Undoubtedly, Nicki Nicole is one of the greatest figures in urban music. He is 23 years old and from the age of 19 he burst onto the scene from Rosario, although he was immediately encouraged to settle in Buenos Aires.
An unusual fact is that, despite transmitting so much strength, energy and determination, Nicki admits that the day she considered making music the first thing she did was tell her mom that she wanted to dedicate herself to that, and that she was not going to do it if she did not have her support.
"I want to dedicate myself to this," he remembers telling him, "and I know it's very strange what I'm asking you, because I don't know if it's going to happen."
His mother gave him the support he needed so much and from there everything was taking shape until he reached the success he dreamed of, from the first hit to the current popularity throughout the American continent and Europe.
Nicki Nicole, the great figure of Argentine trap, with success throughout the American continent and also Europe. Press photo.
"It was a proposal," he says, "from a girl who lived in Rosario, lower middle class and without any contact. But when he gave me his support I swear I felt like Superman was backing me up and it all started happening."
And he adds: "It happens to me that if I have the support of my environment and the people I love, I feel that I am indestructible."
With the backing of her Superman, then, Nicki Nicole was gaining confidence and reaping triumphs. His first song made in Rosario (Wapo traketero) was a milestone for the whole world of the flourishing urban music, which in Capital was going from being an almost cult freestyle to obtaining millionaire reproductions on YouTube, by the hand of figures such as Duki, Cazzu, Ysy-A, Neo Pistea and Wos.
Nicki Nicole in Viña del Mar, with her Gaviota de Plata trophies. Press photo and IG
Step by step, the small (1.45 meter) but powerful Nicki was marking the first milestones for her career and for the genre: an early song with Bizarrap, a first album, and successive collaborations with Trueno, Duki, Dread Mar-I and even the Uruguayan rock group No Te Va Gustar.
The pandemic did not stop her march: she earned Latin Grammy and Lo Nuestro Award nominations, was a guest on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show on American television, and released a second album with guests such as Rauw Alejandro, Tiago PZK and Mon Laferte.
On top of that, Christina Aguilera immediately invited her to record with Becky G and Nathy Peluso. And to crown it all, in October 2021 he made the first Tiny Desk performance in Buenos Aires, which today has 20 million views on YouTube. Unstoppable.
The current moment
Nicki has just released Alma, her third album, which she had already been anticipating with singles such as No voy a llorar and Qué le pasa conmigo?, with Rels B.
The cover of "Alma", Nicki Nicole's third album.
According to him, he was preparing it "on an emotional level" two years ago, almost since he finished the previous album, and a year ago he started with the work in the recording studio.
"The lyrics," he specifies, "are super recent. They are all from 2022, especially from the end of 2022, because first we started preparing what the concept was, then the sound and the last lyrics."
What was that concept, or what did you want to do differently from the previous album?
-I felt I had to show myself 100%. On the previous albums and in my music I used to be quite shy, like afraid to show myself vulnerable or how I really am. I only used to do it once in a while.
This time I said "Okay, things are happening to me, sometimes good and sometimes not so good" and I wanted to show the different facets in the same album. I think that's why people felt so identified as soon as I took it out.
-From what the lyrics say it could be described as a "separation album", a break-up album, post-Trueno.
-Yes, it's a bit of separation. But not only separation of couple, but also a separation of oneself and how to say goodbye to that old Me to be able to bring those new things that are much more piolas.
I feel that it is good to say goodbye to those old habits that did not take me anywhere, like not being able to enjoy everything that was happening to me and doing things half on autopilot. The connection with this album helped me a lot to make catharsis and aspire to the new thing I want to be, which is like what I am now.
Growing up in public
-How do you see that great growth from the first album until now?
The truth is that at the beginning of my career I didn't know how to handle it. I thought music was just putting out songs and everything is fine. I didn't know about the social media reviews! I remember I was 18-19 years old and I thought everyone hated me. I took everything personally and did not understand that people speak half because it is free and they are easy opinions to give on social networks.
