At a time when male reggaeton stars and rappers rule the charts, Audri Nix, a hip-hop and trap artist based in Puerto Rico, has no interest in defining herself as a novelty in a man’s world. Instead, she just wants to be recognized for what she is — a talented rapper.
“I don’t know how to feel about being in a male-dominated industry because I shouldn’t feel anything,” she says. “Being a female inside trap and hip-hop shouldn’t set me apart. I’ve never felt less because I’m a woman.” And yet, she has set herself apart.
Since 2015, Audri Nix — born Adriana Nicole — has released an EP (“El Nuevo Orden”) with Puerto Rican producer Overlord, toured around Latin America, performed at SXSW and created her own line of merch. Her vocal-heavy style of hip-hop has earned her a spot in Spotify’s “Latin Divas” and “Latin Urban Queens” playlists and a collaboration in Yuridia’s latest album En Primera Fila. For 2018, she’s working on her next EP, tentatively titled “La Niña de Oro,” along with a new product line.
The musician also poses a unique aesthetic — on and off the stage, which she credits to her time spent devouring magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar from her mother’s collection. She’s stands as a tall, almond-eyed brunette with bold lips and a waist-length mane. Her fashion style features streetwear-heavy looks with a BDSM twist that include stockings, leather-strapped bustiers and garters, a look reminiscent of the ’90s and early 2000s.
Nix’s interest in music started way before her debut in 2015. She first began singing at age 11 playing trova, a traditional genre of music in Puerto Rico. The artist says it was the arts program in her public school in the southern town of Ponce that got her into music. “That’s how I learned to write and compose music,” she says. “I owe everything to that school.”
Six years later, the artist found herself as a typical 17-year-old in San Juan, Puerto Rico, questioning her next steps after of high school. She hadn’t made any music after she changed schools, but her obsession with hip-hop and rap at the time gave her an idea to launch herself as a rapper. Audri Nix — a play on the chemical symbol for gold “Au” and her initials “AN” — was born right after.
Her dedication led her to download music software, write her own music and record a couple of songs before she met her producer Overlord. “When I met him, he opened the doors for me,” she recalls. Audri Nix performed for the first time at Santurce es Ley, a local art festival in San Juan, in 2015, which was a pivotal moment: “I felt like I was transformed into another person. Audri Nix came alive, finally.”
Since then, her first EP “El Nuevo Orden” caught the ears of the local and Latin-American music scenes, gaining Nix a spot at SXSW in 2016 and 2017 and a nod in Remezcla’s “Breakthrough Artist of 2015” list. Her lyrics span everything from female empowerment (“Más” and “1,000 Mph”) to sexuality (“Chanel Bleu”) and love (“Inevitable”). She also nabbed a cameo on fellow Puerto Rican rapper Alvaro Diaz’s video for “Piso 13” last year.
As she receives more well-earned attention, she is learning to manage her public and private lives. She says her stage persona is very different from who she is in real life and actually speaks about Audri Nix in the third person. She spends a lot of time nurturing her character. “I feel like an engineer who is creating this other being,” she says.
The rising star is not against incorporating politics into her repertoire. And she says it’s her responsibility — and every Puerto Rican artist’s — to voice her opinions on local political issues. While more than 200,000 Puerto Ricans have migrated to the mainland since Hurricane Maria, Nix chose to stay in the island. “As an artist, you can’t forget that you are also a Puerto Rican. You are a citizen too,” she says. “If you have to set aside your art for a bit to put your country first, you should do that. That’s your responsibility as a citizen.”