Lorine Chia’s ultimate goal is to create an entire album on her own– producing, writing and performing every note independently. But slow down on the Lauryn Hill comparison. The Cameroon-born, American-raised, songstress isn’t that easy to define. To R&B heads, her ambition says Lauryn and her voice screams Amy Winehouse, but the soul swaying songstress is only just beginning to realize her creative potential.
“I’m just waiting to see where God takes me,” admits Lorine of her journey to artistic enlightenment. “I feel like I’m definitely still finding myself, because I am young. I’m about to be 20 years old and I still have a long way to go.”
After moving to America at six, a life balanced by joy and pain has molded her divine gift for musical expression. Now, Lorine has dedicated her life to reaching her dreams through music and is getting close by the day. “I’m definitely a struggling artist,” she says before chuckling modestly. “I’m tryna come up!”
– Words by G. King
Mechanical Dummy: Who are you and what do you create?
Lorine Chia: I am Lorine. I’m pretty much just a young woman out in the world trying to make music. My basic message is that anyone can do anything if they try hard enough.
MD: When did you start to believe in the power of your creativity?
LC: When I was like 15, that’s when I learned how to play the guitar. Then when I was 16, I was like, “Oh, maybe I should start writing.” Then that’s when I would make songs and I’m like, “Hey, maybe I’m like really creative and into this music thing.” And that’s when it all started.
MD: How long have you been singing?
LC: I’ve been singing my whole life. I remember coming to America, I sang at church for the first time and it was really cool. I’ve been singing ever since I was a kid. I was in school choirs and all of that.
MD: You were six when you moved from Cameroon, what do you remember about your life there?
LC: I remember a lot of things. I remember my day-to-day life. Kids in Africa are a lot more mature so they tend to grow up a lot quicker. I remember walking to school and being outside with my cousins and brother. We used to have Saturdays where we would wash our uniforms. We didn’t have washing machines so we would wash our uniforms by hand. We’d clean up the house, wash the dishes, everything. I remember a lot. It was a beautiful place to be.
MD: How has your international perspective affected your view of America.
LC: It’s definitely different because I’ve noticed that people in America lack discipline from the schools. Because the schools back in Africa, they’re allowed to hit you. If you do something wrong, they’re allowed to beat you until you get it right. But here, kids are just allowed to do whatever. I guess that’s why kids here are not as mature. Back home, we have responsibilities and we have a lot of discipline.
MD: How do you keep the faith as a struggling artist?
LC: Just the love of music, really. This is something I truly love. Whether it’s singing for someone or writing a song or playing guitar or whatever, I really love it. I love to enjoy making music. I can’t really go a week without creating something.
MD: When did you fall in love with music?
LC: I fell in love, it was after I made my first song. That’s when I was like, “This is so amazing. I sound phenomenal, why not do this forever?” And then performing wise, I did this show with Chance the Rapper and he wanted me to sing with him. It was in front of like a thousand people. I was looking at these people and they were so excited. They were so happy and they were singing these songs. I was like, “What, you know the lyrics to my songs?” It was really incredible. I was like, “This is for me, I love this feeling.”
MD: After you found your power, how did you develop a purpose as an artist?
LC: I love the process and I see it as a way to show people that no matter what you’ve been through in life, you can definitely make it. Me, I’ve gone through a lot of things and there’ve been a lot of standstills and places in my life where it seemed like I couldn’t get past. But I did and I’m progressing. And I want everyone to know that you don’t have to sell drugs or have sex all the time. You don’t even have to talk about those things and you can still be powerful.
MD: Are there particular moments in your life that molded your musical soul?
LC: Definitely. It comes from all the pain I’ve felt. I feel like that’s what God has given me to build this skill. To build this music thing. All the things I’m going through, I talk about in my music. Whether it’s from childhood to little events that happen. I talk about it. People don’t know exactly what I’m talking about, but they feel it because they go through certain things that are similar.
MD: What’s your ultimate goal for your music?
LC: My ultimate goal is to be able to make an album from scratch. I want to make an album top to bottom, all production by me. Lyrics, sounds, everything just my self. If I do that, that’s when I’ll be really happy (laughs).
MD: A lot of people compare your voice to everyone from Amy Winehouse to Adele, how do you feel about artistic comparisons?
LC: Comparisons, they’re cool. People will say I sound like a whole lot of different people at one time. They say that I sound like Macy Gray, Erykah Badu, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill. I’m just like, “Man, I know I don’t sound like all those girls.” I feel like I just sound like myself. The comparisons are great because those are great female musicians and that’s a compliment, but it’s just like at the end of the day, I’m just me.
MD: What’s your greatest talent as a creator?
LC: My strength is definitely my voice and my writing. I need to work on my writing though, to make it more exciting and dynamic. I guess my weak points would have to be— it’s hard to describe. When I’m making a song, I need some type of direction with melodies and all of that. So that’s what I’m really trying to get better at. Knowing where to sing high and sing low and just making the song better.
MD: Who do you listen to for inspiration?
LC: I listen to James Blake a lot for inspiration. Coldplay, definitely Coldplay. Amy Winehouse, ‘cause she sang so effortlessly. It’s just like, I wanna do that all the time. Just get on the mic and people just look at me like, “She makes it so easy.”
MD: How do you spend your days when you’re not in the studio?
LC: I’m a hairdresser on the side. So that’s what I do when I’m not making music. But other than that, I’m trying to create and practice and get better musically.
MD: Is hairdressing just a side hustle or do you enjoy the creative expression in that as well?
LC: It’s both. I found out about myself, that I definitely use whatever I can to be as creative as possible. It makes money and it’s also a creative process where you can do whatever you really want and make it look nice at the end. And I really like to make people happy about the way they look.
MD: What advice would you give to the young geniuses out there who want to create like you?
LC: I feel like they should stick to it. If it’s something they love to do, definitely stick to it and never lose motivation. Never, ever stop grinding. Because it’s gonna be a while. Have patience. That’s something I’m learning to acquire. Sooner or later the harder you work, the more will come.