Indonesian vocalist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Nicole “NIKI” Zefanya, 21, shares her new haunting synth/percussion-driven single “Switchblade” via 88rising. The new song is distributed by 12Tone Music.
Inspired by NIKI’s move to the United States from across the world, “Switchblade” serves as a fist-high tribute to bravery amidst unknown fates with lyrics like “the winds of change have nothing on this switchblade faith.” It sets the tone for NIKI’s forthcoming concept album “Moonchild,” which is scheduled to debut later this summer.
To complement the single, NIKI dropped the music video for “Switchblade” on April 2, 2020. Directed by Tom Teller and produced by Frame 48 (P!NK, Marshmello, Kehlani), the music video introduces NIKI as the innocent and naive moonchild born from a divine silk cocoon as she explores her new surroundings.
Over the course of NIKI’s journey, we see her battle betrayal, ultimately losing her light as she faces tension for her creator, the moon, a representation of her heritage and homeland). Speaking on “Switchblade,” she explained it is the song that kicks off “Moonchild,” which she has been working on for almost two years now.
“This single marks the beginning of ‘Moonchild’s’ sonic journey, which is ironic because it was one of the last songs I wrote for the album,” NIKI said. “‘Switchblade’ represents an iron clad attitude and outlook, conquering whatever you want, whatever is in your vicinity or in your way. Your switchblade faith allows you to accomplish anything.”
With 10 songs, “Moonchild” is an ambitious concept album that traces NIKI’s own journey while tackling universal themes of identity and empowerment. A sonic allegory, the album illuminates the linear path of youthful exploration through three lunar phases, which are crescent moon for innocence, curiosity and embarking, half-moon/eclipse for loss of hope and disillusionment and full moon for self-discovery and strength.
“Moonchild” itself offers an exploration, infusing its triptych song structure with eclectic styles, which are R&B, pop, urban, punk and country, from stripped-down piano ballads to lushly orchestrated anthems. A full two years in the making, the album brought NIKI together with such collaborators as producer/writer Jacob Ray, the producer collective Bekon & the Donuts and Montreal producer David “Pomo” Pimintel.