NiiKO
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NiiKO

London, Ontario, Canada | SELF

London, Ontario, Canada | SELF
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See link. - The Londoner


See Link - The Londoner


The young London performer they call the "Chief of Pop" is going west for the biggest day in aboriginal music.

Dakota-Metis singer Lil Pappie is part of a star-studded lineup set to perform for a crowd expected to reach 15,000 at Aboriginal Day Live.

It's Canada's largest Aboriginal Day celebration -- set for Saturday night at the Forks in Winnipeg.

"It's amazing. In the native community, it's called Red Hollywood," Lil Pappie, 19, said of the day-long festival. "It's my first time out to Red Hollywood."

In its fifth year, the free concert is headlined by Juno-nominated singer Derek Miller, whose performances include the closing ceremonies of Vancouver Olympics. Others on the bill include country singer Ray St. Germain, Inuk singer Elisapie Isaac and U.S. twin pop stars Dey & Nite.

Lil Pappie took on that name last fall. When he was about 14, the London-born singer and former Banting secondary school student worked with Toronto glam rocker and mentor-$manager Robin Black.

Lil Pappie performs solo with a backing track, finding his own place in the sounds between pop and hip hop. Black's influence and style are part of his live act, Lil Pappie said.

"You'd wear black to a funeral, you wear stage clothes on stage," he said.

The "Chief of Pop" nickname also points to the aspiration and accomplishments of the artist.

In May, Lil Pappie organized Aboryouth, a free showcase encouraging London-region native youth to express themselves through music. He also works as a Kids Help Phone celebrity ambassador.

He first heard about the Aboriginal Day Live gig in January. The deal was sealed at the 2011 Junos, where Lil Pappie was visiting with a music business friend, who organizes the events.

He expects to leave Friday for Winnipeg. After Saturday's concert, he'll play a club gig on Sunday in Winnipeg.

Aboriginal Day Live organizers said the Forks, with a 6,000-year history, is a perfect backdrop for celebrating the solidarity of Canada's aboriginal peoples.
- London Free Press


At just 20 years old, Lil Pappie is wise beyond his years. By the time he was 16 he had learned to play 16 different instruments. Also at 16, he made it to the top 50 contestants for Canadian Idol. At 20, Lil Pappie's releasing his second EP, which is a departure from the sound of his first one. Indian Summer will be released in June.

CBC Music asked Lil Pappie about the new music, and why branding is so important to him. Here's what he had to say.

Q: How does your new music differ from your older sound?
A: There are a lot of vintage rhythms. Some of my inspiration came from '60s music, soul music, rock steady music. It's all very simple and anthem-like.

My new music incorporates a lot of live instrumentation. All of the drumming was performed, usually in one take same with the bass, etc. Nothing is programmed whatsoever – it's all performed.

Q: You're known for an electro-pop sound – how do you change your sound to fit into an acoustic show?
A: A great song is a great song – and great songs transcend genre. You could turn a great pop song into a great metal song simply by altering the arrangement. Some of my songs could even work well as country songs. Many of them are written on acoustic guitar originally. I've always composed in a very organic way. I love the freedom of doing an acoustic show. You can really feel things out and have fun with the song.

Q: What are you most excited about with your new EP Indian Summer?
A: This EP brings me so much joy. The whole world could hate it and I would still perform every song – every night. This is exactly the type of music that I want to make. You're listening to my heart. I feel like this EP is going to open up a lot of doors. The process was intense, but I just followed the music. I didn't force anything, I did what came naturally. I guess this is what my spirit wanted me to do. I can't completely explain the feeling.

Q: For someone so young, you're only 20, you are incredibly ambitious. Tell me about the line of clothing – Haus Of Frankenstein – you are in the process of launching.
A: Frankenstein is a concept I came up with last year. I actually have the word tattooed on my hand. We are all exposed to different ideas, different influences. All of these elements, influences, experiences combine to make us who we are. In the story of Frankenstein, the monster was made up of many parts (literally), but it all made him what he was.

Fashion is just another tool to get ideas across. Haus Of Frankenstein is being developed to promote ideas that transcend. Designers will include people I feel are genuine individualists. They will not necessarily be your typical designers. This is something I feel very strongly about. One of the first designs is the "I'm So Frankenstein" T-shirt. It's a lifestyle – it's a way of thinking – but it can be interpreted differently from one person to the next.

