When creating her debut project, 20-year-old singer/songwriter Niko Rubio found a never-ending muse in the Pacific Coast Highway: the iconic stretch of road that runs along the ocean for nearly the entire length of California, including the Southern California South Bay area where she grew up. Expansive and euphoric, Niko’s radiant form of songwriting perfectly echoes the pure sense of possibility that accompanies driving down the PCH, all while channeling the intense emotion typical of any Pisces. The result is an immediately absorbing collection of songs, introducing the 20-year-old artist as an undeniable new voice with a highly original vision. Made in collaboration with producers/songwriters like Andy Seltzer (Maggie Rogers, IAN SWEET) and Nick Long (K.Flay, BØRNS), Niko’s debut EP centers on a free-flowing sound she partly attributes to the easygoing nature of her creative process. On the EP’s lead single “You Could Be the One,” Niko brings that untamed energy to a brightly shimmering track capturing the wild rush of new love. At the age of 12, she began performing on a series of Spanish-language TV shows, spotlighting the magnetic vocal presence that continues to infuse her music. Within two years she’d started playing guitar and writing her own material, and at age 15 had a major breakthrough with a song called “Rolling Stone.” Over the coming years, Niko worked with a number of producers as she shaped her musical identity, and in fall 2019 put out an alt-R&B-leaning song called “I Dreamt About You Again Last Night.” That track soon caught the attention of songwriter J Kash and, in turn, paved the way for her signing to Atlantic Records. Mostly recorded remotely over the course of quarantine, Niko’s debut project never fails to illuminate the effortless complexity within her artistry. On “Saving Me,” the EP achieves a moment of blissful transcendence. “I wrote ‘Saving Me’ about being in love and wanting to express to your partner how much they mean to you, but it can also be a song to yourself,” Niko points out. “At the end of the day, the only person who can save you is you.” With its cinematically detailed reference to a fantasy road trip up the PCH, “Saving Me” marks the EP’s boldest reflection of Niko’s Californian sensibilities and endless love for her homeland.