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010 On: The Juggle Balancing Motherhood and Creative Flow


Niko was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. Half Japanese, Spanish, Norweigen, 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. She spent hours at the piano every day, sang in gospel choirs and staged musical theatre perfomances in her backyard. By the age of 16 she was singing at jazz festivals across America with her prize winning High School Band.

After winning a scholarship to attend New York's prestigious New School and Thelonious Monk Institute, Niko had the opportunity to sing with jazz legends like Herbie Hancock and Reggie Workman by day, and to absorb the lights, sights and sounds of the city at night. She lent vocals to a number of deep house records on Francois K's Wave Records and was soon writing and recording her own material including the soundtrack for a PBS television documentary highlighting the plight of the homeless in NYC. In time her music made it's way to the UK where she was snapped up by Manchester’s Grand Central Records. In 2004, following collaborations with Mr. Scruff and Only Child, Niko released her debut album 'Life on Earth' which featured her first work with producer Aim (creator of 1999's seminal 'Cold Water Music'). 

In 2005, Niko and Aim left Grand Central to create their own imprint - ATIC Records - which allowed them total artistic and creative freedom, along with control over how future material would be presented. They released critically acclaimed albums by Death of the Neighbourhood (Stephen Jones), Crowhead, Gripper and The Witch And The Robot whilst working closely together on their own music. Niko lent vocals and keyboard chops to Aim’s 'Flight 602' album and fronted his ten piece live band on sold out tours across the UK. In 2008 she started work on her second album 'Hate & Love', which was written, recorded and produced with Aim at his Speed Limit Studios. 

Since moving to the UK, Niko has taken on a number of new musical influences including the electro-pop sensibilities of Stereolab and Gary Numan, the harmonies of The Beach Boys and the string soaked splendour of Sigur Ros, echoes of which can be heard throughout 'Hate & Love'. And whilst the depth and scale of the album's sound and ambition is impressive, most striking is the beautifully crafted songwriting with its heart-string tugging melodies and stark, almost raw lyrical honesty. We feel that Niko has taken a huge artistic leap forward with 'Hate & Love'.

Preceded by two singles, '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 and squelchy synths, layers of live instrumentation and aggressive lo-fi vocals, 'Hate & Love' is OUT NOW on ATIC Records.

Show Notes:  

EP:  Those from the Heaven's Come: Release Date Coming Soon!

Cold Water Music:  British Underground Classic

ATIC Records

NiKO Website