Nicki Nicole Makes Her U.S. Debut at Coachella: ‘I Felt So Emotional’

“I never imagined that so many people would come watch my first show in the U.S.,” Nicki Nicole told her fans at Coachella’s Sonora stage as she tried to hold back tears.

No one could have guessed that the Argentine trap star was making her U.S. debut at the festival on Saturday. For starters, she drew a significant crowd at the indoor stage, who chanted her name — “Nicki, Nicki, Nicki” — just minutes before she stepped onstage. And she seemed calm, cool and collected up there.

In reality, “I was really nervous,” Nicole told Billboard minutes after her 40-minute set. “The stage is indoors compared to all the other stages here, so it’s not like someone can just stop by. If someone really wanted to see me, they’d have to go inside. A lot of people don’t know me yet here, so I was like, ‘Oh my God, no one will come to see me. There are so many artists playing outside — they’re going to forget about me.’ But when I saw the huge crowd, I felt so emotional and I won’t be able to hold back the tears.”

Her fans made sure to find her and greeted her with flags from her native Argentina, which she collected during her set. “Nicki, te amo,” they’d scream. “I love you too!” she’d respond. During her set, she performed “Colocao,” “Baby” and “Wapo Traketero.” For the latter, she was joined by her littlest fan who stood there frozen just staring at her idol.

“I had always dreamt of performing at Coachella, but I never thought it would happen this early in my career. I’ve only been active for thee years. I mean, I used to watch my idols perform at Coachella. I just watched Giveon perform, and he’s someone I admire, so I’m sharing a spot with them at the festival. I mean, I’m not performing at the main stage, but I’m motivated and I know I’ll get there.”

Nicole is part of an unprecedented number of Latin acts set to perform at this year’s festival. She’s joined by Anitta, Karol G, Grupo Firme, Banda MS, Natanael Cano, Pabllo Vittar and Nathy Peluso, among others. “When I saw the lineup with artists from Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, I said, ‘Wow, this is really going to shake things up.’ And to see so many women in the lineup, before, that wasn’t a thing at a festival. Now we’re here representing women and Latinos.”

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