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by Tori Sharp

Genre-blending and culture-clashing, CHAII keeps asking: what if..?

Persian-Kiwi artist CHAII is pushing boundaries in her “upbeat Persian dance rap” and her latest track WOW (Look at me) shines a spotlight on this unique music style. Hyping the burgeoning multi-cultural hip-hop industry of her home turf New Zealand, CHAII fuses a Persian influence into her hybrid tracks. 

We had a chat with CHAII, and she told me that when searching for inspiration “most ideas are ‘oh what if we…’ ‘wouldn’t it be funny if we?’ ‘How fun would… be?’ it’s important for me to bring these fun moments to life.” But musically, her influences come from some of the coolest women in the game right now, Rosalia, Tierra Whack and Princess Nokia. “I feel these artists make me want to keep breaking boundaries and keep the music raw but powerful. Other inspos come from visual arts and Persian music.” 

WOW (Look at me) is fresh and striking, combining heavy percussion, electric guitar, funky digital bleeps, which CHAII effortlessly raps over. The hook ‘look at me, look at me, look at me’ is in reference to our social media (obsessed) culture and “how some people would do anything to be seen.” We briefly chat about the impact of soc-med and agree on the principle that it is both a blessing and a curse. “It’s so easy to get sucked into (it)” especially when balancing self-promotion and fan interaction. This era of zoom-teams-live definitely doesn’t help, but luckily for CHAII, she has been able to use this bizarro time to create a whole new body of work. “Luckily I’ve managed to stay positive and creative for most of this year. It definitely made an impact on the type of music I made the whole year, from the sounds to the lyrics. I found that I’ve either made super upbeat music or slow jams.”

The unbridled passion speaks volumes through her music, and the eclectic mash of culture is so refreshing and zingy that it is hard to turn it off. Stream CHAII’s new record below now. 

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