Kotzev was born in Pazardzhik and started taking violin lessons at the age of five. While in his teens he took an interest to rock music, and started playing the guitar.
Nikolo worked as a session musician and played the guitar in a Bulgarian cover band. While touring with the band in Europe in the late 80s, Nikolo met Swedish singer Bjorn Lodin. When Nikolo relocated to Mariehamn, Orland, Finland in 1989, he joined Lodin’s band Baltimoore, with whom he recorded two albums: Double Density (1992) and Thought For Food (1994).
Creative differences led to Kotzev’s departure in 1994, at which point Nikolo started working on a solo project under the Brazen Abbot moniker. The result was Live and Learn (1995), which featured singers Goran Edman (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen), Glenn Hughes (ex-Deep Purple, ex-Trapeze) and Thomas Vikstrom, keyboard player Mic Michaeli (Europe), bassist Svante Henryson and drummer Ian Haugland (Europe). Nikolo played the guitar, produced, mixed and wrote all the songs for the album.
The follow-up album, Eye of the Storm (1996), featured mostly the same people, with Joe Lynn Turner (ex-Rainbow,ex-Deep Purple) replacing Hughes and John Lev??n (Europe) replacing Henryson. The same line-up also released Bad Religion (1997).
Brazen Abbot was put on hiatus when Kotzev started working on a rock opera about Nostradamus. Due to a string of setbacks, including scheduling conflicts and Kotzev’s record company, USG Records, going bankrupt, the album wasn’t completed until 2000 and was finally released as Nikolo Kotzev’s Nostradamus in 2001 on SPV Records. The album featured most Brazen Abbot members, in addition to singers Jorn Lande (ex-Masterplan), Alannah Myles and Sass Jordan.
Kotzev resumed work with Brazen Abbot in 2002, releasing Guilty as Sin in 2003. The line-up was mostly the same as for Bad Religion, with Lande replacing Vikstrom. Michaeli, Levon and Haugland departed Brazen Abbot to rejoin Europe. Temporary replacements filled in during a short tour in Bulgaria, recordings of which were released on the live album A Decade of Brazen Abbot (2004). My Resurrection followed in 2005, and featured four singers: Edman, Turner and new members Tony Harnell (TNT) and Erik Mortensson and a new backing band consisting of bassist Wayne Banks (ex-Sabbat, Blaze), organist Nelko Kolarov and drummer Mattias Knutas.