Although she is just beginning her career, Chxrry22 is already flourishing with the release of her new EP, The Other Side.
Born Lydia, in Toronto, Canada to Ethiopian immigrant parents, Chxrry22 grew up singing songs with her family in church.
“If you look at all of my home videos, I’m literally just singing songs,” she continued, “We were always singing, me and my whole family. So I think music was just always around and we all sang and over time it was like ‘oh, she can really sing.’”
As she began to grow, her mom encouraged her to sing in front of crowds, transforming Chxrry into what she is today.
Back in 2017, a friend recorded a video of Chxrry singing. The video went viral and after gaining followers, she decided to start her music career. Moving from Toronto to Atlanta at just 20-years-old, Chxrry reflected on the changing sound. Growing up listening to soft rock, she wanted to incorporate that sound into her first EP. “Musically, I wanted to make it a point to add different aspects of the music that I grew up listening to and representing where I’m from,” she explained further, “you take traits from life and you add it to your music life.”
Signing to the Weeknd’s self-made label, XO Records, as their first female artist, Chxrry brought a fresh R&B sound to the group.
When asked about the pressure of being the first woman on the label, Chxrry responded humbly, “I’m grateful to even have this opportunity. It's not something I take lightly,” she continued, “I just wanna open the door for women, I think that's the coolest part of being the first female on this label. I understand my responsibility and I’m honored and I just want other women to get the same type of opportunities. That, to me, is the most rewarding part.”
While speaking to Chxrry, I felt like I was on Facetime with a close friend. Her personality really reflected her music, as she spoke purely and with a sense of relatability. While listening to the seven songs on the 20 minute EP, Chxrry’s angelic voice and personality shine through.
Starting off with a bang, "The Other Side" features a plethora of soft instruments including a harp, which pair perfectly with the crisp vocals. Going into the second song, "The Falls", Chxrry slows it down, with a solid beat and relatable lyrics, stating “I was wrong and I know it.” These lyrics explain the title of the album, and how we can be both victims and villains in our stories and come to terms with it. The EP also explores love and relationships, my favorite track being Alone. The lyrics, “wish I liked the cold a little more, so I didn’t need you at night. Wish I liked singing on my own, so I didn’t need you to harmonize,” perfectly capture the feelings in a toxic relationship, and the rawness of her vocals in this song, match the rawness of these hauntingly beautiful lyrics.
Chxrry had previously written "The Falls" and wanted to turn it into a project. Her producer, XO’s Sensei Bueno, recommended her to Atlanta-based producer Childish Major. She would sit with him and think about what she wanted to write about.
“It was very natural and easy,” she continued, “I would think like ‘what do I want to talk about today? What story or shameful thing have I done that I want to write about?’ And that was it. I’d write about it and we’d make a song and I’d record it.”
Chxrry’s EP has been met with an enormous amount of praise, both from fans and other music industry professionals. The Weeknd also promoted her EP on his Instagram feed to 44.5 million followers.
Along with her EP, Chxrry released official audios on Youtube as well, which added aesthetic video clips to go with her songs. When I asked about her visual inspirations, Chxrry smiled and said, “mood board.” She labels different albums on her phone with “Chxrry part one” and “Chxrry: Villain Era.” Her charming answer to this question is extremely accurate, as you feel like you’re watching a video straight out of the early 2000s while watching her official audio clips.
Chxrry also has loose long-term goals for her career. “I think I just want to be an overall really good business woman and I want to be someone people consider for different things… I don’t want to be one thing when it comes to my music, or fashion, or acting,” she said.
With so many people looking at Chxrry as a new artist, it made sense when she was asked how she drowns the noise out and focuses on herself and her craft. She astutely responded, “I just don't look. I live in delusion. I just still think nobody knows me or nobody cares… I still think I'm very new and I get way more love than hate right now.”
Chxrry’s charm, wit, and exorbitant talent will take her far in the music industry. With her use of instruments like the harp to match her strong vocals, she sets herself apart from other R&B artists. Her lyrics are real and raw; I cannot wait to see her keep improving with experience. She is likely to go far with an EP as strong as this one.