Nikki Leonti

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Nikki Leonti
Also known asNikki Leonti Edgar
Born (1981-08-20) August 20, 1981 (age 37)
OriginCalifornia, United States
GenresContemporary Christian, urban, R&B
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
InstrumentsVoice
Years active1998–present
LabelsPamplin, Reprise
Associated actsNikki & Rich (with Rich Velonskis), Edgar

Nikki Leonti-Edgar (born August 20, 1981) is an American singer-songwriter and actress. Prior to her work in urban, R&B, and electronic dance music, Leonti recorded contemporary Christian music albums.[1] She lent her vocals to over 100 songs during 4 seasons of the musical comedy-drama television series Glee.

Early life[edit]

Nicole Marie Leonti was born on August 20, 1981 in Corona, California.[2] Her father Greg Leonti was a pastor at the Calvary Southern Baptist church.[1] She began singing at age five, as a church soloist in the Corona, California, Nondenominational Christianity church. At 13, she made her first recording on a small local label.[3]

Career[edit]

In 1998, Leonti recorded her debut full-length album, Shelter Me, which reached No. 179 on the Billboard 200, and No. 7 on the Contemporary Christian chart.[4] Her second album, Nikki Leonti was released in 2001. Both were produced by brothers Dino and John Elefante, and issued on the independent Christian label, Pamplin. Shortly after her 18th birthday, Leonti got pregnant out of wedlock and was shunned by the CCM community with many Christian music stations pulling off broadcasting of her records.[5] She retired from the Christian music industry not long after.[6]

In 2006, Leonti was hired as a backup singer for Carrie Underwood, performing on tour and on various television shows.[5][7] After three years with Carrie Underwood, Leonti began working with Rich Velonskis, forming the R&B group, Nikki & Rich, retro neo-soul duo.[3] Velonskis, also known as Rich Skillz, producer of various artists, including Ludacris, Lil' Kim, and Robin Thicke.[8] Nikki & Rich released their debut album, entitled Greatest Hits, on September 27, 2011, issued on the Reprise Records/Born Rich label. The duo has performed live on Ellen and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.[9] Together, they were named as one of the New York Post's "10 New Artists to Watch in 2010"[10] and "10 Artists to Know in 2011".[11] Nikki & Rich confirmed their split in January 2015.[5]

Nikki lent her vocals to over 100 songs during 4 seasons of the Fox hit show, Glee. She has written songs for artists, including Robin Thicke, Jessie J, Candice Glover, Rebecca Ferguson and Ivy Quainoo.[9]

In early 2015, Nikki announced that she had founded a band called Edgar with her husband Ryan Edgar, whom she married in November 2014.[5] On June 7, 2016, she appeared alongside her husband and daughter Jaslyn as a trio on America's Got Talent, auditioning on episode 2 of season 11.[12][13][14] They performed "I'll Stand by You" by The Pretenders.[6] The group progressed through the preliminary rounds and took one of 36 live performance show spots.[15][16]

In 2018, she performed alongside Crystal Lewis, Stacie Orrico and Rachael Lampa for a special event called REUNITE CCM.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Leonti was married in 1999 to Ryan Gingerich, lead guitarist of the Christian band, Scarecrow & Tinmen.[1] They divorced in 2002, having become the parents of one daughter, Jaslyn (b. 2000). They later discovered the marriage was never legally documented. In 2004, she married Aaron Dame and gave birth to their son, Jordan (b. 2004).[1]

She married singer-songwriter Ryan Edgar on November 6, 2014.[2] Ryan Edgar and Leonti have a daughter, Frankie (b. 2015). In 2015, Ryan Gingerich signed over parental right of Jaslyn. Ryan Edgar adopted Jaslyn.[3]

Discography[edit]

Solo
  • 1996: Reach the World (Two Records)
  • 1998: Shelter Me (Pamplin)
  • 2000: Postcard From Mixaco: A Dance Re-MIX Fiesta (Pamplin)
  • 2001: Nikki Leonti (Pamplin)
  • 2017: Heartache Easy (FamJam)
Nikki & Rich
  • 2011: Greatest Hits... (Born Rich Inc)

Appearances on other recordings[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Film and television roles
Year Title Role Notes
2013 Californication Band Musician Episode: "I'll Lay My Monsters Down"
2014 Eternity: The Movie Gina Marie Film
2016 America's Got Talent Herself Contestant; season 11

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d August 24, Ashmeet Bagga-Published:; March 20, 2016 at 8:47 am | Last Updated:; Am, 2018 at 6:34 (2016-08-24). "America's Got Talent Edgar Family Band: 3 Facts You Need to Know". Earn The Necklace. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  2. ^ a b "Nikki Leonti". IMDb. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  3. ^ a b c "Nikki Leonti Biography". TodaysChristianMusic.com. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
  4. ^ "Nikki Leonti Music News & Info". Billboard.com. 1998-10-03. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
  5. ^ a b c d "Exclusive Clip: Nikki & Rich Frontwoman Resurfaces on 'America's Got Talent'". www.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  6. ^ a b "Exclusive Clip: Nikki & Rich Frontwoman Resurfaces on 'America's Got Talent'".
  7. ^ Despres, Tricia (2016-08-25). "Wait till you hear Carrie Underwood's connection to this "America's Got Talent" finalist". Country Music News, Artists, Songs, and Videos | Rare Country. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  8. ^ "Soul Mates". LA Times Magazine. 2011-04-28. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
  9. ^ a b c "Nikki Leonti on Singing with Katy Perry, Christian Music & REUNITE CCM". www.hallels.com. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  10. ^ "10 new artists to watch in 2010". Nypost.com. Archived from the original on December 2, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
  11. ^ "10 Artists to Know in 2011: New Music Musts". Nypost.com. Archived from the original on December 4, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
  12. ^ "The Recovering Preachers Kid". therecoveringpreacherskid.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  13. ^ "The Edgar Family Band takes over 'America's Got Talent'". BLEEP Magazine. 2016-08-23. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  14. ^ "'America's Got Talent' contestants perform for patients | LLUH News". news.llu.edu. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  15. ^ "America's Got Talent". America's Got Talent. 2016-07-12. Event occurs at 20:58. NBC. WGBA. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  16. ^ Talent Recap (2016-07-20), The Edgar Family Trio MIND BLOWING Performance Judge Cuts 1 | America's Got Talent 2016 | Ep. 8, retrieved 2019-04-19

External links[edit]