playing with The Iron Maidens. Nothing is changing about that. If you’ve heard my EP, “Harmonies For The Haunted,” you’ll have a good idea of what you’re getting with my first full length album, “Apocrypha.” It’s hard rock with splashes of metal, catchy choruses, melodic solos, and harmonies. I sing on this as well.

Guitar Thrills: I also know that you are teaming up with Emily V. A violinist that we have covered several times in Guitar Thrills Magazine. What project are you both working on?

NIKKI: We’re not actually working on anything together, now. I’ll be playing my first show with my solo band for my album release on September 28th and Emily V will be opening. I’m thrilled to be sharing the stage with her on such an important night. We hope to eventually play some shows together.

Guitar Thrills: Can you tell us about your inspirations and what has contributed to your guitar playing ability?

NIKKI: Kurt Cobain/Nirvana is who inspired me to start learning guitar. My parents listened to rock/metal, so I grew up with it, and my dad is a guitarist as well. I love the raw power and emotion of Kurt’s songwriting in addition to its simplicity and hooks. Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold is who really inspired me to later focus on solos and lead guitar.

Guitar Thrills: That is awesome.

Guitar Thrills: Do you believe there is one release that took you to another level of your career? Please explain.

NIKKI: I’m hoping that will be my debut full length album, “Apocrypha,” which is out on September 29th. I’m starting to play solo shows now and will be opening for John 5 in Las Vegas on January 28th, so I feel like this album has already helped me move forward in a sense.

Guitar Thrills: What type of message does your lyrics send to your fans? Have you received any feedback from your releases?

NIKKI: Lyrics can be interpreted differently by everyone, and that’s the beauty of it. I write them with a certain thing in mind, but they can be perceived a totally different way. So far, the feedback from Apocrypha has been extremely positive.

Guitar Thrills: All bands or artists with gifts, have specific instruments that they enjoy working with. Can you talk about some of the brands that are used frequently? Also, what is it that makes them your “go to” choice?

NIKKI: I’ve been playing Schecter Guitars since I was 14, and now have two signature guitars that I designed. They’re like family to me and I’ve always loved playing Schecters. I use a Kemper Profiler in the studio and on stage. it makes touring so easy, and you have your tone everywhere you go. I use a Marshall Silver Jubilee 212 when I’m home for local shows that adds such a huge sound to the Kemper. I use Get’m Get’m Guitar Straps, FU-Tone, GHS Strings, and Pick Guy Guitar Picks.

Guitar Thrills: Do you have any releases or promotions that you would like to tell your fans about?

NIKKI: You can check out my new album, “Apocrypha,” everywhere you listen to music on September 29th! I have CDs, shirts, and more with vinyl on the way. I’ll also have a new album coming out next year with my band Heaven Below called “The Majestic Twelve.”

Guitar Thrills: It has been great interviewing you today. Would you like to make the last stop on your tour a follow up with Guitar Thrills Magazine?

NIKKI: Absolutely! And thanks so much!

Guitar Thrills: Awesome. We look forward to finding out how your tour turned out.

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