Meet the Latest Indonesian R&B Singer Trying to Take Over the US

Niki's latest is a buttery time capsule of everything we loved about the 90s.
September 29, 2017, 8:50am

There's a lot to like in Niki's new track "I Like U." The Indonesian R&B singer is the latest local artist to sign on with 88rising—the same company behind Rich Chigga's rise. A few years ago, Nicole Zefanya was a rising Instagram star living in Jakarta. Now she's Niki, a rising R&B singer living somewhere in the United States. One could ask why we keep losing our young rappers and R&B singers to the US, but, honestly, I don't care as long as they keep releasing stuff this good.


"I Like U," is a love letter to the classic smooth-as-silk sounds of 90s R&B. In the video, Niki is singing in her bedroom, itself a pitch-perfect encapsulation of 90s fandom. The bedroom is so good, with the Aaliyah and TLC posters on the wall, that I immediately pinned it on my #bedroomgoals board on Pinterest, right alongside the bedrooms in music videos by Rina Sawayama and SZA.

Niki's smooth and sultry vocals recall new-school R&B goddesses like Jhene Aiko while the self-deprecating lyrics stand in such stark contrast to the uplifting breakup anthem "See U Never" that it's like both songs are flip sides of the same coin.

The guy she's singing about is probably out there somewhere wondering where it all went wrong and scheming how to win her back anyway. Actually, to hell with that guy. With flow like this, sis, you shouldn't waste your time on scrubs like him. Go Niki. We're all rooting for you.