A Daughter’s Reconciliation: Yulia Niko’s New Album Mends a Broken Soul Through House Music

Yulia Niko‘s debut album is a profound reminder that even in the darkest times, the soul can find its twin flame within.

The Berlin-based DJ and producer today unveiled the new album, Twinsoul, on Armin van Buuren’s venerated Armada label. Grappling with the loss of her late father, each of its aching songs represents a scintilla of Niko’s soul, she says, ultimately intertwining to form a latticework of auditory stories in his memory.

Imagine a kaleidoscope shattered by loss, its pieces refracting fragmented memories of enduring love. Twinsoul is the process of meticulously reassembling them with the glue of vulnerable songwriting and visceral house music, inviting listeners to evolve in lockstep—just like family members.

Yulia Niko.

c/o Armada Music

Niko’s roots in electronic music run deep. After a car accident hospitalized her for two months in critical condition at the age of 15, she discovered a love of crate-digging and found solace in old Ibiza discs, Ministry of Sound CDs and classic house records. Astoundingly, just one year later, she played her first gig.

But it was the tragic death of her father that lit the fuse of true self-discovery. Tethering itself to her experiences in its wake, Twinsoul is a vessel for Niko to chart a course for emotional closure. With airy synths that echo unspoken conversations and bass that throbs like a constant reminder of a presence now absent, the album is a dancefloor therapy session.

We caught up with Niko to discuss the captivating emotional arc of Twinsoul and the poignant stories woven within its music. Take a listen to the new album below and read on to discover more about its origins.

EDM.com: Can you walk us through your interpretation of the concept of the soul?

Yulia Niko: Soul? That’s a hard question, but I would maybe describe it as an inner identity. Something that is spiritual and special, is what makes us extraordinary, and probably travels from body to body. This is what I prefer to believe in, and it gives me hope that maybe I can enjoy my artist life.

Of course, when talking about the name of my album Twinsoul and I mention the fact that I am so similar to my father, we are talking about genes—but I would not name the album TwinGenes, right? So yeah, I think it is a nice, unique name with a kind vibe that captures my inspiration for the album.

EDM.com: Creating art from a period of grief can be daunting. What steps did you take to stay grounded considering the emotional vertigo of the circumstances?

I should admit, I do have a good psychologist and I have been in therapy for many years, in addition to meditating, and developing myself and my mental health by reading books or articles, and trying different practices. Music is always my escape from reality. Whenever I feel down, moody, tired or whatever it is, I am always making music, listening or searching… life without music would not be possible.

Losing my father was a very hard experience, and people who have lost a parent understand that it truly changes something inside of you. Somehow, everything I’ve stated above has worked really well, but it was extremely hard to heal. Now, I’ve made it, and even better, I’ve let myself enjoy making real music, besides “loopy techno.” I made an emotional album with ten songs, and something my father would actually enjoy listening to.

Yulia Niko.

c/o Armada Music

EDM.com: Did producing Twinsoul help you connect with cherished memories of your dad? Or gain closure and comfort?

In general, the fact that we’re talking about him so much because of the album already makes me so happy. He deserves it so much, and I hope his soul can somehow see it. If we do share one soul, part of him is inside of me, so maybe that’s why it makes me feel so right.

Making the album wasn’t something that I used to gain closure or comfort—it is something that my heart called for and I learned to listen to my heart. To produce the album, knowing that I dedicate this work of art to him, makes me so proud and excited, and is probably why I’m so pleased with the end result.

EDM.com: Each track in the album is described as having a distinct narrative. Can you share the story behind one specific song that resonates most closely with you?

Yulia Niko: “Success is a path not a destination, the ego is afraid. He wants to control because he is afraid.” These are lyrics from “Exito” featuring Sil Romero. It is an absolutely original song written with Sil, who is one of my closest friends. She is from Chile, but based in Berlin.

Throughout my life, success has been important but it’s not like I have huge expectations for anything in particular. I just try to enjoy my journey and as long as it’s comfortable and not stressful. Wherever I am at the end, I am just grateful. Life is too short to get upset.

The cover picture on my phone screen says “I am enough.” This is such an important message nowadays, when people have unlimited access to social media and so many people get stressed by not being somewhere or not having something.

Sil and I come from countries where it’s not that easy to make it as an artist, so that’s why this song is the best representation of us both, actually. Plus it’s a great message for my father, who was always so pushy, in a good way but also sometimes too much. But he made it so now I feel balanced and know how to do it right.

Yulia Niko.

c/o Armada Music

EDM.com: As an artist, how do you find balance between expressing personal vulnerability through your music and maintaining a sense of personal privacy?

Yulia Niko: There are always things from life which influence your art. People always like to have a story, and I don’t want to create fake stories; I have enough of my own real ones. I have some lines which I never would cross in sharing about my life—I mostly try to share only about things that are related to the music I’m making.

I actually would really like to write a book, because I think I have quite an interesting experience traveling the world and meeting so many people, analyzing a lot and finding many similarities between them.

When it comes to my father’s death, I would agree that maybe it is a bit much to share—or I thought so—but it had such a big impact on my life. I did not post on Instagram for people who never knew him, I just did something better by creating this album so people actually have a chance to get to know him, who he was and why he deserves this tribute.

EDM.com: Deep house music is known for its soulful and evocative nature. Why do you think that is?

Yulia Niko: Deep house, the name already describes itself. Deep, trippy, hypnotic rhythm with beautiful sounds and vocals which take you on a journey and provide you comfort for an exact moment of your life, and make you feel like in “inner home or house.” I just came up with that! I swear I did not Google it.

This is the exact feeling I felt when I heard deep house when I was 15, and it guided me through so many difficult situations since then, which brought me to the here and now. When I make music, I always have the keywords “uplifting, happy, groovy.” I think this is why people get intrigued by deep house, or really any kind of music made with this intention. It just sounds really good and nice.

EDM.com: From the euphoric highs to melancholic lows, there’s a captivating emotional arc across the album. What do you hope listeners feel as they join you on this journey?

Yulia Niko: I hope that listeners will find their own home and escape—hear a song which makes them feel really good, and really special. That they wake up and start the day with this particular tune, because as soon as they hear the first four beats they start to smile.

This album is my first, maybe my last. Maybe not, but it is real—a real piece of art, which means everything to me! And I am honored to share my life with you. Enjoy listening to it. Thank you for listening.

Follow Yulia Niko:

Instagram: instagram.com/yulianiko
Facebook: facebook.com/yulianikomusic
Spotify: tinyurl.com/ptbz7tte

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