Band of the Day


Lorine Chia

Expressive, futuristic R&B deftly fused with alternative and acid jazz by a rising Cameroon-born singer
Every time I hop on my bed, they’re the type to sit there and pretend, hoping life will never end.
lyrics from No New Friends

Born in Banso, Cameroon, Lorine Chia was destined to perform. Releasing her first mixtape entitled Lorine on Thanksgiving in 2012, the Ohio native received praise and attention from Complex Magazine, France’s OFive TV, Live Mixtapes, Mercedes-Benz and more, thanks to her futuristic, airy production and soulfully distinct voice. Now as Lorine focuses on her future, let’s dig into her past. Named after Lorine Okotie, her father’s favorite African songstress, the first generation immigrant moved around the east coast with her family, stopping in several cities before settling in Willoughby, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. At six years old, her parents flung her in front of their church’s audience to sing an African spiritual and to her own surprise, Lorine not only sang well but she loved the experience. As the years carried on, she matured into a good student and reunited with her musical leanings by joining her elementary school’s band. But after playing the trombone and violin and later singing in the school choir in the ninth grade, she tired of instruments and musical group activities. Then in the tenth grade, she accidentally rediscovered her talent for singing through a school project. “We had to participate in a poetry slam as either a performer or help in setting up the show,” she recalls. “I said I’d contribute by playing the guitar, but I didn’t know how. So I taught myself how to play in a month and sang ‘Give Love a Try’ by the Jonas Brothers. Everyone liked it and I got an “A” so I thought, ‘Hey, maybe music’s my thing.’” Drawing on her breakthrough, the then 15-year-old began writing and recording songs on her home video camera and uploading the clips to her Facebook page. Graduating from Willoughby South High school in 2011, Lorine took the traditional college route as a co-ed at Toledo University but her heart wasn’t in it. “I tried the whole pre-med thing, and I got a 2.4 GPA for the first time,” she said. “My parents were so confused. I couldn’t return because I couldn’t afford it, but in that time, I made my Lorine album. It was released on Thanksgiving, and everyone loved it.” Shortly after the free album hit the Internet, Complex Magazine’s website featured Lorine as a must-listen project as did Live Mixtapes. On the branding front, Mercedes- Benz sought out the young artist’s music to include on a compilation created by the luxury car company to “compliment the A 45 AMG’s striking design and compact insanity.” A mixture of alternative, acid Jazz and futuristic R&B, Lorine’s first collection of eleven songs delves into the passion and dreams of the young singer. With her haunting voice, her delivery reminds the listener of a young Skye Edwards of Morcheeba. However, Lorine admits that her influences run the gamut. “Some of the people I listened to while making Lorine were John Legend, Coldplay, Mr. Hudson, Amy Winehouse and James Blake,” she shares. “I looked at their song structure and melodies. I grew up listening to John, and I’ve always loved the way all of these artists sounded. Each of them have a cool and soulful voice that couldn’t be imitated, and I try to have that. “Coldplay really helped with guitar and making melodies. James Blake came in when I realized I could make my music sound futuristic like artists do in the U.K.,” Lorine continues. “I like to ask, ‘What would James Blake do?’ when I’m creating. Amy Winehouse just had so much soul and sang so effortlessly, so I try to do that. I try to make it seem like the coolest thing to have this voice.” “Crazy Things” is the young singer’s first single and video from Lorine where she tackles a baffling relationship. “I wrote ‘Crazy Things’ for everyone going through a relationship where their significant other is acting out of character, irritable, and just flat out doing things that turns them off,” she explains. Elsewhere on “You’re Alright,” Lorine delivers a self-addressed pep talk borne from her own academic crossroads. "'You're Alright’ is one of my favorites!,” she says. “I wrote this song when I came to a realization that every bad thing I've been through in life shall pass. I'm going to be just fine no matter what.” On “Life Without Dreams,” she admits her hopes for the future. As for her Cameroonian roots, the first generation Ohio native says her heritage seeps out in her attitude. “Where I’m originally from has made me more determined in whatever I do, especially music,” she says. “Now I want producers to create sounds similar to Cameroonian rhythms, specifically the drum patterns.” “This is a special song to me because it represents my dream of being a musician and how it’s possible for it to come true,” Lorine says. Now Lorine is focusing on creating her next project, but as a one-woman band. “My ultimate goal is to make my own album from scratch by myself, including producing, lyrics, singing ... everything,” she says. “I’ve begun learning how to make beats, play more instruments and build my voice so it sounds great during my live performance.” By naming Ms. Lorine Chia, her parents might’ve had more foresight than they could’ve ever imagined.