Heaton at the El Rey Theatre in 2015
|Birth name||Nicolet Aleta Heaton|
|Born||December 4, 1994|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Nicolet Aleta Heaton (born December 4, 1994), better known by her stage name Niykee Heaton, is an American singer. She was discovered through her YouTube channel after uploading acoustic guitar covers of contemporary hits, most notably hip hop songs, that went viral. She released her debut extended play, Bad Intentions, on September 23, 2014.
Heaton embarked on her first headlining concert tour, The Bedroom Tour, in late 2015, and released the similarly titled mixtape, The Bedroom Tour Playlist, on March 18, 2016, which compiled remastered material she had previously shared online for free streaming and debuted for her live shows during the tour.
Nicolet Aleta Heaton was born on December 4, 1994, in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Geneva, Illinois, but she notes a stronger connection to the time spent in her mother's native South Africa.
After writing her first song at age five and teaching herself to play guitar at nine, Heaton dedicated her childhood years to making music. Despite realizing early on that she wanted to be a musician, she never saw herself as a performer and just wanted to make music, developing a stage fright. She gave herself vocal training by singing along to a Diana Ross greatest-hits CD, since her family couldn't financially support her musical education. Heaton has an older brother and also had a sister Rachel, who beat liver cancer but died in 2007 at age 21 while waiting for a second liver transplant, whom she regularly notes taking inspiration from. Heaton also struggled with bullying throughout her school years.
In 2011, while still enrolled in high school, Heaton began uploading clips recorded in her bedroom on YouTube, including covers of contemporary hit songs along with occasional originals, for which she accompanied herself on acoustic guitar. In December 2012, her cover of Chief Keef's "Love Sosa" particularly was featured on the website WorldStarHipHop, promptly helping to propel Heaton to prominence, and subsequently taking meetings with several record labels. Heaton graduated high school six months early and self-financed the recording of a host of her own songs, opting to take a step back and build "a catalog that we were proud of" with her manager Lauren, eventually signing with All Def Digital in 2014, a YouTube-based label founded by Steve Rifkind and Def Jam-founder Russell Simmons, in partnership with Capitol Records. She topped Billboard's Next Big Sound chart on April 24, 2014.
On September 23, 2014, Heaton released her debut extended play, Bad Intentions, digitally in the United States, topping the Billboard + Twitter Trending 140 chart and reaching the top ten in the U.S. iTunes Store on the day of its release. On April 28, 2015, she posted an open letter online expressing frustration with her label and explaining the delay for her music. On June 13, 2015, she launched a website, NBK (Naturyl Born Killers), stating "NBK is the movement," where new music was then independently released for free regularly in following months. Heaton later clarified, "We are now in a place where we can create music that I want to create, and we are no longer tied to the people that were holding me back," revealing she had started producing music herself as well. On October 20, 2015, she premiered her debut music video for a song titled "Lullaby," on Apple Music. Also in October, Heaton announced her first headlining concert tour, The Bedroom Tour, with twenty dates throughout the United States and Canada, beginning on November 13 in Houston, Texas and concluding on December 18 in Los Angeles, California. On March 18, 2016, Heaton released The Bedroom Tour Playlist, a mixtape titled similarly to the tour, compiling remixed and remastered material she had shared online and debuted on live shows in previous months. In a mid-2016 interview, Heaton announced that she was planning her debut studio album, stating "I want my it to be an actual masterpiece... I want my first album to be legendary". The Centerfold Tour was Heaton's second tour, containing forty-three shows in North America. It began on October 6, 2016, in Athens, Georgia, and ended on December 16, 2016, in Austin, Texas.
While talking about her songwriting, Heaton said, "My music is a direct reflection of who I am. My writing is everything to me because that's all I had growing up. I had a really tough childhood and at a point when I was very young, I sort just stopped speaking because I stuttered," mentioning her inability to have friends, causing her to always be alone due to her mother staying with her sister in the hospital, her father being drunk and the rest of her family living in South Africa, so she "would just write all the time." "Even when I'm not writing literally about things that have happened to me, all the pain of my childhood and losing my sister ends up getting pushed into my music," she adds about her creative inspiration and wanting to be proud of the message in her music, "It shapes my songs and builds this deeper meaning under everything, which is one of the most important things to me." She has mentioned being heavily influenced by Bob Dylan and Tom Waits and is also a fan of hip-hop, pointing out rappers like Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Jay Z, Drake and Nicki Minaj as other inspirations.
Heaton addressed claims regarding her social media presence in platforms such as Instagram overshadowing her music saying, "If I can use what I have aesthetically to draw people in, then why not use it? I'm not going to put on a turtleneck just to prove a point, or to make people feel more comfortable according to society's standards." Heaton notes her writing style and musical roots come from growing up with "older siblings who listened to a lot of soul and bluegrass and alternative," and her sister's love of poetry, having discovered rapper Lil Jon when she was ten, which sparked her interest in hip-hop music, describing her sound as "those two worlds colliding, like folk, rhythm, and Shakespeare sonnets mixed with Kanye trap beats."