I learned that people see everything that happens to me, which at first I saw as something bad, but now I see it as something repiola. The fans know what's wrong with me, they see me sad and they write to me to make me feel better. Those things helped me, especially because I came to live here in Buenos Aires alone, without my family.
Nicki Nicole, after releasing her third album, "Alma". Photo: Emmanuel Fernández
-Did you come after releasing the first album, or before?
-I came here during the first album, from the beginning, and that's why many things hit me a little harder. The pandemic, for example, hit me hard for being away from my family. Luckily people today come to the door of the radio, receive me at airports and ask me how I am, so it goes beyond the artistic. There is a connection from the personal, and that helps me a lot because many people who listen to me are my same age.
I began to understand that being part of this movement, being an artist and having messages to deliver is a great responsibility, but at the same time it is a great relief. It heals me a lot to have people, to know that they are there and that they really care. It is a pleasure to be in such good company.
Family and friends colleagues
-Do you keep in touch with your family and escape to Rosario as soon as you can?
- Yes, re. Especially at birthday parties, I go there in the summer, which is also when I have free, because almost every time I'm here in Buenos Aires I'm on tour or doing things, and I don't usually stay at home much either. Whenever I can, I go to Rosario, obviously.
Nicki Nicole played last year at the Movistar Arena as part of Mivistar Fri Music, and will now give two shows to present her new album, in August. Press photo.
-How did you become friends with your colleagues? You had collaborations with everyone, which were also starting around the same time.
-Many of my friends are peer artists with whom I love to share, because I feel that there are many things that only we understand. Like when you miss a lot on tour but at the same time enjoy it.
It helped me a lot to meet art people from here, and I learned a bocha with very interesting artists. In fact I made many friends that I did not imagine, because I am a super shy girl and my group of friends was always the same.
I met many people with whom we share interests, and also older people, for example the musicians in my band, who are 30-something. I started to mature super fast when I met people who know about music, have data, have played with legends and on top of that they become friends with you. And I'm not telling you I'm super mature, but I learned so much!
-Who surprises you how well he is doing now, for example the four Velez of Duki or the hit of Bizarrap with Shakira?
-To everyone you named. Duki, for example, is a person who accompanied me at the beginning of my career and when I think it can't be better, you get a Velez that ends up being four. Those things pass me on because I know them as people. Also to the Biza.
I know how much effort is behind it and how they started. El Duko started rapping in the square, from scratch, and now he is representing a country and is a pride. Everything that is happening in Argentina with artists is a source of pride.
-Many musicians say that after the success they had to live a first stage of lack of control and bursting, but then they were ordered and professionalized. How was your case?
-What was good about me is that I was grabbed by the team that was working with Duki and Biza, so they told me what to do or where to go. I personally didn't know anything! You would stand me on a stage and I was so embarrassed that I wanted to hide and play from behind. And all those processes the fans lived with me. They saw everything in my growth and are still here. In these Movistar of August is no longer the Nicki with shame.
Nicki Nicole live at the Nos Alive Festival, Lisbon, July 2022. Photo: EFE
-Was there a show or a special moment when the shy Nicki left and you started to enjoy yourself?
-It was progressive, after the pandemic, when the shows came back with everything and I was very afraid because people were in high demand. We went to Spain and the shows were super running. In the middle of the tour I already believed Beyonce! It helped me a lot to play very often, especially the presence on stage, because singing is sometimes easy, but maintaining the energy of the people is difficult, especially if it is a festival where maybe they went to see other artists.
-Yes. But the truth is that people always stayed to see the show and I loved that.
-Your success was very immediate and surely you had the pressure to do shows everywhere at the same time. How were you able to manage your personal space and rest?
