Lorine Chia’s rich, soul stirring voice layered over hypnotic beats and coupled with a retro European sound, is sure to win you over if it hasn’t already. After an intense year in college, Lorine took her chances at following her heart and talent, dropping out of school and creating her first project, “Lorine”. She’s now been recognized by popular magazines, blogs, and even Mercede’s Benz.
We discussed things like the fundamental details of who Lorine Chia is, and the details on her nearly finished project “Lorine: Re-Mastered”. This is only the beginning for the Cameroonian born, Ohio native songstress, read on for a peek at girl behind the hype…
Hip-Hop Digital: Tell me about yourself, who is Lorine Chia, as a person?
Lorine Chia: Lorine Chia is a 20 year old singer/songwriter. I’m very passionate about my work and what I do. I love to laugh! I believe anyone can do whatever it is they set their mind to do, along with hard work and dedication.
Hip-Hop Digital: How did you identify your purpose as an artist? What do you want to be taken from your music?
Lorine Chia: I figured who I was as a person and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and that is making music. I want people to just understand that no matter what happens in life they can always make it better and anyone can achieve any goal.
Hip-Hop Digital: Was music a large part of your upbringing? Who influenced your early musical interests?
Lorine Chia: Yes, my father was a musician, and definitely the biggest inspiration to me. I wanted to be as good as him, that’s how I got interested in playing the guitar. Then I started listening to artists and bands like Coldplay, John Legend, Amy Winehouse, Kanye West and Pharrell.
Hip-Hop Digital: You went from performing through YouTube, to live stage performances, what’s that been like?
Lorine Chia: It’s been incredible!! I love seeing a crowd right in front of me, just enjoying my music. It’s amazing!
Hip-Hop Digital: We are part of a generation that has access to the entire world, an unlimited ability to show and tell with our peers, no matter who or where they are. You took full advantage of this at 15, when you began posting videos to YouTube; did you realize the gravity of what you were doing? What was your original goal when you began posting your videos?
Lorine Chia: I just thought it was cool to start showing my talent. My goal was to get discovered by someone somewhere. (laughing)
Hip-Hop Digital: You’ve been featured on hot spots such as: Complex, Ofive, and even Mercedes Benz’s “(The) Amplified A” mixtape. How does it feel to be making headlines overseas and be co-signed by Mercedes? Did you see this in the cards a year ago?
Lorine Chia: It feels great! I was actually surprised every time a major blog would make a post about me. I was most surprised with the Mercedes-Benz feature. I didn’t even know they had a mixtape and the fact that I’m on their radar is just wonderful. I didn’t imagine any of this happening a year ago.
Hip-Hop Digital: You’ve received a lot of praise for your unique voice, which has come with a lot of comparisons to greats like Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill. How do you feel about being compared to these songstresses?
Lorine Chia: I think it’s a great compliment! But at the same time I just think I sound like myself.
Hip-Hop Digital: Who are your largest musical influences currently? What things really draw you into a song?
Lorine Chia: My major influences now are James Blake, Chris Martin from Coldplay, Bon Iver, Miike Snow and Breakbot. The instrumental and the voice over is what determines if I’ll really like a song or not.
Hip-Hop Digital: As a first generation immigrant to America, do you feel as if your Cameroonian roots influence your creative outlook, including the sounds and content of your music?
Lorine Chia: Not necessarily the sound, more so what goes into the music. Lately I’ve been trying to find some producers that can incorporate that African sound into modern electro house type beats.
Hip-Hip Digital: Did you decide to create your first mixtape “Lorine,” rather than return to school, because you’re hopefully preparing for a music career? Was there a specific influence behind the mixtape or was it more of a spontaneous project?
Lorine Chia: I couldn’t go back to school because I couldn’t afford it. I had to pay it all out of pocket. It was a bad time. I became really depressed about not being able to go back and decided to let it all out in “Lorine”. I feel like it was just God’s way of closing a door I didn’t need to enter and opening one that makes more sense for me.
Hip-Hop Digital: If you had to create a five song playlist, of the only songs you’d ever hear, what would you choose?
Lorine Chia: I can’t even answer, this there is no way I can just listen to the same 5 songs forever! (laughing) I’d probably pick “Halocene” by Bon Iver, “Desperate Youth” by Santigold, “Come Around” by M.I.A., “Forever” by Little Dragon, and “Barry Bonds” by Kanye West.
Hip-Hop Digital: You’ve been dabbling in music for a long time now, starting with playing instruments in your elementary school band, was music always an interest for you? At what point did you decide `that you wanted to create music of your own and give people your views through song?
Lorine Chia: Yes, I’ve always been interested in music. It was something that I was just naturally good at. I thought it was normal though, like everyone knew how to do this. After I learned how to play the guitar and performed at a poetry slam in school it started to sink in that I actually had a unique talent. That’s when I started writing.
Hip-Hop Digital: Many of your songs are not only amazing but incredibly relatable, such as “Living in Vain” and “You’re Alright.” The emotional connection to some of these songs is undeniable. Would you say your music is autobiographical?
Lorine Chia: Yes. My music is everything I experience, feel, or see throughout my life.
Hip-Hop Digital: Are there any current or future projects on the table?
Lorine Chia: Yes!! I have a re-mastered version of “Lorine” with a few new songs that I believe everyone will love. Also, some new music videos.
Hip-Hop Digital: Chit chat has it that you’ve fallen in love with Chicago. Is there any chance of you up and moving out to Chi-town?
Lorine Chia: I love Chicago! The people, the scene, it’s dope; I want to see what L.A. is looking like before I figure out where I want to move.
Hip-Hop Digital: If you could collaborate with any artists, what would your dream collaboration look like?
Lorine Chia: I want to collab with Timbaland really bad right now. Him and I, in a studio just making hits!! That would be legendary.
Hip-Hop Digital: You’ve had a pretty good start to 2013, would you agree? So far, what has been the peak of this year for you?
Lorine Chia: Yes, I agree it’s been a great start. The peak would be meeting everyone in my team and getting as much hype as I’ve been getting.
Hip-Hop Digital: How personal is creating music, for you? Can you let us in on your creative process?
Lorine Chia: It’s definitely very personal. When I begin to make a song, I listen to whatever instrumental I’m writing to and allow it to pull out whatever emotion my mind and soul will give. Then I write.
Hip-Hop Digital: What exactly is NVRcH and what is their significance to you currently? What is your status label wise, are you a free agent?
Lorine Chia: Nvrch is my management team. I love them! They’ve helped with bringing me to the place I am now. I am under development but no label signings yet, I’m a free agent.
Hip-Hop Digital: Thank you so much for taking the time to let us get to know you better. Before I let you go, how can your supporters get in touch and keep up with you and what you’re getting into?
Lorine Chia: It’s pretty easy to find me. My twitter is @LorineChia. It’s the same with Instagram and Facebook. That’s where i put up all any news people would need to know.
Hip-Hop Digital: What is your message to any other artists, or young people in general, seeking to reach for their dreams; especially those who have a unique sound or look that may set them apart?
Lorine Chia: If you love it, keep working towards it no matter what, and learn to be patient. I’ve been doing this for about 4 years and people are just now getting hip, so hang in there. Believe in yourself and work; faith without work is dead.
Interview by Tatiana