Q+A: Five more minutes with Yulia Niko
When we last spoke with Berlin based producer Yulia Niko, she was preparing for some of the biggest stages of her career thus far. Flash forward to now, and Niko has evolved into an artist hungrier than ever. Closing out 2022 by providing Get Physical with their final release of the year, the soaring I’m Everything with EREZ, Niko arrives in the new year energised and ready to tackle the next phase of her blossoming career. We caught up with her to find out more about the track, how she’s grown over the past year, and what we can expect to see from her in 2023.
Hi Yulia! Welcome back to The Playground. When we last spoke, you were about to make your Coachella debut, and play Paradise’s Amnesia residency. What were these experiences like for you?
Hello The Playground. I am happy to be back!
All those places are a dream come true. I am super grateful for all those promoters who had me this year. It was such an amazing time and also a big step in my career. I think only now I am slowly starting to understand that “Yulia, you made it.” Probably just a year ago I would not even imagine it can be real because in days of lockdowns everything was pretty depressing.
Anyway, the show at Coachella went well, but I was so stressed before. I was literally shaking and didn’t really see anything in front of me. It was the first time we did a hybrid live show with my singer EREZ, so it felt like when I played my first ever show back to 17 years ago.
Amnesia was easier. It was a casual entry for me. Loved the sound system so much though.
How have things changed for you since then?
I think every year I change so much, and find it so cool. But obviously music also changes and develops so much with time, so I just keep finding new styles and creating my own sound. I also became more mature and spoiled. I spent 250 days traveling this year, so things like cleaning or cooking at home freaks me out currently. I need to ground myself for a bit, that is why I will take a break in February. Also more & more, I feel like I only want to dedicate time to work and making music so maybe it’s ok that I turned it into that.
Your latest single, I’m Everything, is out on Get Physical. What made this track the one to leave people with at the end of 2022?
This track is very deep and brings such positive emotions. Many people are feeling lonely or sentimental on Christmas days, some can’t see their families or just have to work instead of having fun. I think this song makes people understand that everyone has an inner power, and and you are just simply alive and can enjoy this beautiful world.
There’s a bit of an introspective, almost triumphant confidence to the track, especially in the lyrics “I am everything in this moment.” Where did the song come from for you?
It was random. EREZ wrote those lyrics. I just gave her some guidelines. When I work with singers I ask them to create something new, apart from singing about love or drama. I like uplifting lyrics, so after long talks with EREZ she came up with this idea and to me it was like a beautiful enlightenment of my art.
Tell us a bit about the experience of working with EREZ. How did the collaboration come about?
EREZ contacted me by email one day, she mentioned that an A&R from Keine Musik recommended her to get in touch with me. It was very surprising for me, but at the same time caught my attention. We made a call and started to work right away. I sent a demo to her, and it all happened super quick. When I started work on it, the song took a bit of a different direction to Afro House but I really like today’s Afro scene so why not.
Listen to I’m Everything below.
As an artist, your sound is quite diverse and eclectic. What is inspiring you, currently?
Random stuff, but mostly when I meet someone and I hear some story or voice of a singer. I can watch a movie about some artist or concert of a singer and be like “wow, such a talent, I need to get up and learn more, create and prove myself that I can do it too.” I am traveling a lot and there so many different cultures are inspiring. Actually I have never been to Africa, so next year I already have locked in shows and I plan to look for some inspiration over there too.
What is the biggest lesson 2022 has taught you?
I need to study as much as I can, and it’s time to develop my artistic skills into a Live Show. I see that just a Dj thing for me is not enough and I want to try to create something else. I have big plans for next year. But let’s see, I also don’t want to stress myself and I want to take as much time as I need to.
Going into the New Year, what are some of the things you are excited to be doing?
I have an album on Armada coming in April. It will be released as singles during the next 7-8 months, and it was such a dream for me to make. I dedicated it to my father who passed away last year. So it’s been also very emotional for me lately and I felt like I had this album no matter what.
Where can we see you live next?
Everywhere! LOL. Many new places and countries. But currently the plan is to head to Tulum and play some sold out shows like Incendia and Day Zero, then Warung in Brazil for holidays. Big stuff. I am ready.
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