Van Ravels was born in Grijzestad. He went to school in Grijzestad but dropped out in the mid-1960's. He began singing just before that, mostly in local bars and clubs.
His big break came in 1970, when he was given an opportunity to perform in The Hit Parade Show. Van Ravels' show was rather successful and was quickly noticed by record executives, who signed him on to Lyons/Bergstein that year.
Nico became a big hit, especially with girls as he had a smooth voice, an good, rebel-like looks. In 1971 he released his album De Roos, with the hit single making it to number one and becoming his signature song.
His early music was in Dutch, but from 1973 he began singing in English as well, starting with a re-release of his The Rose album which was not successful. In 1975 he released Mijn vriend, de deur, with the namesake single become another hit of his. When Lyons/Bergstein folded in 1975, Nico moved to join EMI Records.
In 1976 he released an EP, Lovers, which would become his first English-language success. To further his presence internationally, he was persuaded to release a Spanish-language album with both Spanish and Latin popular music as well as a few original songs. Exitos en Español was only a modest success. His biggest album in the late 1970s was Verloren in een bos, which sold well in Brunant and especially Libertas. He gave his first international tour in 1978, doing performances in Spain (Madrid and Barcelona) and Libertas (Wikistad and Muntegu). He later released Nico Live, which included both previous hits sung on tour, and new material for the concerts.
While on his tour he met a Libertan girl and brought her back to Brunant, which he married in 1980. They had a daughter but his wife died of an illness in 1982, prompting Van Ravels to take a break from his music. After several years away from the sporlight, he returned in 1987 to perform one song at a charity concert.
He then released an album of his greatest hits in 1987, including some live and re-recorded versions. In 1990 he released all-new material.
In 2010 he released 40 Years of Music, an album featuring both re-recordings of his classics plus three new songs.
Van Ravels is a host on Brunant's Got Talent since 2014.
- De Roos (1971, album)
- Mijn vriend, de deur (1973, album)
- The Rose (1973, album)
- Memories (1975, album)
- Lovers (1976, EP)
- Exitos en Español (1977, album)
- Nico Live (1978, album)
- Onder de zon (1980, EP)
- Het beste van Nico/The best of Nico (1987, album)
- 20 Years (1990, album)
- 40 Jaren van Muziek (2012, album)