You've heard a lot from him, and we have a feeling that it's only the beginning because this Boston native has big plans. A week after simultaneously premiering his new album Fénix and debuting as a movie actor in xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, the 35-year-old singer reflects on all that he went through to get to this glorious moment and how the resurrection of his career is a lot like the legend of the phoneix.
In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a long-lived bird that is reborn and obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. For Nicky, he always wanted to be a musician, and after hitting the music scene, he fell off the map for 10 years while going through a period of darkness where he had to fight many of his demons in order to be reborn and rise again after everyone had already dismissed him. He identified so much with the legend that he named his album Fénix (phoenix in Spanish).
"Well everyone has called me the phoenix for the last two years because whoever knows the story of my music and my career will be aware that I had a downfall that lasted for more than a decade without me coming out with new music and nothing was happening. I had a lot of problems; I was in the dark with drugs and alcohol. It was a very dark moment in my life," Nicky tells E! News. "So when I did this comeback with three number one songs on the Billboard charts and every song that I've come out with has been a hit with crazy views on YouTube, people started comparing me to the story of the Phoenix because of everything that's happened to me. I honestly didn't know a lot about the phoenix story, so I did research, and I said, ‘Yes, this is who I am. I came back up from the ashes.' So at first, the tour was called The Fénix Tour, and it was a successful tour. Then from there, I said, ‘We need to call this the Fénix album.'"
Although many people don't like to revisit the darkest moments of their lives, for Nicky it was therapeutic to put it all in a song called "El Ganador" and bring it to life in a music video.
"It was pretty much my idea to do this. I wanted to be a little be graphic. I wanted people to see what I've been through and I wanted to do that without hurting my family. It was kind of hard because my mom is very open and she'll say, ‘OK, yes, say whatever happened in the past, if that makes you who you are today.' But my dad is the kind of person that likes to hide the past. He's not very happy about the past, and I understand him, too. But at the same time, I'm not like that. I'm the type of guy that I will say anything because I don't care and don't mind to say anything about anything. I think that I'm like my mom in that aspect," he explained. So I tried to do this video in a way that I didn't hurt my mom or my dad. I can't explain to people all that I went through because what you see isn't even half of what I've actually been through. But I think that with this video people can pretty much get the picture. I sat down with the director, Jessy Terrero, and I told him what I wanted to do and he gave me his point of view and then he made it happen."
The video itself is vulnerable and sheds light on the artist's darkest moments, but also his redemption.
"It is the most personal song. While I was doing the video I got goose bumps, I choked up a couple of times because I had to transform myself into who I was in the past. And I had forgotten for a long time, almost six or seven years, about that person that I was in the past," he said. "When I got to be this person again, I was like, ‘Oh my God. I can't believe I was here.'"
Nicky credits his success to his rebirth as a person and as a performer, "I was able to come back not because people remembered me, but because people met a new guy, I become a totally new artist with a new mentality about what was happening in this industry."
And thanks to xXx: The Return of Xander Cage Nicky and Vin Diesel became our new favorite bromance, their families take vacations together, and the actor even makes a cameo in the singer's latest video. They've already acted together, so what's next? A song together. Yes, you just read correctly.
"This last week we began to record a song. The thing is that Vin wants to do Spanish music. He loves Spanish music. We just did a hook this past week and it was very simple. I think people will love it and it might be featured in the next The Fast and Furious movie," Nicky revealed.
Recently the 49-year-old actor shared a photo of his cameo in "El Ganador" while promoting the song, he also gave us insight into their friendship.
"Not because the first movie he ever did xXx is number one in the world... not because he is my brother or because he has a way of encouraging me to get on the mic... haha. Not even because Pauline loves to draw rainbows with him and calls him Uncle Nicky... But simply because the song is El Ganador!!!" he captioned the post.
Nicky explained that acting will continue to be a part of his career, "It's a new challenge in my life. It's something that I want to do because it's the next step for me. I realized that there is only so much that I could in the Spanish market and I have to have a plan b. You always need a plan b. I don't know, I think I did a great job. It was my first time acting, ever. I had never done anything before, and thankfully everyone said that I was pretty much a natural.
This is how strict I am with my profession, everyone was applauding me and I'm over here thinking, ‘Next time I'm going to do it way better.' So that's how I see it. I'm thinking about the future and how I can get better every day. I'm just so happy that I'm in a movie. I'm in a movie and I could say that until I die. This is what I was telling my people in the studio, it could be that I never work again but I can say that I did it. I did it once in my life. And if people ask, ‘Have you ever acted?' I can say, ‘Yes, I did a movie with Vin Diesel.' Not everybody can say that."