[EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW] The Melodies of NIKA: A Behind-the-Music Look at Her Captivating Artistry

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Get to know singer-songwriter NIKA in this exclusive interview.

Effortlessly blending her South Korean and German roots, NIKA has firmly established herself as a captivating force in the K-pop and indie music scenes. Since her solo debut in 2016, the singer-songwriter has graced listeners with a catalog of emotive digital singles that showcase her versatility and lyrical prowess.

NIKA’s latest single, “Easy to Please Me,” adds another gem to her impressive discography. Released on June 2, 2024, the track is a testament to her ability to craft infectious melodies and introspective lyrics. Brimming with a laid-back charm and NIKA’s distinctive vocal stylings, “Easy to Please Me” invites listeners on a soulful journey of finding joy in the simple pleasures of life.

In an exclusive interview, NIKA opens up about the inspiration and creative process behind “Easy to Please Me,” her artistic evolution, and the driving force that propels her forward as a singer-songwriter. Delving into the personal narratives that infuse her music, NIKA shares insights that offer a deeper understanding of the woman behind the melodies, further cementing her status as a rising talent to watch in the industry.

Hellokpop: Congratulations on the release of “Easy to Please Me!” What message or feeling do you hope listeners take away from it?

NIKA: I want the listeners to relax, take a break, and feel the rhythm while listening to this song.

HKP: The title “Easy to Please Me” suggests a certain mindset or personality trait. How does this song reflect your personal growth or experiences?

NIKA: This song exactly reflects my personality and character. Some people think I’m too chic or complicated, but I’m actually very simple and down-to-earth. I’m happy when I see dogs and flowers, listen to music, and receive compliments. My close friends say I’m like a child, but I don’t show this side to everyone. That’s why I wrote these lyrics, to tell more about myself.

HKP: How does this new track differ from your previous releases like “After You” and “Magenta Lady?”

NIKA: “Easy to Please Me” is a very groovy city pop song. City pop is a genre I hadn’t explored before. I wanted to try something new, and it’s a genre I personally enjoy. This makes a big difference from my previous releases, which were R&B Soul (“After You”) and R&B (“Magenta Lady”).

HKP: Can you describe the creative process behind “Easy to Please Me?” How did the song come together from the initial idea to the final production?

NIKA: City pop was a genre my producer and I wanted to try someday. “Easy to Please Me” has significant meaning to me because I participated from the very beginning of the production. I gave my producer feedback on the detailed sounds, and I wrote the melody and lyrics. It didn’t take us much time to finish this song. In the middle of the production, we quickly decided to shoot the MV in Japan to capture the city pop vibes better in both the MV and the song. I think that was a very good decision we made. But initially, the idea to go to Japan started as a joke… Thank God I had coffee with my producer!

HKP: You’ve been active in the music industry for over a decade. How has your musical style evolved over the years?

NIKA: My vocal style and music have changed a lot. But the biggest difference is that I can now participate more in the production of my songs. At the beginning of my solo career, I couldn’t decide what genre to do, how to sing, or how to present myself, even though it was my song. This is very common in the K-Pop industry. I wasn’t unhappy with it, but I always wanted to make my own decisions and create my own music. Because of these experiences, I now know more about myself and the kind of music I want to make. I made music with several producers without the help of a label for a few years. I had chances to sign with some entertainment companies, but it didn’t work out. So, I realized that I should focus more on music rather than getting chosen by a label. Now, I’m with a label that understands and respects the music I want to create.

HKP: As a multicultural artist, how do your diverse influences shape your music?

NIKA: My father is German, and my mother is Korean. They met in Japan, and I was born there. So, I speak German, Korean, Japanese, and English. I have an understanding of these cultures, which makes me open to exploring different genres, too. This encourages me to create various music styles, and someday, I would like to write lyrics in more languages to communicate with fans all over the world.

HKP: Can you tell us about your journey from your debut single, “Goodbye,” to your latest release? What have been some of the highlights and challenges?

NIKA: “Goodbye” was released when I was still in the group Badkiz. It was my first solo song, and I was very happy. With the song “Luvidu,” I began my earnest career as a solo artist. After my contract with the company ended, I took a rest for almost a year. I found happiness in my daily life. I thought a lot about myself, what I like, what kind of person I am, and what kind of music I want to create. In 2019, I produced the song “At the Station (정거장에서)” by myself. I contacted a songwriter (who made the tracks) and wrote the melody and lyrics. So, this song means a lot to me. It gave me confidence. Then I made a remake of a famous Korean song, “Scattered Days,” and released several R&B songs like “Say It (말해주지마),” “Theodore,” “Silhouette,” “Completely,” and my latest songs like “After You” and “Easy to Please Me.” Every song was a challenge for me. If the melody seems simple, you have to express it more so the listeners don’t find it boring. If the genre is trendy, you have to work on your vocal skills to match the trend. I’m still on my musical journey, exploring new trends and working on new vocal abilities.

HKP: What advice would you give to aspiring singer-songwriters?

NIKA: I would like to say: “Know what you want and what you are good at, then strive for it!”

HKP: Your music often feels very personal and introspective. Are there particular experiences or themes you find yourself drawn to when writing songs?

NIKA: I try to balance personal experiences and made-up stories when I write lyrics. I am interested in different characters of women in various situations. Even if the story is universal, the feelings can be unusual and diverse. I focus on those aspects. When I write about something I experienced, I try not to make it too personal because I want the listeners to understand the situation.

HKP: What has been your favorite song to write and perform, and why?

NIKA: The song “Theodore” was my favorite to write. It’s a made-up story about a man named Theodore, who already has a girlfriend but is hitting on another woman. It was fun to create that story. “After You” is my favorite song to perform on stage. About a month ago, I had a small gig, and I really enjoyed singing it because of the soulful vibe. The whole band enjoyed it.

HKP: How do you stay creatively inspired and motivated?

NIKA: I can immerse myself in things I really like. I enjoy long walks, looking at my fish, taking care of my dog, watering my plants, and drinking coffee alone. In these moments, I feel calm and creative at the same time. Ideas for lyrics, melodies, and characters come to mind. Then, I quickly jot them down and piece them together into a song.

HKP: What can your fans look forward to next? Are there any upcoming projects or performances you’re excited about?

NIKA: I am trying to do more live performances this year. My next release will be in a few months. “Street Live” will also be uploaded regularly. I hope to perform abroad, not just in Korea.

HKP: Finally, please leave a message to your fans reading this.

NIKA: I am excited to do more performances and releases in the future. I hope you are, too. Please join me on my musical journey!

Connect with NIKA on Instagram, X, and YouTube.

Listen to her discography on Spotify or Apple Music.

*Special thanks to NIKA for this exclusive interview.