Q: You will also be touring with a band of the same name – it seems like brand recognition in important to you. Why is this?
A: Branding is very important. I've been wearing the same red-framed glasses for just about three years now. I love the colour red but the consistency is very intentional. Unfortunately, I am working in an industry where the music itself usually brings in the smallest amount of income. Music is obviously still a big part of the artist to fan connection but these days, people need to believe in you as a person.

The Haus Of Frankenstein is who I am. My fashion is Haus Of Frankenstein, my studio is Haus Of Frankenstein, much of my video content comes from Haus Of Frankenstein. Everything that gets put out there has been steeped in my world. It's almost like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. It allows me to express myself and encourage others to do the same.

Love of others, love and acceptance of self comes first in my world. That's the Haus Of Frankenstein. If the word love alone could be a slogan, it would be ours. - CBC Music


Around April of 2012 the London, Ontario native took a hiatus from performing to focus on his vibrant new EP 'Indian Summer.'

"I followed the music and it led me somewhere new. I've grown so much in the past year. I understand more about who I am. I understand who my audience is. I understand what connects us. I know now that I have fan base who is willing to grow with me. I'm excited to take this journey with them through the music."

Pappie's music is undeniably pop.

"I am a pop artist. I have never claimed to be anything else. This is the music I want to make - period. Writing this EP was about self realization. It turned out completely different than I had expected it to. I just did what came naturally."

The EP shows off Pappie's mature approach to pop songwriting. The songs are filled with catchy hooks, vintage rhythms, minimalistic arrangements, clever vocal harmonies and soulful melodies. It's young and ambitious. Sonically the EP has been compared to Bruno Mars' 'Doo Wops and Hooligans' with a completely original edge.

"I was listening to a lot of 60's soul and rocksteady music. It's summery and fun. It is also extraordinarily moving. I love the simplicity in the writing. I also love the cross-over appeal of that music. It transcends age, race and gender. That's what I want to do with my music in the greater scheme of things. Pop music isn't really a genre as much as it is a language. This EP is a little R&B, a little Rocksteady, a little Funk but 100 % Pop and 100 % Contemporary. It's the soundtrack to summer."

Pappie wrote, composed, arranged and produced every song on the EP. He also performed every instrument including; drums, bass, guitar, keyboard and organ. The independent approach to making this EP was greatly influenced by Prince - one of Pappie's greatest idols.

"I had the opportunity to see Prince live in December of 2011. It completely changed my attitude towards music. Most people didn't know I could play over 10 instruments. I wasn't fully tapping into those abilities with the electronic music I was working on. I wanted to bring those acoustic elements back to my process. Without drawing comparisons - I'd say I feel a strong connection to Prince and in many ways we are probably very alike."

Pappie has also claimed on numerous occasions that he will be working on a music video for every song on the EP.

"We are being innovative. We are working very creatively, thinking outside of the box. I want a visual representation for every song on the EP. Videos that capture the imagination and excitement that I'm feeling right now."

For Lil Pappie, it's music and something so much bigger. He is very aware of his young audience and he understands that with "celebrity" comes responsibility.

"Right now, I live a very healthy, clean lifestyle. I'm in it for the work and the possibility of inspiring people to live up to their potential. That's just what I love to do and nothing else has ever really interested me. You become a part of people's lives in such a big way and what you do begins to impact more people than just yourself. It's about choices. Putting your foot down. Nobody's perfect. You allow yourself to grow and experience new things and you make mistakes but I feel what's important is being centred with one's self."

Individuality and positive thinking are recurring messages throughout Pappie's music. He also uses social media as a medium to spread his passion.

"My main message is to be yourself. Have pride in who you are, where you come from and who you want to be - whatever that may be. I put messages into my songs in ways that people can easily connect to. My number one message is love and that topic encompasses so much in itself. The way I communicate that will develop as I grow as an artist but for now - obviously, something is connecting."

Pappie acknowledges that none of this would be possible without his fans.

"The fans are amazing and deserve the most credit. In the past year people have started getting matching tattoos, they cry at my shows and autograph signings, I get fan art and fan letters on a very regular basis - it's just surreal. They really believe in the message. At the end of the day all I want to do is to give them the best product possible because they deserve it. It's motivation in itself."

The EP is set for release on Tuesday, June 12 and it is sure to stir up some major buzz.

The following Friday, Lil Pappie will be flown out to Winnipeg to perform as a part of APTN's annual Aboriginal Day Live celebration for the second year in a row. The live televised celebration takes place on June 23rd. This year Pappie will be performing alongside Aboriginal hip-hop icon Joey Stylez. Others in the Aboriginal Day Live lineup include Inez, Kashtin, Stevie Salas and the first lady of Aboriginal music Buffy Sainte-Marie.

