Nicki Nicole ‘Wasn’t Connecting’ With Her Soul Until She Made Her Latest Album
Nicki Nicole started conceptualizing her new album two years ago. But it wasn’t until she was fully transparent with herself about the darkness she was feeling — and how apagada or turned-off she felt — that she was fully able to break free.
“I wasn’t only saving myself through the music,” the Argentinian MC says. “But I found the things that make me happy.”
Alma, out Thursday, is a 10-track representation of who Nicole is today: a woman who is fearless in confronting those who doubt her, willing to push herself out of her boundaries sonically and lyrically.
“I wanted to create something that you could see where I’m headed. I wanted this album to be so transparent and show every part of me,” she says. “We’re all 1000 things at the same time. We’re always changing. It was about self-exploration. I felt like I wasn’t connecting with my soul.”
Some of the songs catch Nicole trying to leave the past behind — she seemingly alludes to her split from Argentine rapper Trueno with lyrics like “You failed me/Karma will make you pay” on “Se Va 1, Llegan 2” — and looking to turn low moments into learning experiences.
“Before, I’d take moments like that and try to control things and change how they are. I was immature,” she says. “I learned how you have to close one chapter to open another. I have to move forward.”
From her home in Buenos Aires, Nicki Nicole broke down five of her favorite songs on Alma:
Whenever things happen to me, I use music to help myself heal. When I started this album I was going through a lot of personal issues. The first step in that was writing “Ya No.” It’s the saddest track on the album. It’s when I realized that I needed to feel better. It wasn’t until I heard myself in the studio singing about how poorly I felt that the alarms finally went off. I knew there were things in me I needed to fix. The song is about my mind returning to the past and reminiscing on people from my past and my bad habits. “Ya No” is putting up limits and focusing on the present. It was a catharsis to understand that the past is the past and I have to move forward.
“Dispara” feat. Milo J
“Dispara” has a Nineties vibe to it. I love hip-hop and dropping bars, and using different tempos in songs. It’s about challenging people who talk poorly about me to just do it to my face and not behind my back. This song helped me let go of people’s opinions. Most people never say anything to your face, they always say it behind your back. I needed to release that feeling. This is a song that I think people will enjoy live — you’ll start bobbing your head without thinking. It has a great rhythm. The way I was able to start ignoring what people said about me is by thinking that others only speak on what they see. I used to care a lot about what people thought about me. It took growing and understanding how the world works that people will talk because they can.
“8 AM” feat. Young Miko
This song is so special because it wasn’t going to make the album. I hadn’t found a moment to meet Miko. It ended up happening as a coincidence. Everything aligned and we met for the first time. It came out so well. I love this one. It’s a trap vibe, which I love. I also had the goal of working with my favorite artists. Miko was the only person missing from the record, and I’m glad it happened. It talks about those moments when you’re with a new person and you get so hooked that you want to see them right after you meet them. I think a lot of us can relate to that feeling. [Laughs.] It was such a crazy process. Before we knew it, we were finishing the song and it was as if we had known each other our entire lives. That doesn’t happen to me with everyone. When she came to the studio, we started chatting as if we were friends for life. In the studio, she’s a beast. She writes so quickly and she’s so focused. She made me feel so safe and confident.
“Se Va 1, Llegan 2”
When I get out of a romantic relationship, I struggle with letting go. I end up getting stuck. My friends always would tell me, “Don’t worry! If one person leaves, two come in.” I wanted to play with that. It’s a bit silly. I’m young. I need to live my life. I need to focus on who I am and not get stuck on what has happened. The sounds on this one are the most experimental. It’s the first time I worked with El Guincho. I’m very direct in the lyrics. I was angry in the studio that day. [Laughs.] There’s nothing better than the producer helping you get to that point and not feel embarrassed to express your feelings. I end up taking low blows and see them as the start of something new. Life is about growing and evolving. Things last as long as you want them to. For me, everything is about learning. You have to move forward.
“Tienes Mi Alma”
This song talks about the process of admitting that someone or the voices in your head have control over you. It’s about letting go of that pride and admitting that you have my soul. The lyrics are strong and the melodies are darker, but it was my way of closing the album in an artistic way. I want people to enjoy this and heal like I did. I want people to understand who I am. If people ask “Who is Nicki Nicole?” This is the album I want my fans to show them. It’s exactly who I am.