Grammy-nominated music producer/performer Nicolay was born and raised in The Netherlands (Europe). He played various instruments in various bands and got a formal music education before focusing on the production side of the music making process.
Around 2002, Nicolay met rapper/singer-songwriter Phonte (of Little Brother) on the Okayplayer message boards. They struck up a partnership under the name The Foreign Exchange and released their critically acclaimed debut album Connected, which was completed solely through the use of the internet, in 2004. The success of Connected enabled Nicolay to move to the United States and further pursue his career in music. The Foreign Exchange's sophomore album, Leave It All Behind (2008), was even more successful, culminating in the Grammy nomination for the album's first single, "Daykeeper".