From assembling viral song covers to becoming the First Lady of The Weeknd's XO record label, Chxrry22 is a multidimensional blaze providing the voices to those operating within two bodies. The victim and the villain are the main characters in Chxrry22's recent EP, 'The Other Side', a soundscape capturing the R&B starlight's perception of duality and the power shown when recognising it through self-acceptance. Discover and get to know Chxrry22, the Canadian star taking the alternative R&B by storm with her latest project.
Let's not act like I'm to blame
When you fucked up, and I forgave
- Chxrry22's 'The Other Side'
The project begins with the self-titled track, where listeners witness Chxrry22's exploration of duality for the first time. Here it's presented in the form of two people, Chxrry22 and an ex-lover. Chxrry22 is the wrongful culprit in the ex-lover's story. However, there's an indication that this was only sometimes the case. Her quest centred around polarity is just a depiction of the complexities we all harness as social beings. "I'm multifaceted, and I know that I come with different sides," she told us. "To this day, I am the victim and villain. It just depends on the day".
Chxrry22's self-assurance transcends beyond her musical talents. Born Lydia Habtemariam, the Ethiopian-Torontonian proudly gives flowers to her upbringing and the foundations that surfaced during her formative years. "I grew up in a very Ethiopian household. Both of my parents were in the choir. I grew up singing, A LOT. We grew up singing a lot of Christian songs. "I'm just singing songs in all my home videos", she said.
"I think music was always around, and we all sang. Over time, [her parents] realised that I could sing. Then they realised that I like singing in front of people. My mum would say, 'Oh, she'll sing happy birthday' at people's birthday parties or 'She'll sing at your wedding. She'll sing at this!' She would pass a hat around, and people would give us money *laughs*. It just became a thing. I just became 'the girl who can sing', and later in life, it paid off".
When reflecting on her artistry, intuition brought her to Atlanta at 20. "I got there when I was really young and spent a lot of time there," she said. "It's almost like it shaped me in a way. I had been making music for just a year in Toronto, and then I went out there".
"Musically, I grew up in Atlanta. People in Atlanta are really nice and really love music. That's what makes me very grounded. I just spend so much time with people that love music".
In conversation, unpretentiousness and Chxrry22's level of humbleness surfaced pretty quickly. What began as a journey to becoming the next pop sensation soon transitioned into nourishing a sound she perfectly crafted for herself as an artist. Chxrry22's love for R&B is apparent. Her choice of production sits perfectly within the alternative space. "When I first started making music, I only made pop music. I would make big records, and I would be like, 'This is gonna be like Bruno Mars'. [But] then I realised I love R&B. I'm more focused on letting my vocals do more talking".
Her creative village allowed the progression of the EP to occur organically, resulting in her friendship with producer Sensei Bueno (responsible for our favourite sounds: 'Self Love', 'Everything' and 'Sold Out'). Introduced by Childish Major (a co-producer to the track Wasteland) , it wasn't long before magic was created.
"I met Bueno, we clicked instantly, and we found out we lived down the street from each other. He was like, 'come to my house. I have a mini studio at my house'. One day led to a month of me just going over there and us working on this project".
"It was very natural and easy. That was the process. I would come over. Take my shoes off, sit on his bed and think', 'What do I wanna talk about today?' Or 'What shameful things have I done that I wanna write about?' That was it. I would write about it, we'll make a song, and I would go in there and record it".
What began as the Finsta name soon transitioned to becoming the First Lady of The Weeknd's XO record label. Chxrry22's dedication to her artistry makes herself a role model for a new generation of young women who intend to follow a similar path. Unpacking insecurities that would be conditioned to keep us in a box is where Chxrry22 discovered her power to inspire those like her. "What I want younger women to take from my music is that it's okay to own your decisions. I want them to know we all make mistakes. We've all done things we wouldn't do NOW", she explained.
"It's okay to be like 'I've accepted it, and I'm moving on from it.' That's what I would want women to take away from it… that's what [I want] everyone to take away from this project".
The 7-track project perfectly captures the gloomy sultry XO realm. Including the self-reflective hits 'Alone' , fans' favourite 'The Falls' and 'Wasteland', 'The Other Side' EP is a fruitful debut that opens the door to a bright future for Chxrry22. With ambitions to follow the Rihanna blueprint, it will be no surprise we'll soon discover Chxrry22 to rock a hat or two. "I want to do modelling, acting and start a clothing line. The possibilities are endless. I don't know, I'm I feel like I'm so like delusional that I might start a tech company".
We look forward to watching Chxrry22 blossom and seeing what she comes out with next.
Stream 'The Other Side' EP below, and let us know your favourite track!