Nikko Gray – Love Seen | EP Review

Nikko Gray’s Love Seen EP has something of the nostalgic about it. Her artistry is firmly planted in 2010 nevertheless Nikko’s songs would not be out of place on the playlist of a late night quiet storm radio session circa 10-15 years ago. No wonder her take on Aaliyah’s ‘4 Page Letter’ was one of the highlights of SoulCulture’s 2009 Revisited download.

With the help of co-executive producer Nevin J Thomas, Gray has created a very laidback and seductive listening experience on Love Seen. Vocally Nikko straddles both the contemporary and the pseudo-classic conjuring alternately the spirit of Faith Evans and Beyoncé Knowles. Still, there’s every indication that Gray hasn’t lost her own voice in the mix.

The undulating Dilla-esque baseline of ‘Eyelash Wishes’ gets the album off to a sultry start although the repetitive nature of the quasi-melody and overall lack of variation makes it one of the weakest tracks on what is generally a solid EP.

Things pick up with ‘Rollercoaster’ and the wonderfully melodramatic ‘Love Shield’, numbers on which Gray truly gets in touch with the ’90s R&B balladeer within. The retro voyage reaches its apex in the gorgeous ‘Love Scene’ which blends mellow string and brass samples with dinner jazz-style piano to tell the story of an epic break-up, Nikko’s lyrics interspersed with movie references for added dramatic effect.

Gray unleashes her playful side on the tongue-in-cheek ‘Nail Polish’ – which, as the title implies, pays homage to the frequent visits to her manicurist and trying to select the right colour and nail design to impress her man… “Cotton Candy, Deep Blue Mystery, Silver Gold Leaf, Lacquer it, Lacquer it on me…”

<a href="">Nail Polish . by Nikko Gray</a>

Love Seen isn’t as tied to the hackneyed themes of romance as the first few listens suggest. Nikko also makes room for a couple of inspirational numbers such as ‘Angels and Demons’ and ‘Push’, an economically-arranged Dub-influenced tune about staying the course of an endeavour no matter the challenges.

Whilst not life-changing, Love Seen is an enjoyably undemanding record on which Gray demonstrates enough of her penchant for interesting arrangements/production, sweet melodies and pretty vocals to convince us to come back for more.

–Tola Ositelu

Love Seen is available for download from