The artist who you might have known about through her song "every summertime" as the lead of the motion picture soundtrack for the Marvel Studios' Film, Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings or single "Lowkey" a mega-viral hit at over 200 million Spotify Streams. Releases a whole new all after two years from her last album in September 2020, "Moonchild."
Who is NIKI?
23-year-old NIKI slammed the door on the convention of pop stardom-writing, recording, and producing music on her own. A self made indonesian artist, born in Jakarta and based in Los Angeles. Signed with the record label 88 Rising thathas artists Jackson Wang, Joji, Rich Brian and many more. Niki was able to grab the attention of audiences around the world, earning praise from Billboard "as one of the brightest rising stars." Earning wide critical acclaim since her breakthrough EP,"Zephyr,"and her debut album, "MoonChild", Niki has gotten her fans cultivated with her expressive voice, personal song writing, and genre blurring artistry, becoming the vibrant symbol for Asian Americans and an advocate for the next Asian generation of music artists.
The 88rising star revisits her teen years in Jakarta with her folk-pop confessionals. Nicole Zefanya is her real name as she names the Album after her full first name. The Album 'Nicole' was released on August 12,2022. In such a short time the track has amassed over 13 million streams. Niki, reconnects her fans to her early journey as a musician, ditching the string of co-writers and a savvy pop sheen of her other album MOONCHILD: Instead the were gifted by the reproduced songs written in her teens, embracing both the raw confessions and unapologetic schmaltz. Having that kind of voice to put someone in the trance, leaving her previous flows behind and turning to a vulnerable brand of alternative pop.
Song Mentions"Before", the opening song, immediately threw the listeners into her life without a warning. Bringing us in on her softer direction that zoned in on her knack for storytelling. The song 'High School in Jakarta' is bittersweet and mid tempo, with the latter having more energy with sputtering synthesizers and catchy melodies. It's an example of Zenfeya's past, it did come a bit nostalgic, not that sentimental but simply just watching her literally living in her teenage years. It was a lyrical moment that walked in the fine line of being playfully nostalgic but could be cringey and repetitive. For instance: "High School in Jakarta/ Sorta modern Sparta/ Had no chance against teenage suburban armadas," the infinitely hummable hook of the song that thoroughly milked for repetition. What's interesting is that it works, it gets stuck in my head, the melody that makes me bop my head back and forth singing along the fifth time it crop: in the 3-minute track. The lyrics "Now there's drama/Found a club for that where I met had a heart attack/ Yada, yada" does make up for it with bringing the light humor and detail to her tale of boy troubles. The Visual on her music video is definitely worth it as it helps listeners see her journey and story she has played out for us. Tracks like "Anaheim" and "On The Drive Home' demonstrated her unparalleled songwriting ability, capturing the despair and longing in its most poetic form. The type of song to listen to driving in the rain and looking out the window having the sad dramatic tears roll down your face. The song laid over the soft acoustics, maintaining a hazy alternative popo sound weaving through the stories of being both the broken and the one who breaks. A lot of her other songs "Autumn", "Milk Teeth", "Backburner", reach the Taylor Swift-level genius, the reckonings with love often thoughtful and whimsical. "Keeping tabs" was a song that allowed for her fans to come across as completely relatable and despite the fame that NIKI has gained it shows she still is just a person. "Take A Chance With Me" is a perfect ending to finding the right words and saying them a: clearly as possible. Ending the album with a ballad moved along by the perky plucking of enchanting lyrics overflowing with affection to feel in my heart. The Chorus consists of earnest vocals begging for communication and honesty, very relatable. After all songs dealing with frustration and longing in a heartbreak, answers and resolutions help close the album on an inspiring, satisfying note from listening in on Niki’s first heartbreak.