Niko Lyras left his home in Athens, Greece at 19, telling his parents it was to go to college, but he was really seeking the Memphis groove. He did earn Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees (in Economics!), and he also got a PhD in Memphis Gigging– rock, jazz, R&B, what do you need? As his musicianship grew he knew that he wanted to become an engineer and producer as well. He learned the basics freelancing at several local studios, then opened Cotton Row in 1980.
Over the decades Niko’s become a central figure in the Memphis music industry as a producer, engineer, guitarist, songwriter, publisher, as well as studio owner. He’s played sessions at virtually every studio in town, and has been involved, as a musician, producer, or songwriter, with a number of gold and platinum records, including Wendy Moten’s #5 Billboard hit “Come In Out Of The Rain,” which he co-wrote and coproduced. Niko’s work has been highly recognized, with the Broadcast Film Critics Best Song of 2005, a Canadian Juno, two Canadian Felix awards for engineer of the year, three NARAS Premier Player honors, a Stellar Award, four Addy’s, and several Grammy nominations.
In addition to his Cotton Row work, Niko has led a number of high profile bands in the Mid-South including the acclaimed jazz-funk unit Voodoo Village (with 2 high charting CD’s) and the current Party Planet. He runs three music publishing companies, and remains active as a session musician.