This is only the beginning of Lil Pappie's 'Indian Summer.'

"For my age I feel privileged to have done some great things but there's so much more ahead. I have a lot to prove and this EP is a step in the right direction. I'm just excited for what tomorrow brings cause in this business you just never know."
- Beat Magazine


Discography

Singles:
'You Can't Stop The Music' (released June 2012) recorded at Haus Of Frankenstein Studios - London, Ontario.
'Champagne Kisses' (released February 2012) recorded at Haus Of Frankenstein Studios - London, Ontario.
'Glow Sticks' (released November 2011) recorded at Haus Of Frankenstein Studios - London, Ontario.
'Hyponotized' (released October 2010) recorded at Cherry Beach Sound - Toronto, Ontario.

Photos

Bio

In the past few years under the name Lil Pappie the 20 year old pop singer-songwriter now known as Niiko (as of July 2012) performed across Canada for audiences of up to 20,000. He also appeared on national television more times than he can count. In 2011 his breakthrough single 'Hypnotized' reached thousands of people all over the world. His positive attitude, high-energy live performances and original yet accessible sound struck a chord with audiences nation-wide. He did it all in his own bold style. He also did all of this without management support or any label backing.

In June of 2012 - Niiko released his debut five-song EP entitled 'Indian Summer.' The songs showcase his incredible growth as a songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist. Niiko himself has described the recording process as an artistic rebirth. On the EP - Niiko mixes Pop, Soul, Funk and Rocksteady. He combines contemporary and vintage rhythms (circa 1960's) to create a fresh sound all his own. The music video for the anthemic first single 'You Can't Stop The Music' - directed by Brandon Frank and produced by Wreckless Crew - was released on July 31, 2012!

EXTENDED BIO:
At only 20 years of age, Niiko is a talented and well-rounded Pop artist. As a writer and producer, Niiko is known for his strong hooks, clever lyrics, and ability to create unique rhythmic soundscapes. As a performer, Niiko's background in punk and glam rock is clearly evident in his energetic, fan driven live shows. And as a vocalist, Niiko's unique tone (a product of his background in both r&b and punk rock) is his distinguishing feature as an artist. Always innovating and creating new sounds and spectacles, Niiko has the makings of a cross-over pop icon.

Starting out on the drums at the age of 7, Niiko had mastered over 13 instruments by the age of 16, displaying a prodigious nature reminiscent of Prince. He uses these many talents onstage and during the recording process to produce and record his own music where he likes to mix electronic and acoustic elements.

In 2005, Niiko worked closely with Canadian glam rocker Robin Black, opening for him and for other Canadian rock acts such as Marianas Trench, Faber Drive and Saigon Hookers. And while Niiko has transitioned into pop music, his early glam rock days are still evident in his high-energy live performances.

In 2008, Niiko auditioned for Canadian Idol, making it into the Top 50 and forming a relationship with Orin Issacs, one of the show’s producers. The next year, Niiko worked on a commercial music project with Isaacs. Also that year Niiko wrote, composed, and directed an original musical for the London Fringe Theatre Festival.

In 2010, Niiko was invited to record his break-through single ‘Hypnotized’ at Cherry Beach Sound, a world-class recording studio and urban music institution in Toronto, Ontario. Working in a studio where Drake, Usher, Rihanna, Ludacris, Keri Hilson, and Timbaland have all recorded tracks, ‘Hypnotized’ is a unique urban pop track that is a showcase of Niiko's diverse talents.

In 2011 Niiko's career gained a lot of momentum. His fan base spans nation wide. He is known for his interactivity and consistent online presence. He is in high demand as a singer, songwriter and producer and has performed across Canada multiple times.

In the summer of 2011, Niiko performed his singles 'Hypnotized' and 'Eagle Cry' for an audience of over 15,000 at the Forks in Winnipeg, Manitoba for APTN's Aboriginal Day Live. He reprised this role again in 2012 and on June 23rd he performed for another audience of more than 20,000. The fan reaction was breathtaking.

Currently, Niiko is promoting his exciting new EP 'INDIAN SUMMER' which is sure to make major noise worldwide! The EP is self-produced. Niiko also performed every part on the EP including; drums, bass guitar, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboard, organ, percussion as well as all vocals. He is also working on a clothing and lifestyle brand called Haus Of Frankenstein.

Things have only just begun for this young entrepreneur. In one line - Niiko is more than just a pretty face - he is a rebel with a cause.