Here’s Why Chrysalis’ Debut Album, “To Raise A Child” is Redefining Contemporary Music As We Know It.

September 19, 2023

One of the most exciting parts of my day is receiving emails about new music from artists across all genres. It opens up my world to a variety of sounds, and I get to tap into different trends. To be honest, it’s also great for my personal playlists. So, a week ago, I received an email from this New Jersey trio called Chrysalis about their new project “To Raise A Child.” As part of my routine, I always listen to new music when I am driving or doing chores, just to see how it hits me. It was no different for this project. So I pressed play, and man, I was not ready for what came out of my speakers.

This electrifying new band, with roots deeply embedded in the vibrant New Jersey music scene, is composed of Alexia (vocals), Riaz Sajan (guitar), and Sen Raines (bass). They’re breaking boundaries and pushing the limits of genre conventions, fusing the soulful vibes of jazz, the rebellious spirit of punk, and the sultry grooves of R&B. This ensemble is on a mission to redefine contemporary music as we know it. One of the standout tracks that caught my attention is ‘Clementine,’ a funky rhythmic record that fills the room with Hiatus Kaiyote vibes.

Speaking about the album, Sen says, “To me, the album is about going through the storms of life and developing the tools to persevere through them. That’s why lines like ‘I’ve been bench pressing the weight of the world, that’s why I’m down so heavy!’ from our song ‘CLEMENTINE’ hit so hard because it’s true. It just so happens to be one of my favorite songs on the album too.”


Drawing inspiration from musical luminaries such as the legendary Quincy Jones, the genre-defying prowess of The Internet, the timeless elegance of Chaka Khan, the silky smoothness of SADE, and a plethora of other artists of similar caliber, this band’s sonic tapestry is a rich, multifaceted experience that transcends the limitations of any single genre. Their eclectic influences are not just evident but celebrated in every note they play and every lyric they sing.

I had a sit down with the band just to chat about their creative process behind their debut offering.

AFROPUNK: Where did it all come together for Chrysalis? Who are the people behind the group and what roles do they play creatively?

Alexia: We’re all from New Jersey. Riaz and I went to school together, and started a band back in 6th grade – I sang vocals, he played guitar. We lost touch when we went to different high schools, but reconnected during the pandemic. We met on early mornings to write music before going to work. He would play one of his old demos, and I would write lyrics to it. We performed at a few open mics in Jersey, and a few months later we met Sen. She plays the bass. During the past year, we spent time together jamming, recording demos, and hanging out as friends. We vibed to whatever we felt without limiting ourselves to a genre, because the 3 of us come from completely different music backgrounds. We made music to shake ass, head-bang, chill – We did what we wanted to do.

Sen: Our sound is a melting pot of different genres and cultures. It’s like a thanksgiving table, and each of us brought our own dish to contribute to the potluck. It’s a beautiful thing. We play a lot with jazz, rock, r&b, folk, hip-hop, chanting, even natural elements like wind, rain and fire. There’s something for everyone.

AFROPUNK: “To Raise A Child” serves as a great appetizer for people who have been waiting for new music from you guys, was it a deliberate decision to have the debut album so short? What was the creative process making this project?

Riaz: We don’t set rules when writing music, so that our minds stay open during the creative process. For this album, each song is inspired by an element when it comes to the vibe and feel. Through the creative process, we used visual descriptions to guide the songwriting and production. Each song paints a vivid image of what the band was visualizing; a tornado for CLEMENTINE, a car ride at sunset for DAWN, crashing waves for KARMA, etc. We are all connected to the earth. So naturally it has a very heavy influence on how we create.

 Alexia: Collaboration helps our creative process most. Our musicians Chris Paredes (drums, percussion), Keyshawn Oliver (drums), Nicolas Valencia (keys), and Jalin Shiver (sax) were all great collaborators for the songs CLEMENTINE and TAKEAWAYS. Our engineer, B-Hall MixedIt,mixed and mastered the album. He’s another collaborator that supported the creative process for our album. 

AFROPUNK: Listening to the album, I find myself going back and forth between “CLEMENTINE” and the last joint, “Free”. What are some of your favourite songs on this project, and do you have special moments attached to them?

Alexia: CLEMENTINE is a love song to happiness. Lyrically, I was inspired to share parts of my healing journey I thought everyone could relate to. I speak on the lengths to find my happiness, and remind myself that true joy is seeped into fully being myself. Sometimes, you go into a downward spiral during your healing journey, and you have to continue to speak so much life into yourself. I wanted to use this opportunity to express that healing comes in waves, but you have to be consistent through all of that for you. It’s all up to you.

Sen: I love to collaborate, so DAWN is definitely one of my favorites. Working with TimaLikesMusic and PeteyxKraze created an opportunity to expand the story by narrating it from multiple perspectives. DAWN takes you through many places l lyrically and sonically. It was definitely a fun song to write together.  

Riaz: My favorite song is KARMA. Its simplicity allows our different personalities and voices in the band to shine through. Its message of gratitude and love is simple yet deeply profound!

AFROPUNK: What messaging, or takeaway (pun right there), would you like a first time listener to go away with after listening to the project?

Riaz: The precipice of adulthood can invite us to revisit, revise, and even to challenge the things we learned as children. “To Raise A Child” is a lifelong process of navigating consciousness. Sometimes it is something we do in solitude. Sometimes we do it with a community.

Sen: I believe that people will connect to this album for different reasons, but will have an understanding of what we want to say. My biggest hope is that people feel heard.”

Alexia: We named the album “To Raise A Child” because it tells the story of a young person experiencing growth – The part of growing that isn’t aging, or time passing. It’s about the life experiences you have to face in order to be better, no matter how old you are. This big world and its lessons can make you feel so small and vulnerable the way children do. It takes everything in you to get through it all.

AFROPUNK: What’s next for Chrysalis?

Riaz: We hosted our album release party at NUBLU in New York City, and definitely plan to have more shows for the fall.

Sen: We’re big on holidays like Halloween and New Year’s Eve, so be on the lookout for that!

Alexia: We’re also releasing our visuals for the album throughout the Fall. Stay tuned for the visual premiere on Thanksgiving Day.

You can stream music and follow Chrysalis HERE.