Nik and Sam: More Than Musicians

Nik and Sam, a twin sister music duo
Nik (left) and Sam (right) were nominated for Vocal Duo of the Year at the 2023 Arkansas Country Music Awards. Photo by Kaycie Timm

The journey toward a life in Nashville for singer/songwriter sisters Nik and Sam, and careers as multi-faceted musicians started at childhood, in the unassuming small town where the twins grew up.

“We’re from Dover, Arkansas,” Sam says. “You have one stop light, a church, a pizza place, the Dover Supermarket, and that’s it.”

Small-town life didn’t stop Nik and Sam from dreaming big at an early age. As children, both girls relied on horses and music to keep them busy.

“We grew up on a farm, and we’ve always had music in the house,” Sam says. “That kind of folky, bluegrass type of music was just always around. Those instruments were pulled out around a bonfire, and I think we just kind of naturally gravitated towards riding horses and playing music.”

The girls’ foundation in music can be traced to their father, who supplied them with a variety of listening material.

“Growing up, we listened to the Eagles, Queen, all that good stuff, and also Allison Krauss, The Dixie Chicks, Ozzy Osborne,” Sam recalls. “Our dad had quite a big collection.”

Not only did he love listening to music, Nik and Sam’s dad also loved to play, and he raised his girls to follow that path, too.

“Music runs in our family,” Nik explains. “Our dad is very talented. He could play anything, so he always had all kind of instruments around the house. If he wasn’t playing music, he was listening to it.”

Finding Passion

With music around them from day one, it was only natural that the girls would feel the itch to find their own chosen instruments. For Sam, that urge came when the twins were just 10 years old.

“I really wanted to pick up an instrument,” Sam recalls. “I wanted to be a little different, so I picked up the banjo. I had to kind of drag Nikki into picking something to help me with my timing.”

The sisters gravitated toward shared activities, and music was no exception. So, when her sister began learning to play banjo, Nik followed suit by picking up a guitar.

“I got a guitar and started playing rhythm,” Nik shares. “Then we started playing together. We started doing gigs around Arkansas, and that’s when we were discovered, which then led us to start really considering a career in music.”

Getting discovered at age 11 doesn’t always lead to a long-term career. However, Nik and Sam knew then that they wanted to keep chasing that dream.

“We were young and naïve, just doing what we love to do,” Nik explains. “At our first real gig, I remember getting that adrenaline rush and going, ‘This is what I want to do.’ We started taking it seriously, and we decided to go for it. We knew we were going to love doing it. We still do.”

Throughout this time, both twins were also competing in the rodeo circuit—the same circuit where the duo now frequently plays shows. As the young singers played more gigs, they found less time for rodeo pursuits. Plus, the risk of an animal-inflicted injury came at a higher cost when both girls needed to be able to play their instruments. So weekends became dedicated to gigs, while weekdays were dedicated to schoolwork, and a music career quickly became their primary focus.

The Big Leagues

By age 17, the twins knew music would be a serious endeavor. With their mother in tow, Nik and Sam moved all the way from Arkansas to Los Angeles, Calif., to see what the big city might hold for them.

“It was definitely a life lesson,” Nik recalls. “We got to learn a lot [while living in California], and I wouldn’t ever take it back at all. It was basically our schooling.”

But Cali wasn’t the final destination for these aspiring singers—it was just a bridge.

“L.A. was definitely a good transition,” Sam says. “Eventually, it led us to Nashville as we started realizing we wanted to be taken seriously with songwriting.”

Since then, the duo has made Nashville their home, and they agree it’s where they belong.

“Going from Arkansas to California was a complete culture shock,” Sam shares. “Nashville kind of leveled it out a little bit. It’s a really good balance.”

A Style of Their Own

Both women find inspiration in a variety of musical genres, in part due to their father’s broad musical taste that created the soundtrack for their childhood. As adults, they’ve continued to draw influence from a diverse library as they’ve developed their distinctive style of songwriting. However, much of their own music originates from a more personal source—their own lives.

“What really inspires me is going through life and having to embrace the ups and downs of the music business and the emotion of it,” Sam reveals. “I think that’s where we have to dig down deep and be vulnerable.”

Twin sisters Nik and Sam
The duo’s musical sound leans on a variety of influences, while their twin synergy lends to a cohesive style. Photo by Kaycie Timm

“I like to embrace the lows of the music business,” Nik adds. “That’s where we can find our inspiration. You have to either embrace ‘em or not, and we choose to embrace it.”

As they’ve developed their signature sound, they’ve mixed the influence of their childhood with styles learned during their time in California and Nashville.

“Our roots are bluegrass,” Nik says. “We are multi-instrumentalists, and that’s something that will always be our roots. But as we’ve evolved as artists, I don’t want to pigeonhole our sound.”

Although Nik and Sam’s music still includes plenty of bluegrass influence, the sisters also play with more modern styles, combining Americana, country, and even pop sounds into a mix that’s wholly theirs.

“We’re just Nik and Sam,” they agree, both smiling.

Instruments like the banjo, mandolin, and dobro still hold a prominent place in every song the sisters release.

“As females in this industry, we want to showcase that we can play our instruments,” Sam explains. “Even if we’re on the radio or it’s mainstream, I still want to always have that part of us.”

By pairing a contemporary twist with traditional instruments, Nik and Sam add a flair to their music that makes it appealing to a wide audience.

“I feel like we have a little bit of an edge,” Nik reveals. “When I’m on stage, I don’t stand still. When I’m on my guitar and picking, I’m pretty much getting into it with my whole body.”

