In case you guys missed it, American singer Halsey brought her powerful vocals and insane stage presence to our Manila shores on August 10 when she performed at the Kia Theatre to a full-packed audience for her Hopeless Fountain Kingdom Tour.
Opening the show was NIKI, the 19-year-old breakout artist from 88Rising, who delivered an energetic performance. She certainly kept the audience up on their feet and ready for what the night has in store through her soulful beats and 90s type of R&B jams. After hyping up the crowd with a couple of her hits, I could easily say that I’ve been turned into a fan and I wanted to hear more from her.
As soon as I got home, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to look her up. I could not believe that she had just turned 19 and had just released her first EP this year entitled “Zephyr”. Based on her performance, you might think that she has been doing this for a long time since she looks and sounds like a seasoned pro.
Born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia; Nicole Zefanya aka “NIKI” grew up around 90s R&B artists like Destiny’s Child and Aaliyah who influenced her music. She first gained popularity through her YouTube covers and original songs which have now been deleted.
Prior to joining 88Rising in 2017, she independently released two songs namely “Polaroid Boy” and “Anaheim”. At present, she is dubbed as “the Internet’s favorite R&B princess” breaking the cliches of teen stardom by writing, recording, and producing her own music from the four corners of her bedroom.
While scrolling through the Google-generated results, I also found out more about her label: 88Rising. According to their company primer, “88Rising is the only premier brand for Asian youth culture, effortlessly bridging East to West while celebrating Asia’s cultural vibrancy.”
I heard about this company a while back since they’re the ones responsible for introducing Rich Brian, Joji, and the Higher Brothers to mainstream media and for bringing them to Manila last year. Not only do they promote the magnificent Asian culture, but they also allow their artists to reach their full potential, making them hits both in Asia and other continents, particularly in the West.
88Rising is not just a music label/company, but also a Digital Media Brand with over 1 billion engagements, a 360 Culture Agency that has created creative campaigns for the biggest multinational brands, and a Film/Premium Content Studio that develops content for TV, digital platforms and film.
If you’re interested to learn more about NIKI, I encourage you to buy and stream her songs online. Here are a couple of my favorites to get you started:
See U Never
In this song, NIKI talks about her ex and how she’s already done with him and the things he has been doing. If you’re on the verge of moving on or if you have finally moved on, then this song would be perfect for you.
Single and feeling jealous of all of the couples around you? Warpaint is the perfect anthem to profess self-love and to be strong and independent. You definitely do not need a significant other just to feel loved and cared for.
NIKI is basically telling us not to fall for that guy with a bad reputation when it comes to girls. He may capture you with his words and kisses, but you can do so much better than that.
NIKI reminisces about a past relationship and all of their memories together. She sounds a bit regretful in this song and even references her song “See U Never” where she talks about a breakup. Warning: You might miss your ex after listening to this one. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
I Like U
Have you ever fallen for someone who did not feel the same way, but you confessed your feelings to them either way? Or have you ever been involved in a casual relationship with someone and then ended up falling for them? Well, this song’s for you. You might regret your confession, but it’s still better than keeping your feelings to yourself, right?
After listening to those 5 songs, I’m sure you’ll be a fan of hers, too. If you want to stay updated and get first dibs on her upcoming releases, make sure to follow her on social media. Also, be sure to follow 88Rising as it continues to promote Asian pride globally.
Twitter / Instagram: @nikizefanya
Twitter / Instagram: @88rising