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 - The Great Cybernetic Depression (2015)
Princess Chelsea at the Lil' Chief HQ with Ryan McPhun on guitar and James Milne on bass.
Photo credit: Gareth Shute
Mattyeux, Princess Chelsea - Sometimes (2022)
Princess Chelsea in Prague.
Photo credit: Ben Howe
Chelsea Nikkel touring Spain with the Brunettes, 2008. On the tour Chelsea played keyboards, percussion and saxophone.
Princess Chelsea, Laneway 2015.
Photo credit: Stella Gardiner
Princess Chelsea – Loneliest Girl in Europe Tour, 2018.
Princess Chelsea live in Prague, 2012.
Princess Chelsea - The Cigarette Duet single, 2012.
Princess Chelsea live, 2012.
Princess Chelsea - Too Many People (2015)
Princess Chelsea, Eden Gardens.
Photo credit: Milana Radojcic
Princess Chelsea relaxing in the van during a European tour.
Princess Chelsea - I Love My Boyfriend (2018)
Princess Chelsea - Everything is Going to be Alright (2022)
The Brunettes in 2009.
Princess Chelsea - Caution Repetitive (2013)
Disciples of Macca at Camp A Low Hum.
Princess Chelsea, 2021.
Princess Chelsea, 2022.
Photo credit: Frances Carter
Princess Chelsea at the Wine Cellar, 2011
Photo credit: Photo by Petra Jane Smith
Princess Chelsea - Is It All OK? (2016)
Princess Chelsea with Brad Fafejta in Teen Wolf, c 2005.
Princess Chelsea - Aftertouch (2016) album cover by Chanel Bristow and Luke Rowell.
Princess Chelsea
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 on tour in 2015. Jonathan Pearce of The Beths is at left.
Princess Chelsea playing with the Lil' Chief Allstars at a party in Minnie Street, Auckland.
Princess Chelsea, around the time of her 2011 debut album Lil' Golden Book.
Princess Chelsea - Monkey Eats Bananas (2009)
Princess Chelsea at The Lab Recording Studio, Auckland.
Princess Chelsea - Yulia (2012)
Princess Chelsea, 2022.
Photo credit: Jonathan Bree
Princess Chelsea, 2022.
Photo credit: Frances Carter
Princess Chelsea - Monkey Eats Bananas (Live at Borderline Festival, 2012)
Princess Chelsea at the Kings Arms, Auckland.
Photo credit: Gareth Shute
Princess Chelsea, Hollywood Theatre, Avondale, Auckland, 26 October 2018.
Princess Chelsea in 2018.
Photo credit: Adam Custins
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 - Lil' Golden Book 10th anniversary edition, 2021.
Princess Chelsea, 2022.
Photo credit: Frances Carter
Princess Chelsea at the Wine Cellar, Auckland.
Photo credit: Petra Jane
Princess Chelsea - No Church on Sunday (2014)
Princess Chelsea, the Kings Arms, Auckland.
Princess Chelsea, bFM event, Silo Park, Auckland, 2013. On the left is Jamie Lee Smith.
Teen Wolf, 2005: Vincent Lum, Chelsea Nikkel, Brad Fafejta.
Princess Chelsea at The 13th Floor, 2015
Princess Chelsea playing bFM's Drive Island.
Princess Chelsea publicity photo, from The Loneliest Girl album release, 2018.
Princess Chelsea
Photo credit: Brad Fafejta
Princess Chelsea - The Cigarette Duet (2011)
Princess Chelsea - The Forest (2022)
In Session: Princess Chelsea - Cigarette Duet (2011)
Princess Chelsea, 2011.
Photo credit: Frances Carter
Princess Chelsea
Princess Chelsea, Hollywood Theatre, Avondale, Auckland, 26 October 2018.
Princess Chelsea at Neck of the Woods, Auckland.
Princess Chelsea, 2011.
Photo credit: Frances Carter
Princess Chelsea's 2015 line-up with Jonathan Bree, Chelsea Nikkel, Jonathan Pearce, and Jackson Hobbs.
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, European tour, 2012.
Princess Chelsea, bFM live to air, 2010.
Trivia:

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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