Princess Chelsea

aka Chelsea Nikkel

There’s something about Princess Chelsea, the performing alias of Auckland-born musician Chelsea Nikkel, that appeals to this hyper-connected-online-short-attention-span age. The video for ‘The Cigarette Duet’, her 2011 single, was a YouTube hit – 80 million views and counting. A decade later it blew up again on TikTok, where in the world of 15-second selfies a more recent Chelsea song, ‘I Love My Boyfriend’, has fared even better.

All this has largely happened without the artist’s contrivance; in fact she seems slightly bemused by it. Chelsea herself doesn’t even have the TikTok app. Her videos are low-to-no-budget and usually self-directed. The singular, subtle and sly songs she has been writing and releasing for the past decade via the indie label Lil’ Chief Records have been made first and foremost to satisfy herself.

Princess Chelsea, Eden Gardens.
Photo credit: Milana Radojcic
Princess Chelsea, European tour, 2012.
The Brunettes in 2009.
Princess Chelsea, 2011.
Photo credit: Frances Carter
Princess Chelsea, 2011.
Photo credit: Frances Carter
Princess Chelsea - The Cigarette Duet (2011)
Princess Chelsea - I Love My Boyfriend (2018)
Princess Chelsea - I Don't Know You (2024)
Princess Chelsea
Princess Chelsea - Monkey Eats Bananas (2009)
Princess Chelsea - Is It All OK? (2016)
Princess Chelsea at CMJ Music Marathon festival, New York, 2011. At left is Jamie Lee Smith, who wrote 'No Church on Sunday' and later formed her own group, Crap Date. 
Princess Chelsea playing with the Lil' Chief Allstars at a party in Minnie Street, Auckland.
Princess Chelsea live, 2012.
The Brunettes in Melbourne, 2008. Back row: John Parker (Brunettes), Janita Foley (Aleks and the Ramps), Jamie Mildren (Architecture in Helsinki), Melanie Stapleton, Joe Foley (Aleks and the Ramps). Front row: Edward Castelow, Heather Mansfield, Chelsea Nikkel, Gareth Shute (all Brunettes), and Aleks Bryant (Aleks and the Ramps).
Princess Chelsea, around the time of her 2011 debut album Lil' Golden Book.
Princess Chelsea - Everything is Going to be Alright (2022)
Princess Chelsea - No Church on Sunday (2014)
Mattyeux, Princess Chelsea - Sometimes (2022)
Disciples of Macca at Camp A Low Hum.
Princess Chelsea at The 13th Floor, 2015
Chelsea Nikkel touring Spain with the Brunettes, 2008. On the tour Chelsea played keyboards, percussion and saxophone.
Princess Chelsea, Hollywood Theatre, Avondale, Auckland, 26 October 2018.
Princess Chelsea, 2022.
Photo credit: Frances Carter
Princess Chelsea - Monkey Eats Bananas (Live at Borderline Festival, 2012)
Princess Chelsea
Princess Chelsea - The Forest (2022)
Princess Chelsea, 2022.
Photo credit: Frances Carter
Princess Chelsea's 2018 European tour, with the group outside a rehearsal studio in Gdansk, Poland. From left: Crystal Choi, Chelsea Nikkel, Leonard McMullen, Jonathan Bree, Joshua Worthington-Church, David Harris.
Princess Chelsea, 2022.
Photo credit: Frances Carter
Princess Chelsea, 2022.
Photo credit: Jonathan Bree
Princess Chelsea - The Great Cybernetic Depression (2015)
Princess Chelsea - Lil' Golden Book 10th anniversary edition, 2021.
Princess Chelsea, Hollywood Theatre, Avondale, Auckland, 26 October 2018.
Teen Wolf, 2005: Vincent Lum, Chelsea Nikkel, Brad Fafejta.
Princess Chelsea - Aftertouch (2016) album cover by Chanel Bristow and Luke Rowell.
Princess Chelsea in Prague.
Photo credit: Ben Howe
Princess Chelsea, 2021.
Princess Chelsea relaxing in the van during a European tour.
Princess Chelsea publicity photo, from The Loneliest Girl album release, 2018.
Princess Chelsea with Brad Fafejta in Teen Wolf, c 2005.
Princess Chelsea
Photo credit: Brad Fafejta
Princess Chelsea on tour in 2015. Jonathan Pearce of The Beths is at left.
Princess Chelsea - Yulia (2012)
Princess Chelsea's 2015 line-up with Jonathan Bree, Chelsea Nikkel, Jonathan Pearce, and Jackson Hobbs.
In Session: Princess Chelsea - Cigarette Duet (2011)
Princess Chelsea - Caution Repetitive (2013)
Princess Chelsea at Neck of the Woods, Auckland.
Princess Chelsea - Too Many People (2015)
Princess Chelsea, bFM live to air, 2010.
Princess Chelsea, the Kings Arms, Auckland.
Princess Chelsea playing bFM's Drive Island.
Princess Chelsea at the Wine Cellar, 2011
Photo credit: Photo by Petra Jane Smith
Princess Chelsea at the Kings Arms, Auckland.
Photo credit: Gareth Shute
Princess Chelsea at the Lil' Chief HQ with Ryan McPhun on guitar and James Milne on bass.
Photo credit: Gareth Shute
Princess Chelsea, bFM event, Silo Park, Auckland, 2013. On the left is Jamie Lee Smith.
Princess Chelsea, Laneway 2015.
Photo credit: Stella Gardiner
Princess Chelsea in 2018.
Photo credit: Adam Custins
Princess Chelsea at The Lab Recording Studio, Auckland.
Princess Chelsea - The Cigarette Duet single, 2012.
Princess Chelsea – Loneliest Girl in Europe Tour, 2018.
Princess Chelsea live in Prague, 2012.
Princess Chelsea at the Wine Cellar, Auckland.
Photo credit: Petra Jane

Princess Chelsea's “favourite Los Angeles musician” Joe Astor sings on ‘Is It All OK?’, from The Great Cybernetic Depression album (2018).

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