As one of the few female artists signed on to esteemed label and mass media company, 88rising, 20-year-old Lexie Liu, is a refreshing hip-hop artist who, with her futuristic, dream-like sound and latest album 2030 based around the concept of future, likewise is an embodiment of the future of the music industry.
She told Miss Vogue, “being Asian, female and a hip-hop artist is very contradictory, in a literal sense. But I want to refresh that vision.”
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Indeed, Liu is anything but the traditional female Asian pop star. As she says, “everyone is unique as an artist, but my uniqueness comes from the fact that I am a product of globalisation – I like to think I am a multicultural person, as I grew up in China, but I was exposed to Western culture. So my music is mixed with English and Chinese.”
Her album, 2030, reflects exactly what she is – a product of globalisation – where it is 8 tracks worth of ethereal and wonderful blends of Chinese and Western sounds, of genres and eras, of singing and rapping and at no point does it sound contradictory. The album is a seamless and exciting listen. You feel her energy in “Nada” – a “song about having nothing but everything to live”; you vibe with her in “Strange Things”; you hear traditional Chinese sounds in “Sleep Away” which she explained, “is inspired by a classic Mandarin song, but I added lots of different elements and cultures because I wanted it to be considered a classic in a decades time – timeless, I guess”; then you’re transported to 1920’s China in “Hat Trick”, inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby where she quotes the novel she says, is “retro and futuristic at the same time.”
She then closes the album with the standout track, “Mulan”. She explained, “while there are so many legends, Mulan is the one that stands out to me. She’s an ordinary girl but she was so brave, fighting for her family. She broke down gender stereotypes, showing there aren’t limits to what women can do, that we’re not divided by how strong we are and that we’re all equal. It’s at the end of the album because it has a lot of Ancient Chinese ideas and it felt important to do so.”
While Liu’s music is unique where she alternates between two languages, her success as a female Asian artist breaking the international market sparks a wider conversation and a positive one at that – that music has no language barriers and that the music industry is beginning to wake up, acknowledging the need to embrace and champion all cultures.
“The future of the music industry is global – different cultures blending together. There’s definitely more interest in Asian artists because Asian countries are growing faster. I feel like now, time is changing. Things change overnight, people become overnight sensations and people want to see different stuff, especially when information is flooding everywhere. So I just like presenting who I am to the world. I’m Chinese and putting my culture out there for the world to see – showing my true identity with pride,” she revealed.
Indeed, time and the music industry is changing, and Lexie Liu is here to see it through.