Twinning and Winning

Among the multitude of artists vying for the public ear in Nashville, one thing sets Nik and Sam apart—their relationship as twins.

“Being twins, I feel like we’re on the same wavelength 24/7,” Sam remarks. “Even when we’re performing, it’s just naturally there—the same thought and energy.”

That connection shines in everything the sisters do, from performing on stage to writing new songs, and everything in between.

“It’s essentially like a marriage,” Sam explains. “We always have to be on good terms, which is easy for us. We have a solid foundation, and that allows us to launch forward and do what we do.”

“I wouldn’t want to do this with anyone else,” Sam says fondly. “We’re best friends. We do everything together.”

Although the two have plenty in common, they find balance in what makes each of the sisters unique by playing to their strengths.

“We are very much so twins, but we do have the differences,” says Sam. “That allows us to be yin and yang. We complement each other in ways that allow us to be a great team.”

“When we go into to songwriting sessions, she’s really good at melodies,” Sam continues. “I tend to be a little stronger at lyrics.”

That “twin brain” comes in handy, too, since they share a common opinion. Even when they work with other co-writers, their unified front allows them to communicate how they envision a song to coming to life.

“I feel like we have the same idea of how we want to sound,” Nik says. “On co-writes, we’re already agreeing on the same wavelength.”

The Professional Side of Nik and Sam

While Nik and Sam love nothing more than using the stage to share their songs with the world, they know it takes a lot more than performing to build a sustainable career in the music industry. Their chosen profession requires a business-savvy mind, too.

“We’re businesswomen at the end of the day,” says Nik. “It’s not just music I want to do. I want to be an entrepreneur and be able to own it.”

As they’ve matured musically, the industry has undergone changes, too, which requires both sisters to adapt and learn new ways to promote their music.

“When we started in the business, it was a lot of going into offices, physically meeting people, putting on a great show, and people making a decision in boardrooms,” Sam recalls. “Social media has completely changed the game. We’ve had to transition, but it has exposed us to a broader audience.”

As they’ve developed a strong social media presence and grown their following, the artists have found new ways to engage with fans across the globe. They’ve also found freedom in managing their own brand rather than relying on a label’s guidance.

“I think social media has created a platform where you can do things on your own,” Sam explains. “I feel like we can choose our own music and just go with it and build our own audience. I’ve learned to enjoy the grind. I enjoy having to be in control of our own stuff.”

Looking the Part

That creative control affects more than just Nik and Sam’s musical choices—it’s evident in their personal style, too. Everywhere they go, both sisters always sport stylish looks all their own.

“We’ve always been pretty good at picking stuff out and developing that style,” says Sam. “We’ve always been very passionate about fashion. It’s another creative outlet. I love that we can apply that to our music.”

Sam posing in the desert
Sam prefers edgier looks. Photo by Kaycie Timm

Although they generally coordinate their outfits, Sam prefers an edgier look, including influences from icons like Cher. In contrast, Nik loves a vintage vibe, drawing inspiration from Audrey Hepburn’s classic style.

“You create what you love,” says Nik. “I think that’s what makes us who we are. When we show up dressed a certain way, you know that’s us.”

Nik posing in the desert
Nik gravitates toward fashion with a vintage vibe. Photo by Kaycie Timm

Over the last few years, they’ve collaborated as brand ambassadors for Fairfax and Favor, a quintessential British brand making its entry into the U.S. market.

“It’s a fabulous opportunity to work with such a visionary company to help them replicate the huge success the brand has had in the UK,” says Sam. “We are excited to help them on the journey and share the brand with more fashionable ladies in America.”  

Highs and Lows

Throughout their two decade-long musical career, Nik and Sam have learned to push through the inevitable difficulties of the industry. That perseverance has granted them opportunities that both sisters now count as some of their best memories.

Last year, the pair played a show in London, England—broadening their reach, even across the pond.

“It ended up being basically a sold-out show,” Sam recalls. “It was our first time out there, and we really weren’t expecting a lot. We were happy just getting a gig [in London].”

The crowd surpassed Nik and Sam’s wildest expectations by singing along to songs like “Black Dirt in Tennessee,” a soulful song that showcases their impactful lyrics and stunning music.

“This is why we do what we do,” Nik recalls thinking during the show. “This is the best feeling in the world.”

Moments like that don’t happen without dogged dedication, though, and these artists know the grind better than most. Nik and Sam have experienced many long nights, lots of hard nos, and numerous obstacles on the road to fame.

“When you make it, people think it’s overnight,” Sam explains. “They don’t realize there are a lot of highs and lows along the way.”

Sharing and Supporting

Now, the twins want to use their own success to encourage others to chase their dreams, too.

“I like to let people know that it can be a tough road, but you have to keep going,” Nik says. “At some point in the game, you have to realize, if this is what you’re going to do, you’ve got to be in it for the long haul.”

Maintaining that endurance requires resilience to keep pushing past disappointments and roadblocks.

“You do have to develop some sort of thick skin,” she continues. “I think when there’s a situation where we can, as women, lean on each other and support each other, that’s very important. And I really hope to see so much more of that in the future.”

As they look ahead to a brighter future for fellow female artists, Nik and Sam take every opportunity to share advice with others on the same path.

“You just stay humble,” Sam says. “Keep your head down. Be kind. We’ll have a time to shine. If someone is doing better than you, that’s great. Support them. Especially if it’s another female, support them.”

Learn more about Nik and Sam at, or follow @nikandsamofficial on Instagram to stay up to date on all their adventures.

This article about Nik and Sam appeared in the Summer 2023 issue of Western Life Today magazine. Click here to subscribe!

Kaycie Timm

7 Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *