MILLI talks NME through her ‘Firsts’

The Thai rapper runs us through her musical first times – from the first artist she fell in love with to the first song she finished writing

Thai rapper MILLI is making her mark on the world right now. The handful of singles she’s released over the last couple of years have racked up tens of millions of streams, including her addictive ‘พักก่อน (Phak Kon)’ and the marching band rhythms of ‘สุดปัง (Sudpang!)’; while her debut performance at Coachella 2022 not only went viral, but also sparked a surge in demand for the Thai dessert mango sticky rice.

Days before she became only the second Thai artist to perform at Coachella (following BLACKPINK’s Lisa), MILLI sat down with NME to share some of her musical first times – including the first artist to set her off on this journey towards hip-hop stardom. “Nicki Minaj,” she shares when asked for the first artist she fell in love with. “She was inviting me to go into hip-hop.

“I just found her music videos for ‘Starship’ and ‘Super Bass’ on YouTube and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s so awesome’. The mood, the vibe, the tone – that’s pretty cool.” It was an introduction that ignited a curiosity in the young rapper: “I just started to listen to hip-hop and study about it,” MILLI explains.

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Minaj isn’t the only superstar who’s had an impact on the relative newcomer though. As she reflects on her musical history, she recalls buying her first CD and the first concert she attended – both by BTS. “I’m so proud of it,” she grins at the latter. “I got the special ticket – I was one of the 1,000 tickets that could watch them perform in practice.”

With big influences behind her, MILLI is on the way to becoming a big name herself. Her first experience of hearing her music on the radio might not have gotten the reaction she might have been hoping for from other people, but she seems destined to excite many others from here on out. “I was so excited that I just hit someone that was next to me like, ‘Oh that’s my song! You hear that?!’,” she thinks back animatedly. “That one was just like, ‘Oh, congratulations’. They didn’t feel me at all, but I was so excited.”

For the latest in NME Firsts, MILLI also discussed her first job, the first gig she played, and the first song she finished writing. Watch the video in full above.

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