Niko was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. Half Japanese, Spanish, Norwiegen, German and Philipino, 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 perfomances 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 during the 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 which found their way to the UK where she was immediately signed by Manchester’s Grand Central Records. Following collaborations with Mr. Scruff and Only Child, in 2004 Niko released her debut album, the critically acclaimed ‘Life on Earth’, featuring 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. Together they signed, and managed the release of over 25 albums and singles to date. They continued to work closely together, with Niko adding vocals to Aim’s ‘Flight 602’ LP and fronting his 10 piece live band on sold out tours across the UK, before Niko got started on her second album ‘Hate & Love’, which she wrote, produced and recorded with Aim at his Speed Limit Studios.
Since moving to the UK, Niko has taken on a number of new musical influences including the harmonies of The Beach Boys, the electro-pop sensibilities of Stereolab and Gary Numan, and the string soaked splendour of Sigur Ros, all of which inform her second LP to a certain extent. What is most striking however about ‘Hate & Love’, isn’t the quality of its beats or the depth of it’s sound and ambition – it’s the beautifully crafted songwriting, the heart-string tugging melodies and the stark, almost raw emotional honesty of it’s lyrics.
Preceeded by two single releases: ‘The Daddy Remix’ a heavy-weight, Aim produced bomb featuring NYC hip-hop legends Q-Ball and Curt Cazal, and ‘You’re So Boring’ an energetic indie-pop stomper with tuff beats, squelchy synths, layers of live instrumentation and aggressive lo-fi vocals. Niko performed her new music at Kendal Calling as well as a very special performance with her band in a beautiful 19th century hall.
Niko continued to write and record and appeared on Aim’s most recent LP ‘The Habit Of A Lifetime (And How To Kick It)’ Her vocals on ‘The More I Get (The More I Want)’ was playlisted by Lauren Lavern of BBC Music 6 as well as being named album of the year by Dan Hagarty of Ireland’s RTE 2fm.
Niko is currently finishing her 3rd LP, a collection of synth pop electronic gems preceded by a single / video ‘Those From The Heavens Come’ which recently appeared on the TV series ‘Spotless’ When Niko isn’t in the studio you’ll find her hard at work as label manager of ATIC Records.
Niko – The Daddy Remix
Niko – Womb