With the release of her third album Nicole Jakarta-born, Los Angeles-based NIKI offers up an eviscerating reunion with her teenage self. But ultimately the album is about the cyclical nature of human life — the mistakes we keep making, the questions that go unanswered — with a tender attempt to both understand her younger self while also reconciling the supposed growth she’s had. Yet Nicole underscores the stunning ways in which NIKI as both a singer/songwriter and producer has evolved.

Bathed in sleek pop her intensely personal childhood memories are laid bare on the album. Yet as ornamented as they are by her life’s unique idiosyncrasies and experiences, her words cut to the heart of her very human attempt to make sense of things. Album opener “Before” serves as the sprawling ballad intro to Nicole, one that weaves through airy folk sonics the rise and fall of a relationship NIKI struggles to let go of. Heartache is a fixture of the album, from the concussive melancholy of “Backburner” to the warm intonations in “Anaheim.”

But Nicole is not without beautiful moments that lift her spirit. “High School in Jakarta” mixes personal landmarks of NIKI’s school years in her hometown with dreamily kinetic pop. While album ender “Take A Chance With Me” rushes forward on scattered acoustics and hopeful horns see her looking once more, buoyantly and lucidly, at the hangups she sees as reoccuring.

“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.”

artist to watch in 2023

Last year NIKI headlined Head In The Clouds, a festival put on by her label 88rising, and she was supposed to return for this year’s event but had to cancel due to COVID.

NIKI will be going on tour this fall with a stop in Los Angeles at The Wiltern on October 22. Visit NIKI’s website, Twitter, and Instagram to stay updated on new releases and tour announcements.

The Nicole Tour Dates
September 8 – Vancouver, BC – Malkin Bowl
September 9 – Seattle, WA – Showbox
September 10 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
September 13 – Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
September 14 – San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom
September 15 – San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom
September 17 – Santa Cruz, CA – The Catalyst
September 20 – Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater
September 22 – Toronto, ON – Phoenix Concert Theatre
September 23 – Toronto, ON – Phoenix Concert Theatre
September 24 – Detroit, MI – The Fillmore
September 27 – New York, NY – Webster Hall
September 28 – New York, NY – Webster Hall
September 30 – Washington, D.C. – The Howard
October 2 – Boston, MA – Royale
October 4 – Nashville, TN – Eastside Bowl
October 5 – Charlotte, NC – The Underground
October 6 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
October 8 – Dallas, TX – The Factory in Deep Ellum
October 9 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
October 11 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues
October 12 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues
October 14 – Denver, CO – Gothic Theatre
October 15 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex – The Grand
October 18 – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren
October 22 – Los Angeles, CA – The Wiltern

Words by Steven Ward

Listen to NIKI’s new album Nicole below!