NIKI: Tiny Desk Concert
NPR Music's Tiny Desk is celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. These artists represent just a sliver of the cultural diversity that exists within the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
NIKI, a.k.a. Nicole Zefanya, took a circuitous route to the Tiny Desk. Born in Jakarta, she scored a major opportunity by winning a competition at 15 to open for Taylor Swift when her Red Tour took her to Indonesia. After moving to Nashville and building a following as a YouTuber, NIKI released two EPs and an album (Moonchild), then moved to L.A. and landed her song "Every Summertime" on the soundtrack to the Marvel blockbuster Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: The Album. Our own Bobby Carter heard that track and fell in love, and soon enough, NIKI and her band were breaking in the latest instrument in our in-house Tiny Desk collection: a light-blue toy piano.
That li'l piano figures prominently in "Backburner," the song that opens NIKI's Tiny Desk debut, but these songs also reflect a more serious side. "The Apartment We Won't Share," which the singer says "sort of laments the loss of an unlived life with somebody," recalls the weightier reflections of Taylor Swift, while "Before" tells the specific-but-relatable story of a long-distance love that falls apart before it can get fun. But NIKI closes her set on a breezy note, as she and her band swim in sleekly soulful, '70s-singer-songwriter vibes throughout "Every Summertime." The story of a love that grows and evolves with each passing summer, it had Bobby and the rest of us swaying, swooning and swimming in high hopes for the weeks and months to come.
TINY DESK TEAM
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