Niki Black - Not Coming up
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Niki is Iranian-American, with an array of
influences that represent her mixed heritage. While her father, a Chicago native, introduced her to the blues and American classics, her mother filled the house with Persian cultural influences - from the mystical writings of Rumi to the sounds of Iranian pop legend, Googoosh.
Niki began learning piano at the age of four, simultaneously discovering classical composers and cinematic modern music. When she began taking vocal lessons at the age of 13, she was taken by both the flamboyant arias of Opera and the expressiveness of musical theater. Drawing influence from the melodies and chord progressions of these styles, she began writing her own music at the age of 15.
Now, Niki gets inspiration from artists like Lorde, Blood Orange, Years & Years, and Sevdaliza. “They’re the perfect blend of otherworldliness, beauty, modernity, and rebellion,” shares Niki.
Niki is set to release her debut EP, which was largely inspired by her studies in feminist theology.
“I was enchanted by old Judaism, namely the mythology of the female demon Lilith, and how she mirrors Eve,” shares Niki. “The thousands of years of interpretations of the myths of the religious texts are goldmines in the way that they illuminate my creativity and thoughts, and also how they inform so many of our modern generation's conscience, especially when it comes to sexual politics.”
Niki’s first single, “Not Coming Up,” is a dark and beautiful ode to her first queer relationship. The video for the song was inspired by one of the gothic churches Niki explored during her time in Prague, studying art and architecture. Directed by up and coming Czech director, Jan Strach, and produced by Gabriela Heclova, the video also features the House of Black Madonna, a shrine to one of the most important religious figures of divine femininity.
“I felt the church to be central to the song’s idea of being denied entrance to heaven because of your sexuality,” explains Niki. Niki, incidentally, is tremendously involved in women’s rights and LGBT initiatives.
Niki’s much anticipated debut EP mirrors, in a way, Dante's Divine Comedy, describing the journey from heaven to oblivion, or hell.
“I wanted to retell that descent from a modern feminine perspective, one of the damned, which some of us may feel like sometimes, or all the time....whether it's from religion directly, from a relationship, or from yourself,” shares Niki. “Amazingly enough, I had three songs already written even before I knew I was going to live in Prague and Florence, and had this idea of realm traveling through song - perhaps a foreshadowing of some sort - but the experience abroad truly brought everything together divinely.”
Listen to “Not Coming Up" below: