Nicki Nicole Is Ready to Bare All With New Music: ‘Nothing Motivates Me More Than Knowing People Want More’

Before her ninth and final headlining show in Buenos Aires’ Movistar Arena last week, Argentine singer-rapper Nicki Nicole offered everyone in her dressing room a drink — of maté herbal tea. Speaking fast and eagerly (which she later apologized for), she said, “Ah, but if maté is too sour for you, you should try terere — you’d love that, it’s so refreshing!”

This sort of dorky openness puts everyone around her at ease, earning her a reputation for being humble and approachable despite her status as one of Latin America’s most in-demand Gen-Z stars and singer-songwriters. Since releasing her third album “Alma” last May, Nicole has earned three RIAA-certified plaques for singles including “8 AM” with Young Miko, “Dispara***” with Milo J, and “que le pasa conmigo” with Rels B. It wasn’t only in her home country that “Alma” hit big. The album pushed her to have 1.6 billion streams worldwide and led her to play to over 100,000 total fans at the Movistar Arena since August 2023.

Nicole defines herself as a rapper — she initially rose to stardom in the popularized freestyle rap scene of her hometown of Rosario in Argentina — with collaborations in genres from pop to reggaeton and collaborators that include Christina Aguilera, Becky G, Rauw Alejandro, Bizarrap and of course Peso Pluma, with whom she had a brief but tumultuous romance.

To her, this final Buenos Aires concert represents the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new, yet undefined one.

“It’s not like I think ‘Oh I’ll just perform’, then go home and sleep,” she stresses on the day of her last show in the venue. “It’s the end of something, this stage is over… I think fans feel the same. Some came to the first, second… third Movistar date. Like it was something infinite! But now we’re really at the end.”

Nicole’s first album, “Recuerdos,” dropped in 2019 and is an R’n’B/jazz-laden effort that testifies to her childhood love of artists like Amy Winehouse. It was released on Federico Lauría’s indie Argentine label, Dale Play. Then came her sophomore album, “Parte de Mi,” her first Sony Latin release, characterized by upbeat, polished reggaeton hits featuring the likes of Rauw Alejandro and Bizarrap. Her upcoming, untitled album will be her fourth effort and the follow-up to the Latin Grammy-nominated, “Alma.”

Yet despite her professional success, the year has proven turbulent in Nicole’s personal life. While on stage, she somberly prefaced to the audience, “As you know, a lot has happened to me recently… We all enjoy love, but we all suffer for it too.” Tears were shed but the sound of 15,000 fans chanting Nicole’s name helped lift her spirits back up.

The tears and the speech are likely linked to the spate of headlines surrounding Nicole’s brief but highly publicized relationship with Mexican breakout star Peso Pluma. They’d attended the Grammys together only weeks before, hand-in-hand on the red carpet where they celebrated Peso’s first win. A week later, he was covertly photographed with another woman while Nicole was on tour in Bolivia.

“I found out the same way all of you did,” Nicole wrote in an Instagram story shared with her 20 million followers. In the aftermath, fans rallied around Nicole on social media. On X (formerly Twitter) her name was trending across Latin America, with an outpouring of love and support.

During her final show in Buenos Aires, she teased an untitled and unreleased song — a stripped-down track with a heavy emphasis on the verse, “como si nada te fuiste con otra / pero yo me curo solita no es la primera vez que estoy rota / ten en cuenta que el karma tarde o temprano rebota” (You got with someone else like it was nothing/ But I self-heal, it’s not the first time I’ve been broken/ Keep in mind that karma will get you sooner or later).

“I never tell anyone what a song is about,” Nicole tells Variety. “That would be egotistical of me, I want people to make their own story.” Instead of getting into specifics, she explains the song is telling of the new material to come: where her lyricism and raps are at the fore, with instrumentation and production taking a backseat. It’ll be sincere, “for people to be able to identify with and experience catharsis [through the songs].”

“Alma,” which Nicole describes as the “darker” album of her previous efforts, took influence from the explosive trap scene of the Southern Cone, enlisting the help of fellow porteño rappers Milo J and YSY A. In her next project, Nicole aims to channel that same fiery spark but says she will return to her rap roots, spitting verses with the commanding bravado that got her here in the first place. She’s already started recording in Buenos Aires and Miami with Argentine urban producer Tatool.

“I’ve matured more in these years and have learned things that before I didn’t understand,” she says. “It’s great that fans have enjoyed and loved ‘Alma,’ but it’s important people don’t just stick with that record, that they’re looking for what’s next. Nothing motivates me more than knowing there’s a lot of people that want more from me. I love the expectations.”

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