‘WAKE UP!’ AND PUT CHUALA ON YOUR RADAR
MEET THE BERLIN-BASED PROGRESSIVE ARTIST MERGING DANCE, PUNK ROCK AND AFRICAN SOUL
chuala is an internationally-acclaimed emerging artist, widely regarded for her genre-bending and convention-defying direction. After writing her first song at the humble age of eight, she was discovered by Atlantic Records at 14 and has just now released her EP “me and chu” which arrives as a collision of dance, punk rock and African soul.
chuala‘s progressive music touches on redefining normality, whether it be questioning societal beliefs on monogamy and love or talking on personal developments. It comes as no surprise, then, to see chuala’s image having far-reaching appeal to the youth. CULTED joined chuala to mull over her career, musical journey and her new album’s significance to her.
Your image and music has such a distinctive quality, can you start off by telling us how you began creating music and how you were discovered?
I started playing the french horn and trombone in orchestras, ensembles and jazz bands when I was around 7/8 years old. I grew up with a huge variety of different music (s/o to my mum) and began composing and writing songs on my own simultaneously with learning instruments. When I was 14 years old, I lived in a small German town and met a guy who owned a studio. We worked together and after a couple of weeks we had 3 tracks which we thought were great. So we ended up sending them to a couple of A&R’s who’s emails we somehow found on the internet. Atlantic Records in NY picked up on it and passed it on to their partner label WARNER music in Germany, as I was clearly too young to move and sign a deal in the States.
Has your lifestyle in Berlin influenced your music in any way?
Yes, definitely. Berlin is a lot less fast paced and the quality of life is so high for a much lower price compared to London. I was able to not only create out of survival mode and have 10 side hustles, but truly focus on my passion for music.
Your latest EP ‘me and chu’ stands as an introduction to your past musical influences. What/who are your influences and how are these represented in your work?
I find inspiration in almost anything. Mostly internally. I gravitate towards musicians that have unique expression and push for innovation in their compositions. Growing up I’d listen to a lot of world and traditional African music, classical, rap, jazz, psychedelic rock as well as R&B and soul artists. bacardi for instance has Soukous / Sebene guitars and percussion drums, whilst good morning world is more of a classic rock riff. On my last EP my vocal harmonies had almost a church/Gregorian vibe to it.
Listening to ‘me and chu’, we enjoyed the transition from chilled sounds to the upbeat tempo of ‘wake up’. Is there a reason for this journey? Do you find it more enjoyable producing the dance tracks or more emotive songs?
I enjoy all sorts of moods, but I don’t find it particularly easy to write ‘happy’ songs. There’s just something that makes me cringe about a full on major chord composition haha. wake up! was fun because it happened so quickly and felt right and complete almost instantly. In regards to tempo though I have no preference, just whatever it is i’m feeling that day.
What other music artists do you resonate with? Is there someone you’d love to collaborate with?
I have a very broad taste in music and listen to anything from folk to nightcore, heavy metal, trap, punk to bossa nova lol. On rotation at the moment are artists like: Eartheater, Fleet Foxes, Ojerime, Amyl and The Sniffers or DJ Assault. I’d love to collaborate with a bunch of my talented friends first, for example Denzel Himself (working on it) before dreaming any bigger. Let’s see what the future holds!
What has been your proudest moment?
I was very proud when I produced my first EP alone in my bedroom after thinking for years that I’d always be needing a producer to help me bring my music to life.
What are your plans for the future? Do you have any live events coming up?
I would love to work on an album next and really take my time with the creative process. me and chu happened so fast. Hopefully I will get to play some bigger shows next year, but for now I’ll be playing a couple of small gigs and a recorded live performance. Overall, I just want to continue doing what I love and somehow survive off of it haha.