Few artists come into the music industry and carve a niche as exciting as CHAII. The self labelled ‘gender-bending’ artist is of Persian and New Zealand heritage and learned English rapping along to Eminem. Her signature sound, which she calls Persian-dance-rap, is a multifaceted fusion of influences that pushes a bold creative vision in Lightswitch, her stunning six-track debut EP.
The title track and EP opener, ‘Lightswitch’, produced by Frank Keys and mixed by Jaycen Joshua (Rosalia, Nicki Minaj) is a hypnotic stomping floor filler, taking a satirical look at fake culture. “Lightswitch is about the raw realness in everything, being true to yourself and how obvious it is when people are fake,” CHAII explained. In its video, the CHAII patrols Santa Monica beach on a technicolour bicycle, before landing in the desert rocking a futuristic jumpsuit/sun visor combo that would make Daft Punk’s heads turn in envy.
‘Digebasse’ the self-produced track featuring B Wise is a perfect synthesis of East meets West. The high energy track with its hip-hop foundation fused with her Persian heritage forms a bold new sound. The track discusses joy in the pursuit of freedom, and the unwavering hope for change, while also aiming to subvert western perception of the Middle East. Its inspiration is driven from years of young Persian people being subdued for their simple desires to freely express themselves.
CHAII drops a distinctive freestyle on ‘Nobody Know’ that was originally meant as a guide vocal, before an unreleased demo of the song landed on the desk of famed music supervisor Julia Michels. She swiftly added the track to underpin an epic fight scene on Netflix’s new Charlize Theron film, The Old Guard.
‘Middle Ground’ produced by Frank Keys and mixed by Chris van de Geer, is a three-part art-piece that highlights CHAII’s struggle and eventual triumph over the self-doubt that so often plagues creators. “I was once told that the high and low feelings in life are a reflection of your thoughts and subconscious – they are not real, nor should we be aiming for them. The middle, however, is a state that is true and constant”, CHAII said about the track.
The EP is both audibly and visually stunning. CHAII self-directed and produced all the EP videos, filming them ‘guerrilla style’ with her small crew of friends, including visuals shot in Oman and California.
In fusing dance, RnB, and rap, and combining them with eastern influences, CHAII has mined gold. Lightswitch, has carved a path for others to follow. It is a spectacular set of work from an artist with the most radiant future ahead.