NIKI and Rich Brian set to be the first Indonesians to perform at Coachella

Indonesian R&B singer/songwriter NIKI and rapper Rich Brian. Photo: Instagram/@nikizefanya and @brianimanuel
Indonesian R&B singer/songwriter NIKI and rapper Rich Brian. Photo: Instagram/@nikizefanya and @brianimanuel

After quite a remarkable year, LA-based Indonesian singer-songwriter NIKI and rapper Rich Brian are set to mark a new milestone in their respective careers by playing at one of the world’s most famous music festivals.

The 88rising artists are confirmed to play at Coachella, making them the first Indonesian solo artists to perform at the festival.

Coachella is held annually at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California across two weekends. This year’s edition is set to take place on April 10-12 and 17-18. 

NIKI and Rich Brian are scheduled to perform on Friday, April 10 and 17, on the same day as headliners rock band Rage Against The Machine, hip hop duo Run The Jewels, DJ and producer Calvin Harris, English indie pop singer-songwriter Rex Orange County, rapper Megan Thee Stallion, and K-pop superstars BIGBANG — who are set to make their comeback after being discharged from South Korea’s compulsory military service (and the scandals surrounding former member Seungri throughout 2019).

Their labelmate Joji, former internet personality-turned R&B and trip-hop Japanese singer, is also scheduled to perform at the festival on Saturday, April 11 and 18, for a special 88rising performance called Double Happiness.

Other than those mentioned above, the lineup for this year’s Coachella is pretty diverse, comprising acts such as rapper Travis Scott and R&B singer-songwriter Frank Ocean, Australian DJ and producer Flume, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey, and English singer/songwriter/dancer FKA twigs, among others.

The 20-year-old Rich Brian, full name Brian Imanuel Soewarno, last performed in Jakarta on Spotify on Stage concert in early October. He’s currently on a world tour, titled The Sailor, to promote his second album of the same name, which was released in July of last year.

Brian shot to fame with the viral hit dat $tick in 2016, known then by his controversial stage name Rich Chigga. He relocated to Los Angeles from Jakarta in mid-2017 to embark on his first US tour and joined American record label 88rising, opening him up to collaborations with his current label mates and artists such as K-pop singer Chungha and Wu Tang Clan’s de facto leader RZA.

Nicole Zefanya AKA NIKI is a 20-year-old R&B singer/songwriter born and raised in Jakarta. Thanks to her late mother, NIKI grew up listening to ‘90s R&B artists such as Aaliyah and Destiny’s Child. When she studied at Pelita Harapan School, NIKI gained popularity due to covers and original songs uploaded on Youtube, amassing more than 40 thousand subscribers at the time. NIKI opened Taylor Swift’s The Red Tour concert in Jakarta in 2014.

In 2017, NIKI moved to Nashville to study music in Lipscomb University, releasing I Like U and See U Never. She released her debut EP titled Zephyr in May 2018, as well as wanna take this downtown? EP in May of last year that featured hit single lowkey. NIKI recently released the acoustic versions of her singles in 88rising’s label-wide album, Head in the Clouds II, titled NIKI Acoustic Sessions: Head in the Clouds II.

If you want to see your fellow Indonesians making it big in America, you can purchase the second weekend tickets starting from Monday, Jan. 6 at 12pm PST as the first weekend presale has been sold out. Alternatively, you can watch NIKI and Rich Brian at Head In The Clouds music and arts festival in Jakarta on March 7, 2020.


Related: Faces of Jakarta: Rich Brian’s ‘Kids’ video, explained

Editor’s Note: We have modified a paragraph in the article to say that Rich Brian and Niki are the first Indonesian solo artists to be selected to perform at Coachella, replacing our initial assertion that they were the first Indonesians overall. This was done in case the frontman of Australian band Temper Trap, Indonesian-born Dougy Mandagi, whose nationality has been the subject of speculation, turns out to be Indonesian. Temper Trap played Coachella in 2010.

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