The impressive and palpable talent of Nicco Maniatty, one of Europop’s most engaging performers, is on full display in the high-voltage video of the latest single to feature him. Mixed and arranged by the equally talented DJs Gollum and Empyre One, Nicco’s autobiographical “Rockstar” makes yet another indelible mark in this thriving age of electronic music.
Nicco has amassed a considerable portfolio of catchy club songs since he first hit the Euro-Dance scene in 2010. His early collaboration with the DJ duo Darius and Finlay racked up a number of boisterous tunes that were widely played across Central Europe. In 2012, he became internationally known with that summer’s hit “Party Shaker.” Since then, Nicco has worked with several talented DJs (including DJ Manian of “Party Shaker”) and fellow musicians (like the vocally gifted Jai Matt) on a number of electronic house songs, including the reggae-shimmered Summertime and the immensely listenable “Tonight.”
“Rockstar” features the same high-energy output crowds have come to associate with Nicco but with a slightly edgier delivery. The well-crafted and humorous video is a kind of biopic of the performer himself. It features a kid (I’ll call him Nick) who is so wrapped up in his dreams of being a rockstar that he can’t function in his job at a local greasy spoon. Pre-Nicco Nick survives his tedious employment and stressed boss by transforming his daydreams into an attitude of determined action, telling himself over and over in the chorus of the song I’m a fucking rockstar! This chorus peaks on the wave of a slowly building crescendo — a countdown, actually — and breaks with a catchy synth riff that is perhaps the song’s most distinguishing musical motif. Interspersed with Nicco’s singing of the lyrics are narrative shots that chronicle his climb into the international music industry. Humdrum days spent making deliveries to impatient customers are followed by vibrant nights coming up with beats, writing lyrics, recording vocals, emailing demos to DJs like Gollum, and patiently waiting to be signed on.
This autobiographical dimension seems to underscore the song’s extra-fine edge, itself sharpened by the sheer force of Nicco’s signature vocals and stylish delivery (a quality on display as well in the hands up version). Combined with the feisty syncopation and magnetic melodic allure, this fun, very danceable work resonates movement and energy and masters the finest conventions of its genre.