Niko was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. Half Japanese, Spanish, Norwegian, German and Filipino, her parent’s record collection was as rich as their heritage and from a very young age she was obsessed with music, spending hours at the piano every day, singing in a gospel choir and staging musical theatre in her backyard. By the age of 16 she was singing at prestigious jazz festivals across America with her prize-winning High School Band.
After winning a scholarship to attend New York’s New School and Thelonious Monk Institute, Niko studied with jazz legends like Herbie Hancock and Reggie Workman by day, whilst absorbing the sights and sounds of the city at night. She lent vocals to a number of deep house releases on Francois K’s Wave Records and was soon writing and recording her own tracks, a number of which found their way to the UK where she was immediately signed by Manchester’s Grand Central Records. In 2004, following collaborations with Mr. Scruff and Only Child, Niko released her debut album, the critically acclaimed ‘Life on Earth’ which featured her first work with producer Andy Turner aka Aim.
In 2005, Niko and Aim left the now defunct Grand Central to create their own imprint, ATIC Records, allowing them total artistic and creative freedom, along with control over how their future material would be released and marketed. They continued to work closely together, with Niko adding vocals to Aim’s classic ‘Flight 602’ LP and fronting his ten piece live band on sold out tours across the UK, playing everywhere from Glastonbury to a sold out Shepherds Bush Empire.
Niko’s second album ‘Hate & Love’, which she wrote, produced and recorded with Aim at his Speed Limit Studios, is striking in its quality. Not just its beats or the depth of its sound and ambition – it’s the beautifully crafted song writing, the heart-string tugging melodies and the stark, emotional lyrical honesty.
Music from this album saw some great sync placements including a Hollywood film, TV shows and commercials. Niko also developed her solo live set with an appearance on the dance stage at Kendal Calling along with a very special performance with full band in a beautiful 19th century Cumbrian hall.
She continued to write and record and appeared on Aim and QNC’s LP ‘The Habit of a Lifetime (And How to Kick it)’. Her vocals featured on the track ‘The More I Get (The More I Want)’ which was playlisted by Lauren Lavern on BBC Music 6. The album was named album of the year by Dan Hegarty of Ireland’s RTE 2fm.
Niko’s third LP, ‘Electric Union’, combines heavy dance, synth laden electronica and neon downtempo (all produced by Aim) and is set for release later this year. With early sync placement of the track ‘Those from The Heavens Come’ (appearing on the TV series ‘Spotless’) this record will see Niko’s unique sound and song-writing sensibilities reach a much wider audience.