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|The Bedroom Tour Playlist||39||8|
As lead artist
|2016||28||25||The Bedroom Tour Playlist|
- "Exclusive: A Day in the Life of Niykee Heaton". Rap-Up. June 13, 2016. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
- "Interview: Niykee Heaton Takes Us On Her Journey From The 'Net To A National Tour". Vibe. April 27, 2016. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
- "Niykee Heaton's Sexy Image , In Tears Over Sister's Passing + Performs on Ladies First". Youtube.com HOT 97 (11:40). April 20, 2016. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
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- "Pop star Niykee Heaton stops in hometown Geneva". Mysuburbanlife.com. September 24, 2014. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
- "Niykee Heaton on the 'Gift & Curse' of Social Media & Her Kanye-Meets-Shakespeare Music". Billboard. December 4, 2014. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
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- "Niykee Heaton Recalls the Random Time Kanye West Sang for Her, Talks Instagram + Music to Come". VH1. June 22, 2015. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
- "Universal Music looking to cater to the YouTube crowd". New York Post. July 20, 2014. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
- "Next Big Sound - Analytics and Insights for the Music Industry". Next Big Sound. April 24, 2014. Archived from the original on July 7, 2015.
- "Niykee Heaton Heats Up, With Assistance From Russell Simmons". Billboard. September 29, 2014. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
- "Rumor Mill - Heaton". Hits. September 23, 2014. Archived from the original on July 6, 2015.
- "Niykee Heaton Expresses Frustration With Her Label, Says Kanye West Told Her To Never Change". Complex. April 29, 2015. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
- "Niykee Heaton - NBK". singersroom.com. June 15, 2015. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
- "Niykee Heaton Puts The Focus Back on Her Music With Gorgeous Acoustic Ballad "Infinity"". idolator.com. June 18, 2015. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
- "Niykee Heaton's "Say Yeah" Is Astoundingly Good: Listen To The Rule-Breaker's Latest Gem". idolator.com. July 1, 2015. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
- "Niykee Heaton Gets Serious With Dark, Sprawling "21 Grams": Listen". Idolator.com. August 10, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
- "Niykee Heaton Ups The Tempo With Catchy Banger "Best Thing Ever"". Idolator.com. October 18, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
- "Niykee Heaton Releases Debut Music Video for "Lullaby"". Hypetrak.com. October 20, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
- "Niykee Heaton Posts Donut-Covered Nude, Announces 'The Bedroom Tour': See All The Dates". Idolator.com. October 1, 2015. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
- "Niykee Heaton Heats Up The House of Blues in Houston, Texas: Live Review". Idolator.com. November 16, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
- "The Bedroom Tour Playlist by Niykee Heaton on iTunes". Apple Inc. March 18, 2016.
- "Niykee Heaton Releases New Mixtape via Capitol Records, "The Bedroom Tour Playlist"". Theearlyregistration.com. March 18, 2016. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
- "Niykee Heaton Announces 'Centerfold' Tour: See the Dates". Idolator.com. August 29, 2016. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
- "Niykee Heaton's 'Bad Intentions' Reveal The Struggles Behind Her Best Intentions". Huffington Post. October 1, 2014. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
- "Bad Intentions: Meet 19-Year-Old YouTube Sensation Niykee Heaton". Elitedaily.com. October 23, 2014. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
- "Niykee Heaton Has Everyone on Their Thirst Behavior". Complex. April 1, 2015. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
- "Who Is Niykee Heaton? Singer Ignites Instagram With Bikini Pictures". Ibtimes.com. April 3, 2014. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
- "Niykee Heaton - Chart history - Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
- "Niykee Heaton - Chart history - Digital Albums". Billboard. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
- "Bad Intentions - EP by Niykee Heaton on iTunes". Apple Inc. September 23, 2014.
- "Starting Over - Single by Niykee Heaton". Retrieved 28 December 2018.
- "Niykee Heaton - The Bedroom Tour Playlist [LP] - Amazon.com Music". Amazon.com. July 29, 2016.
- "April 9, 2016 – Pop Digital Songs – Billboard Chart Archive". Billboard. Retrieved March 29, 2016. (subscription required)
- "Niykee Heaton - Chart history - Rhythmic Songs". Billboard. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
- "Gold & Platinum - RIAA". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved August 11, 2016.
- "Lullaby - Niykee Heaton - Vevo". Vevo. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
- "Video: Niykee Heaton feat. Migos - 'Bad Intentions'". Rap-Up. June 30, 2016. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
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