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Get to know Indonesian pop star NIKI

The Manila Times logo The Manila Times 1 day ago Mark Bonifacio
a close up of a woman © Provided by The Manila Times

She opened for Taylor Swift at age 15. Four years later Complex hailed her as one of 2018’s “Best New Artists.” Now at 21, Indonesian vocalist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Nicole Zefanya, better known as NIKI, crosses a new creative threshold with her first full-length album, “Moonchild.” Earning wide critical acclaim since her breakthrough EP, “Zephyr,” NIKI has cultivated fans around the globe with her expressive voice, personal songwriting and genre-blurring artistry, becoming a vibrant symbol of – and an advocate for – a generation of Asian musical artists.

The 10-song Moonchild, is an ambitious concept album that traces NIKI’s own journey while tackling universal themes of identity and empowerment. A sonic allegory, the EP illuminates the linear path of youthful exploration through three lunar phases: crescent moon (innocence, curiosity, embarking), half-moon/eclipse (loss of hope, disillusionment) and full moon (self-discovery, strength).

The album itself offers an exploration, infusing its triptych song structure with eclectic styles – R&B, pop, urban, punk, country – from stripped-down piano ballads to lushly orchestrated anthems. A full two years in the making, Moonchild has brought NIKI together with such collaborators as producer/writer Jacob Ray, the producer collective Bekon & the Donuts (Kendrick Lamar, SZA), and Montreal producer Pomo (Anderson .Paak, Mac Miller). It includes previously released singles like “Switchblade”, “Selene” and “Lose.”

“Moonchild is this comprehensive concept album where top to bottom, when you listen to it, every song relates to one another. It just seamlessly transitions into one another and tells this single line story about this character named Moonchild. I’ve always been a fan fairytales and storybooks. It’s just really important to me when I did put out a body of work that is extended an album per se, that it would be cohesive. That there be a theme and a motif. Fans can expect it to just be this sonic and cinematic experience. Just imagine watching a movie or reading a book but through music and through listening. I tried to that as best as I can with the music, the instruments, the production, the lyrics, the videos, the visuals and all that stuff. There’s just a lot to ingest. I hope the fans love it and you guys resonate with at least one of the songs,” NIKI said in an exclusive interview with Music Geek.

For the rest of the excerpts of the Indonesian star’s very engaging interview for The Manila Times Entertainment, do log on to www.manilatimes.net.

Special thanks to Anne Poblador of Amplified Entertainment for arranging this interview.

Follow the author on Instagram: markbonifacio25.

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