Q&A: Argentinean Nicki Nicole crashes through ‘Mala Vida’ waiting out the world’s longest quarantine

Nicki Nicole

Nicki Nicole, Courtesy: Pull&Bear.

Rising Argentine R&B and pop artist Nicki Nicole has taken the world by storm with her electrifying dance anthems. She broke out with debut single “Music Sessions #13,” with producer Bizarrap, which carried her to the stage of the first-ever Spotify Awards.

Now she continues to shine as she lets her roots take charge in her unique blend of Latin pop and soul, gaining four nominations at Argentina’s 2020 Premios Gardel, as well as a Latin Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.

Even as she continues to rises, the 20-year-old (whose real name is Nicole Denise Cucco) acknowledges that the sudden change in her life has brought on its own set of highs and lows. Nevertheless, she embraces each step forward and continues to live for the enjoyment of making music—despite Argentina still being in official quarantine, eight months after the pandemic began.

“The limits are only in your mind,” she said in an email interview. “We are always afraid of some things. The mind invents its own obstacles and tells you this is as far as you can go. We don’t know what can happen, or what destiny has in store for us. The important thing is to be fearless and for us to give it our all, because that’s why we are here.”

RIFF: What’s pandemic life like in Argentina, and what have you been focussing on; music or new hobbies?

Nicki Nicole: I think it’s both things. Between hobbies and music, I was able to put out three songs. One of them is the collaboration with Trueno, and the other two are “Colocao” and “Mala Vida.” I had time to work with the [Spanish] fashion line Pull&Bear, from our respective locations. COVID-19 has been horrible for all of us, but I have been able to make some good things happen; it has helped me grow and think about what I want to do afterwards.

Argentina has now been in the world’s longest COVID-19 quarantine. It’s been extended through Oct. 25. What would you have been doing if quarantine was not in place right now?

Nicki Nicole: I would have been doing everything. In a normal year, I would be promoting my music all over the world and doing many shows. Because of the quarantine, I released lots of things that I might not have done otherwise. I am in a way thankful for what happened—for these opportunities—but I would be in a very different mood if there were no pandemic.

What will you most look forward to after quarantine? Any plans that fans should look out for?

Nicki Nicole: Once the lockdowns are over, I expect to go everywhere that my fans want to see me. The places that last year I had planned to perform—Mexico, Chile, Spain, Colombia and more. I will be everywhere; I’ll put out an album. I’ll do everything I can to stay close to them and of course make it to every country that I can.

Did you ever imagine “Music Sessions #13” would take off as it did? It’s been streamed 300 million times.

Nicki Nicole: When I put out my session with Bizarrap, neither of us thought it would blow up the way it did. We thought it would be another release that would be a step forward for both of us. We never thought it would be so big. At the Spotify Awards, I had a lot of fun. When they asked me to perform on stage, I was very scared until they told me I would be with Alemán and Cazzu; then I was calmer and had a great time. It’s all new for me, but I’m very grateful.

How has making music shaped your life and your future?

Nicki Nicole: My life changed a lot when I started making music, because I hadn’t even formally launched my career when people started giving me recognition. Each thing I did was more challenging. I felt like the bar was higher with each single. I had a lot of fun in the process. But it has its highs and lows because you feel like you have to give more to the next project, but you have to understand it first. Everyone is part of the world of music. All of us are singers in our own way. But when it came to commercially releasing my music, I went through stages of fear and a little anxiety. It took my friends convincing me that I was good for me to give it a shot. I had to live through a lot of things and listen to a lot of music for me to feel ready to try it. I believe it was worth it.

How do your roots play a part in your music and style?

Nicki Nicole: My roots are 100 percent of my essence. My singing style is based on who I am. I don’t try to imitate anything; I just experiment with different rhythms, without losing my intuition or my roots. So this is 100 percent my music and my roots.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Nicki Nicole: The biggest one was dealing with the recognition that people have given me, which is incredible, but at times makes me worry about letting them down, or not giving them what they’re hoping for. However, I learned that it’s only up to me to make the music that I like. The people who get you are going to follow you, whatever you do, and will make an effort to understand you.

Follow writer Amelia Parreira at Twitter.com/AmeliaParreira.