Born and raised in Utrecht, The Netherlands, classically trained multi-instrumentalist and producer Nicolay played in a number of hip-hop and R&B bands around his homeland. In 2002, Little Brother MC Phonte Coleman stumbled across one of them on Okayplayer's message board and asked if he could put his rhymes over it, and soon a friendship and musical partnership were born. This transatlantic collaboration, which they called The Foreign Exchange, led to an album, Connected, in 2004. The second album, Leave It All Behind (2008) received a Grammy nomination for the single, "Daykeeper." In 2009, Nicolay released his own City Lights, Vol. 2: Shibuya, and in 2015, City Lights, Vol. 3: Soweto, inspired by South Africa dates on the Foreign Exchange's world tour the previous year.