-I had vacation. The team has something epic and everything they close in terms of tours and shows is very well thought out. Obviously there are months with ten shows and notes to break. There the body begins to ask you to take care of yourself a little. The moments in which we arrange the tours and see them with time serve me a lot. And I always have holidays, because no one can be without stopping; The body needs to rest for a moment.
Heading to your own Movistar
-How did you spend it at Movistar Fri Music last year?
-It was amazing! I remember it was Halloween and people were dressed up. This is going to be the first Movistar of its own and I feel that it is going to be something very different and that gives me a lot of anxiety, in a good way. I'm counting the days and looking forward to breaking it.
-Have you been singing these new songs live?
-So far none because there was still no show of the album. We played Rels at the Foro Sol, where there were 65,<> people and I almost died. Before leaving I was like "Nothing happens, I played at the Velez de Duko, I'm calm", but I put one foot, I heard people like the cry of a lion and I thought, "Here I faint but I'm going to give everything until the pressure goes down!". And nothing, when I saw Rels and the people singing the song it happened to me.
Nicki Nicole at the famous Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, in California, April 2022. Photo: AFP
-How do you imagine these two Movistar in August?
-It's going to be a new show, with a new message: the connection with the soul, heart and mind. A lot of triangle in the visuals, to represent those three things. We plan it so that people go to live an experience, like a play or a movie. Everything is connected, both the sounds and the dancers. We take this show very seriously because we feel it's like a before and after in what Nicki Nicole is and everything she generates. We are going to do it first in Spain, on the tour.
Nicki Nicole at Lollapalooza Argentina 2022. Photo: Martin Bonetto
-A piece of advice for someone who is starting out and who is given everything at once, as happened to you?
-Do not limit yourself, do not be afraid and do not want to be someone else. Stay in yours, which is your essence, because if you're going to do something that sounds like someone else you're never going to be who you want to be. I feel like one of the hardest things is branding an identity in the industry, like being listened to and saying "Oh, it's such." I listen to the Duko with a tango and I know it's the Duco.
And how would you tell him to manage his personal life in the midst of so much success?
-When things happen this fast, the main thing is to enjoy it. That's key.
How is the album: the era of maturity
Two weeks ago came out Alma, Nicki Nicole's third album, which leaves aside the effective "cross-over plan" of so many luxury collaborations and focuses on deepening her own style and personality, just summoning Rels B, Ysy-A, Young Miko and Milo J.
If my name is still in your mouth, you're going to regret that it's like that As I only have few, I know you're going to regret it So shoot, point at me, shoot Let it not be back, but face to face
The result is mature and profound, with precise lyrics that bare his soul, precisely. It could also be classified as a "break-up album", for making catharsis of the separation of her famous boyfriend, Trueno.
He begins with the voice of an old blouse, in the best Moby style, in Ya no, where he sings "Ya no buscaco más de ti". Then comes the hit Dispara, with airs of hip-hop of the '90s type Coolio and overflowing attitude: "If my name is still in your mouth, you will regret that it is so. Since there are only a few, I know you will regret it. So shoot, point at me, and let it not be from behind, but face to face."
Nicki's voice is deformed via autotune like a squirrel (or Rosalia) at the beginning of I will not cry, where she displays all her style and way of phrasing, while singing verses like "I will not cry when you leave, I will not suffer if you leave me, I have already convinced myself that your love can not be for me".
The theme with the ascendant Young Miko is another hit, 8 AM, the rhythm of Se va 1 llegan 2 wastes the attitude overcome after a disappointment, and in Call me it is more intimate and vulnerable.
The final stretch has the big hit Qué le pasa conmigo?, the abolished Latin air and the empowered & romantic tone of Tuyo (Cover) - Una que quise hacer, the catchy rap with Ysy-A in Caen las estrellas, ("I accelerated for you, I drifted for you, I got lost for you, I met for you") and the closing with the confessional You have my soul.
-Is it your best album, then?
- For me, yes. Everyone has something different, but this one represents me too much.