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  • - I knew that I was gonna be involved in music somehow,

  • I just didn't really know how I was gonna get there.

  • Living in Indonesia, being born in Jakarta,

  • it just seemed impossible.

  • I'm Niki, this is "On The Rise".

  • (gentle synth music)

  • I have been singing for as long as I can remember

  • because my mom sang at church.

  • I would say I identified as a singer-singer

  • probably when I was like, 18?

  • (slick trap beats)

  • When I started my career professionally, singing,

  • my family was, I honestly, I'm sorry mom and dad

  • but I kind of signed my first contract behind their backs.

  • In the beginning I think

  • it wasn't that they were unsupportive,

  • it was more so that they didn't understand

  • because obviously they came from a different generation

  • and it just was difficult to wrap their head around.

  • It just sort of took a few conversations for them

  • to ultimately kind of understand where I was coming from.

  • Oh, I'm in love, I'm in love with you, boy

  • I don't know how I managed to win that Taylor Swift contest

  • but I got involved because my mom had sent me a flyer

  • and I was like, this is a hoax,

  • don't believe everything you read,

  • and she was like, no, no, no, this is real!

  • Just being 15, walking out into a stage

  • of just like, and everybody's faces at that point

  • kind of like, they just kind of blur into one in a way,

  • and also you have like the blinding lights on you

  • and it just kind of, that experience solidified my love

  • for performing and that's when I kind of realized, like,

  • oh, okay, 10,000 people sounds daunting

  • but when you're up there and the adrenaline's rushing

  • and it's just like, I can do this,

  • and I actually like doing this,

  • and I like entertaining people.

  • If I could, I'd freeze this moment

  • Make my my home

  • You're all I want to want to know

  • How I got involved with YouTube is kind of a loaded answer

  • but I actually started it

  • after I had opened for Taylor Swift

  • when I was 15 years old.

  • I was just noticing that on my Instagram

  • people were curious about me and people just wanted to know

  • if I wrote songs and they just wanted to know about me

  • and what my experience was like

  • and so I think one of my very first YouTube videos

  • was just kind of like an update blog

  • of life after the concert and what I was up to

  • and then that kind of catalyzed me just feeling really

  • prompted to kind of share my original songs on there.

  • YouTube just kind of allowed for this, you know,

  • it just felt like a community where people

  • supported my endeavors and they supported my dreams

  • and just like, my writing and whatnot.

  • (upbeat synth music)

  • I had no plan, really, but my immediate plan

  • was obviously the traditional route of going to college,

  • getting a degree, figuring it out.

  • I actually released "See You Never" before I went to college

  • that's how I first got involved with 88rising

  • and the story behind "See You Never" was also pretty funny

  • because I literally was talking to

  • my producer friend who I was working on the song with

  • and I said, you know, how crazy would it be

  • if it like ended up on 88rising, hahaha.

  • Like that would ever happen, you know?

  • Pipe dream-type, you know, this type of conversation

  • and then it happened and I was just kinda like, what?

  • And yeah, that started my relationship with 88

  • and it just kind of snowballed into like,

  • hey, come out to L.A., we wanna work with you

  • and we wanna sign you.

  • I wasn't going to class and it got to a point

  • where I was literally between Nashville and L.A.

  • every single week and I just kinda decided, like,

  • this is not sustainable for me

  • and I already know that this is kind of what I want to do

  • in the future anyway so I just kind of went out on a limb

  • and did it.

  • It took a lot of courage.

  • My latest single "Switchblade" kind of talks about that

  • in a very metaphorical kind of way.

  • This place, the skies are vast and no one's ♪

  • The release of Zephyr was honestly insane,

  • I had no idea in terms of how it was going to catalyze

  • my career from then on and how it was going to affect

  • my relationship with my fans,

  • and what kind of fans I attracted and just like,

  • you know, just basically built the, how it was gonna build

  • the foundation in which I, you know, grew my career.

  • The reception was overwhelming,

  • it was just so positive and people were so excited to see

  • especially within the Asian market, Asian Americans,

  • Asians in Asia, Asians everywhere just kind of,

  • I received an overwhelming amount of responses

  • just saying, like, hey, thanks for representing me

  • and like, what, you know, my face and like what I look like

  • and my story and that was, that was what kept me going

  • I think, it was just like, okay, I need to do this

  • for all the girls that look like me,

  • all the kids that look like me,

  • that wanna do what I wanna do.

  • Zephyr is actually Greek for west wind,

  • I wish it was intentional, I wish I could say

  • that I was that much of a genius but it really wasn't.

  • I discovered that later, it was the body of work

  • that kind of moved me westward

  • and just kind of, to the U.S. and it just established

  • this global audience.

  • (slick hip-hop beats)

  • I am such a huge fan

  • of the Kacey Musgraves "Golden Hour" album,

  • I just love that album.

  • I'd really love to work with those guys,

  • Daniel and Ian, that's probably a dream collaborator,

  • dream director, man.

  • You know what, I'm honestly a sucker

  • for Taylor Swift's videos so I would love

  • to work with Joseph Kahn.

  • His videos with Taylor are insane.

  • Those are probably my two like, dream collaborations.

  • (crowd cheering)

  • Welcome to Head in the Clouds II!

  • My name is NIKI, I've waited a really long time

  • to play this show.

  • Yo, I put this song out four days ago, you know it?

  • Y'all the first to hear it live!

  • Seeing thousands of people sing the words

  • that you penned back to you is the most insane feeling.

  • Both Head in the Clouds festivals were absolutely insane.

  • We started the 88rising tour with that festival

  • being the first stop and it was just

  • so incredibly career-defining for me

  • and just, like, to see an ocean of faces

  • that just kind of, like, they all looked like me, you know?

  • All in one place, and it was just, it was so great

  • to gather in the spirit of just celebrating

  • heritage and culture and music.

  • There are no words to describe it,

  • but that was very, very much fulfilling and solidifying.

  • (mellow synth music)

  • So, what's next is my Moonchild concept album,

  • it's my debut album that I've been working on

  • comprehensively for about a year and a half now

  • and I have a single coming out, it's called Selene,

  • I'm super excited about this whole project

  • because it's definitely my most wide-ranging body of work

  • so far and it's a cohesive concept album.

  • It's kind of like listening to a storybook

  • if you listen top to bottom.

  • This album was definitely my little brainchild.

  • I loved fairytales and I loved sci-fi and just like,

  • you know, it follows this titular character

  • of the Moonchild from top to bottom

  • and you witness her growth.

  • All of my past work has been very much focused on, you know,

  • young love and puppy love.

  • This album is very much centered around self-discovery

  • and just my personal journey growing as an artist

  • and as a human being.

  • (delicate piano music)

  • In terms of making it, I dunno, I feel like

  • I will forever strive to get to the next level.

  • Every time that I release something, the goal is to out-do

  • what I've done before.

  • I have fans that have like, stuck with me

  • since the YouTube days that I still, I'm like,

  • oh my gosh, I'll see their handle or their name

  • and be like, I know you!

  • You commented on that video like in 2015!

  • It's insane and then to see them like, graduate school

  • and it's just, yeah, it's very,

  • it's been a very rewarding experience for me

  • and all I want to do is just motivate Asian faces everywhere

  • that you can pursue your dreams, whatever they look like.

  • (chill synth music)

- I knew that I was gonna be involved in music somehow,

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NIKI Talks Opening For Taylor Swift, Growing Up on YouTube & Moonchild Album | Harper's BAZAAR

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    Summer posted on 2020/07/30
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