Nikko Baby Talks New Music, Camp Smokey Bear and Making Good On His Promise to God
If you made a promise to God, would you make good on it? That’s was the essential ingredient behind the rise of Chicago-bred R&B singer Nikko Baby.
Paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in both legs and feet, NikkoBaby’s story is one of pure perseverance. He was hospitalized for 192 days and wheelchair bound for over 6 months’ all the while pushing himself to re-learn how to walk although doctors had sentenced him to life as a paraplegic.
Blessed with buttery vocals and a knack for writing music that speaks to both the hood and the heart, Nikko knew that his calling was for something far greater.
Making good on his promise to God, the self-proclaimed “Velvet Teddy Bear” has been stealing hearts with his lyrics and shutting down stages with his vocals since granted another opportunity to walk.
Fan favorite singles such as “Hurricane” and ‘Wavy” have since dominated streaming platforms. He’s collaborated with musical heavyweights such as YFN Lucci, Dreezy, Durk, Tink and Chief Keef and now he’s preparing to join an amazing roster of Chicago artists for this weekend’s Chicago-based indie-hip hop festival :Camp Smokey Bear.
We caught up with Nikko to get his thoughts on his upcoming performance and to talk all things Nikko. Check it out below.
NoseyGirl: You’re about to perform for the 2nd Annual Camp Smokey Bear. How are you feeling?
Nikko Baby: Man,I feel good. I’ve been waiting for this. I actually went to the first Camp Smokey Bear, saw how CalBoy came and how everybody else came and I was like, “Man! I need to be on that stage.” So I just worked really hard and they reached out to me. It was shocking. I was like, “Man what? Ya’ll want me?! Ok cool! Let’s do it!”. I’ve been excited for this one. I invited my family, everybody’s coming.
NG: You’re on a roster full of Chitown heavyweights but most of them are rappers or hip-hop artists. You’re one of the few R&B singers. Talk about what makes you different.
NB: I mean everything makes me different. It’s really not hard to see the difference in my tone,my music and my message because it’s the same as a rapper’s. A lot of the people that’s on this bill have been doing music for a long time and they have a big fan base. I feel like the new comer but I feel like the big brother at the same time. It’s super cool that they have the same amount of respect that I have for them
NG: What songs can your fans look forward to seeing you perform?
NB: I’m performing “Wavy” and one of my new records that’s coming out soon. I’m also going to try to squeeze “Hurricane” in there somewhere. It’s my #1 single right now with around 30,000 streams. It’s definitely a fan favorite.
NG: If you could go on tour with any of the 3 artists that are performing for SmokeyBear, who would you go with?
NB: I want to take SolotheDweeb for sure. Them Lil Blessin’ and Chanelle Tru. Don’t get me to choosing because I’ll name everybody. Give me the whole bill and we gonna turn it up.
NG: How long have you been an artist and what was your biggest inspiration to get started?
NB:I’ve been in music for quite a while. I’ve been singing since I was a shorty. But as far as dong music professionally as an artist; it’s been about 4-5 years.
There were really a lot of influences around me. My Godmother is CoCo Taylor. Then my dad was a taxi driver but he would drive and sing. Listening to my dad, seeing how people reacted to him and listening to the records he would play really made me want to pursue music.
Then, a couple years ago, something happened to me that made me feel like I really had to make it official. II had no other choice because I promised God something. I asked him a second chance and he gave it to me. Now I have to give him back what I owe. I gotta make good on my promise.
NG: How has being from Chicago shaped you as an artist and do you think it’s been more difficult as a Chicago artist to break into the music industry?
NB: Chicago has shaped me a lot as an artist. I see how hard it is for artists in our own city: especially having the baggage we have and coming from the backgrounds we come from. It’s hard for us to get on the radio more than other artists from other states.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Power 92 and WGCI. I love them all, but I feel like they don’t show the artists from their city enough love. If you’re listening to our radio you’re going to hear a lot of out of state artists. You may hear CalBoy once or twice but you won’t hear anything from his new album. You hear the song he broke in on.
So I really stopped focusing on getting on the radio. I really don’t care because I actually have a fan base. I have people that actually listen and stream my music . So, it’s like “whatever” with the radio, as long as my people still listening.
My #1 streaming city right now is Atlanta. Atlanta shows more love to Chicago and Chicago DJs show more love to Atlanta. I feel like Chicago DJs, radio stations and big streaming outlets we have here need to show US a little more love because really, without us, there’s no them.
NG: What’s next for you after Camp Smokey Bear?
NB: I got a lot of big features coming up. As a matter of fact, one of them is Roddy Rich. It’s a lot of good shit coming up. My project is dropping at the beginning of the year, maybe January or February. I haven’t decided yet.