exclusive interview: lorine chia on her new ep ‘naked truths’ & her experience as a cameroonian immigrant. #soundcheck

October 18, 2013

Lorine Chia released her debut mixtape on a whim, attracting massive attention for her unique and soulful voice. This week, the 19 year old singer songwriter debuts her new EP Naked Truths. The record boasts production that finds the middle ground between trip-hop, trap, and chillwave, but keeps Lorine Chia’s versatile but deep-beyond-her-years voice front and center.

Interview by Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

Tell me a little bit about the new EP, Naked Truths you’ve got coming out.

It’s like a whole new sound. It’s me making a statement. It’s me saying “yo, I’m here. This is what I’m here to do.” I wanna create a whole new genre. I wanna create a whole new lane of music. You know?

How would you define this genre you’re trying to create? What are the elements that you’re interested in combining?

I’ve added soul. I’ve added that old hip-hop sound. I’ve added trap music. I’ve been listening to Drake and Future and Little Dragon and Travis Scott, and I just figure why not put all these sounds together and see what comes out of it.

You moved to the US when you were 6, right? Do you feel any influence from Cameroon in your music?

Yeah. The way Cameroon has influenced me is more like my attitude towards life, and me as a person. It’s made me a lot more mature than my age. Back in Africa, kids are a lot more mature. We’re going to school ourselves when we’re like 5. We’re doing our own laundry with our hands when we’re 5, 6 years old. I feel like my country—Cameroon has made me a lot more mature, and like a survivor in a way.

So when you moved here at 6, we’re you like “ach! Who are these kids?”

Yeah! I was like “yo, kids can’t even go outside?” It was weird. It was definitely weird, especially going to school and seeing how kids acted. I just really sat there the whole time and just observed them.

Have you gotten to go back as an adult?

No, I haven’t. But I plan on it. My parents have done a very very good job of keeping it pretty African in my house.

Do you feel like African heritage is a big part of what you’re doing artistically then?

Yeah, cause it drives me to look at different things. Not just the norm, but go and explore what else is out there. I’m trying to make this brand called Foreigners, because Foreign means “unknown” or “not familiar with” or whatever. When I came to this country, a lot of people treated me like I was foreign because I had an accent, and they didn’t know what Cameroon is really like. That’s how it’s been my whole life.

What is the Foreigners project?

It’s like a community hub. Just something I’m starting out right now. Maybe I’ll turn it into a clothing brand, but for now it’s like a community thing. Like “yo, I’m a foreigner, this is what I am. I understand how you feel cause you were treated the same way.” It’s like something to me that people can connect with.

Do you feel like you’ve gotten a lot of support from the immigrant community in the US?


Is that something you try to express through your music, or is that more just who you are?

It’s who I am. Musically, I would like to incorporate Cameroonian music with my type of style. Have African drums and the beats, but I feel like me as a Cameroonian is more like me as a person.

Back to the EP, it seems like you’ve been putting out a lot of songs as you’re creating them, rather than packaging them as an album or an EP. Do you think that the old model is dead? Or is this just how you prefer to work? Is there a choice, or is it just what you’re doing?

It’s just what I’m doing. I’ve never thought about that. Whenever we feel like putting out a new track, we put it out, so we can keep the momentum going. That’s the whole thing. Keep the momentum going for this new release. I really want people to go and listen to my EP. A lot of people don’t. If you don’t put out music constantly, they forget about you. Especially when you’re a new artist, you become pretty much irrelevant. So keep on feeding the fans of new music. And hopefully when the new EP drops, they’ll go crazy over it.