It's a Monday afternoon in late September, and the five members of The Nth Power are headed down the California coast to catch a flight to Australia in the morning. They've already been on the road for weeks, and they'll return after a week at Queensland's Caloundra Music Festival to drive across America for a string of East Coast dates.
Despite the hectic schedule, drummer Nicki Glaspie claims that the band is still enjoying an overwhelmingly happy honeymoon phase. "Even this morning, I thought my heart was going to explode, just from pure joy," Glaspie exclaims. "Every single aspect of this group is going as it should."
Formed during an impromptu late-night jam at Jazz Fest 2012 in New Orleans, the quintet's members hail from diverse musical backgrounds. Singer/keyboardist Nigel Hall tours with Lettuce and the Warren Haynes Band, while singer/guitarist Nick Cassarino came from the Jennifer Hartswick Band. Bassist Nate Edgar and percussionist Weedie Braimah round out the group.
It's Glaspie, however, who has taken the biggest leaps of faith. After spending four years in Boston at the Berklee College of Music, Glaspie landed a gig as the drummer for Beyoncé, embarking on five years of providing rhythm for one of the world's biggest pop stars. In 2011, however, she gave it up to get back to her roots, joining New Orleans' funk powerhouse Dumpstaphunk.This August, however, Glaspie walked away from Dumpstaphunk to take a full-time chance on The Nth Power.
"It was hard to leave Dumpstaphunk, but I know this is what I'm supposed to be doing," Glaspie says of her decision. "I've never been a part of anything like this before."
On their 2013 debut EP Basic Minimum Skills Test, The Nth Power blends emotive vocals with funky riffs, delivered in a nearly mathematical fashion that showcases the well-trained individual talents in the ensemble.
"Everybody in the band is a songwriter, so when we get together, everything becomes that much stronger," says Glaspie. "It's really a team effort."
Beyond raw skill, however, Glaspie cites a deep spiritual connection as the glue that binds the band members together. "Music is what brought us together, but it's the spiritual bond that makes us play so well together," says Glaspie.
The audience can sense it, too. "We've been told by many people that they were touched, and we've had people straight up crying at shows, and they didn't know what it was that made them feel that way.
"That's what it's all about," she continues. "We're not religious people, but we all come from different backgrounds, religion and creed and race-wise. We couldn't be more different from each other, but we understand that we are all the same."
Although the band members' homes are spread across the East Coast, they maintain New Orleans as their "spiritual home," and the celebratory essence of that city's music culture is audible in their performances.
In March, The Nth Power will release their first full-length album, Abundance. In the meantime, they're enjoying their extended, potentially never-ending honeymoon. "We're going as far as you can go on the planet Earth and playing music," beams Glaspie. "I don't know how many times we've said it — we are so blessed."