Nico | Artist

Nico | Artist

Tags: Era_1970s, Gender_Female, Genre_Experimental, Genre_Pop_Rock, Origin_Germany, Type_Artist

Christa Päffgen aka Nico was a German singer, songwriter, musician, model, and actress born 1938 in Cologne. She was an accomplished Avant-Folk musician and was recruited by Andy Warhol into The Velvet Underground for their masterpiece first album. She collaborated with musicians such as John Cale and Kevin Ayers as well as creating her own excellent solo works. Nico was discovered at age 16 by the photographer Herbert Tobias while both were working at a fashion show in Berlin. She moved to Paris and began working for elite fashion magazines Vogue and Elle. At age 17, she was contracted by Coco Chanel to promote their products, but she fled to New York City and abandoned the job. Through her travels, she learned to speak English, Spanish and French, in addition to her native German. After appearing in TV ad's, Nico got roles in the films La Tempesta (1958) and For The First Time, with Mario Lanza, then in 1959 she was invited to the set of Fellini's La Dolce Vita, where she attracted the attention of the acclaimed director who gave her a minor role in the film as herself. Other film roles included the 1961 Jean Paul Belmondo film A Man Named Rocca (1961), and Jacques Poitrenaud's Strip-Tease (1963). By this time, she was living in New York and taking acting classes with Lee Strasberg. After hooking-up with Andy Warhol, she appeared in Warhol's film Chelsea Girls. Nico's first performances as a singer took place in December 1963 at New York's Blue Angel nightclub, where she sang standards such as "My Funny Valentine". In 1965, Nico met Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones and recorded her first single, "I'm Not Sayin'", produced by Jimmy Page for Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate label. After meeting Bob Dylan in Paris in 1967 Nico recorded his song "I'll Keep it With Mine" for her first album, the superb Chelsea Girl released in 1967. After leaving the Velvet Underground, Nico continued to work closely with VU's avant-garde musical spirit John Cale, and the two worked closely throughout Nico's life on various solo projects. Outstanding Nico albums include The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967), Chelsea Girl (1967), The Marble Index (1968), Desertshore (1970) and The End (1974). Nico in Tokyo (1986) is an outstanding live album, and The Frozen Borderline: 1968-1970 is an excellent compilation of her early work. She also appears on the June 1, 1974 album collaboration between John Cale, Kevin Ayers, Brian Eno and Nico, plus the Le Bataclan '72 live album with Lou Reed and John Cale. Nico's music is absolutely unique, seemingly outside any pop/rock music trend or genre. In solo performances and on record, she accompanied her singing by playing the, a small hand-pumped reed organ which emits a droning sound. Without following any particular musical trends herself, Nico influenced movements such as Goth and Neo-Folk, and artists such as Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Cure, Morrissey, Elliott Smith, Bjork and Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance. Nico died in 1988 in Ibiza when she fell off her pushbike and hit her head. At the time she was re-building her life after having recently withdrawn from long term addiction to heroin.

Artist Website: wikipedia/Nico

Featured Albums: Nico

Related Artists: Velvet Underground, John Cale, The Faction

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