Nicki Nicole Releases ‘Parte De Mi’, An Album That Will Make You Rethink The Way You Consume Music

I remember the first time I started to listen to music, and realise how impactful it could be, watching an Italian Western film with music by Ennio Morricone which opened a Pandora’s Box of brilliance for me listening to music that was vocalised in a different language. Since then, I’ve never shied away from music because I don’t understand the lyrics. This is in no way devaluing the lyrical value of a song written and performed in a language different to our own, but simply to understand the voice as a musical instrument in its own right. One of my favourite artists is Zucchero and I understand virtually no Italian but love the songs. To stop listening to the words is like losing one of our senses in that it heightens the others; suddenly we are not listening to the words but to the emotion, the tone of the voice, the way the words are delivered. This could not be more apparent than in today’s release from Latin sensation Nicki Nicole.

Nicki Nicole - Photo Credit Rodrigo Gonzalez
Nicki Nicole – Photo Credit Rodrigo Gonzalez

‘Parte De Mi’ is an album two years in the making as Nicki, nominated last year for a Latin Grammy as a newcomer and again this year for rock song collaboration ‘Venganza’, continues her rise. This is an artist that has been making music for some time as she combines super slick rapping, fusion R&B and Latin trap. She may not be a household name for us just yet but it’s simply a matter of time if this new album is anything to go by. She has regularly charted on the Billboard Argentina 100 chart and has just released a collaboration with Rauw Alejandro, a fellow nominee in the new artist Grammy last year, called ‘Sabe’ which is a hip hop fiesta filled with good vibes and brilliant dance base lines as well as being intimate and personal.

Nicki says:

“recording ‘Sabe’ with Rauw was incredible. Luckily we were able to get together in the studio, and everything felt smooth and organic. He is super talented and kind, we talked and decided where we wanted to go musically and the song turned out great.”

Nikki is a star already in her home country of Argentina and is an advocate for woman empowerment in that male dominated music scene. She even has a tattoo on her neck that reads “bullshit” and the star told The Guardian newspaper that this a reaction against the fact that in Argentina, women “are told how to act, how they should dress. I got this tattoo to say ‘F*ck that-I’ll do what I want.”

If doing what she wants is how she has put together this new album, then please continue. It’s an album full of diverse rhythm, pulsating beats, emotions, feelings and story-telling that takes the artist to a completely new level. If a record was designed to illustrate diversity, then title track ‘Parte De Mi’, translated ‘part of me’, is hugely moving and a real departure for Nikki. Watch the videos of Nicki’s songs with subtitles to understand the words but please only do this after you have let the musicality of the release wash over you so that you can understand how talented Nicki is at conveying emotion by vocalisation. The lyrical quality of the songs will then come as a beautiful added bonus.

Nicki Nicole - Photo Credit Rodrigo Gonzalez
Nicki Nicole – Photo Credit Rodrigo Gonzalez

She says of the album:

“After a year of isolation, I wanted to use this album to reconnect and remind everyone that we are all part of each other. I want my fans to feel as much a part of me as I do of them. We are the sum of moments, people, places, gazes, laughter, all things that unite us and make us who we are. I wanted this album to belong to the listeners just as much as it does to me. They are a major part of why I am where I am.”

Nicki has felt she had something to say from a very young age. At 17, Nicki would go to guerrilla freestyle MC competitions in public squares in her home town of Rosario, Argentina’s third biggest city, and despite being enthralled and charmed by the quick witted versatility of the rappers was, at the same time, left feeling out of sync by the machismo and aggression that seemed to make liking this music more difficult for women to embrace. She decided that the way to battle this injustice was with the weapons she had at hand, her brilliant voice and quick mind. As a male rapper chanted about how a woman was to blame for male violence against her because of how she dressed, Nicki retorted with her own mantra that people like him were to blame. Official statistics in Argentina say that a woman is killed every 32 hours and the audience erupted into whoops and cheers. The stage was set for change. The stage was set for Nicki and this album is the fruition of two years of deliberation, deep thought and work to make this the best album it could be. I get the feeling Nicki is a perfectionist, and if that’s the case, job done!

The album is sixteen tracks long and is full of collaboration. This has obviously been a chance to absorb the other artists’ powers like some modern Latin superhero, getting to know their styles, getting into their world and understanding their work ethics. For such a young artist to be so excited to learn and grow can only mean that this album will not only please her already huge popularity, she has over 10 million Instagram followers, but will draw more fans and believers into the world of Nicki Nicole. One of those believers is the legendary Christina Aguilera who has joined forces with Nicki, Nathy Peluso and Becky G to release a song of female empowerment, telling women everywhere how much they are worth. On Nicki’s verse it is clear how deeply she feels this and she excels in getting her message across to women, and men, everywhere. If someone as influential in music as Christina wants to work with Nicki and sing in Spanish, then we should sit up and take notice. Listening to the album will convert you, trust me.

The album cover sums up how Nicki wants her music and her being to be visualised. She is very much an advocate, it seems, of the idea that the puzzle pieces of humanity, like musical genre dexterity, can be pushed together to make a better whole. She is really happy with the album’s beautiful art work and says:

“I think the cover art is a representation of humans. Showing how all of us are the sum of fragments, clippings, parts. We liked playing with the idea of a jigsaw puzzle demonstrating that no matter how it’s all put together, we are all the product of various things that complete us and make us who we are”.

At 21, Nicki seems to have a very strong hold on the artist she wants to be, and I am thrilled to have been given the chance to listen to this wonderful album. I would recommend searching out her Tiny Desk Home Concert video online to really understand how good this artist is. In the stripped back showcase of her talent, Nicki previews this album in an intimate, soulful way. Trust me, even if you don’t understand a word of Spanish, you will be moved. Nicki is an artist that is taking on the establishment of machismo, the ingrained misogyny, the preconceived ideas of how a woman should behave in an environment that takes real bravery. She’s doing that with the shield of music and the sword of change. She is much more than an artist; she is a musical leader. Buy the album and join the crusade.

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