NIKI's 'Nicole' Is a Look Into the Past and Future of a Pop-R&B Star
Photo: Gabriel Chiu
Inspired by a deep dive into her middle school archives, Nicole is Jakarta-born, LA-based NIKI’s return home.
Heavily reliant on storytelling and reflective introspection, this album remains childlike and light while exploring the inner workings of heartbreak. With warm vocals marinated in melancholy and hope, its first single “High School in Jakarta” has already captured hearts with millions of streams and milestones to accompany.
Written entirely by NIKI and released via 88rising, Nicole is a safe space for every bright-eyed being romanticizing the mundane and imprisoned by nostalgia. Disoriented by love’s winding roads, NIKI holds the hand of a younger her, revisiting old stories through a vessel that’s lived more life.
“During the pandemic, I did a deep dive of the archived videos from the YouTube channel I started in middle school and realized that these songs are where my heart is. We made most of the songs in my collaborators’ garages and living rooms, and the whole process felt so carefree and energizing, like being a kid at the playground. With this record, I learned to trust my gut and have real confidence in myself as a songwriter and producer, and it was so freeing and so much more fun," shares NIKI.
Tracks like “Anaheim” and “On The Way Home” demonstrate her unparalleled songwriting ability, capturing despair and longing in its most poetic form. Laid over soft acoustics, this project is chamomile tea for the soul. It maintains a hazy, alternative pop sound while weaving through stories of being both the broken and the one who breaks.
There isn’t a dream she can’t realize, producing her own short film to accompany the album. But I’m Letting Go, accessible through Prime Video and Amazon Music on August 18 is one of the many ways she’s broken barriers and embodied dismantlement. The first Indonesian artist to ever perform at Coachella, who she is is bigger than just herself: she permits those that have climbed a harsh ladder be soft, free, and heard. Nicole tells many young girls’ stories, and paves the way for them to tell their own, as well.
Listen to Nicole below: