Chxrry22 debuts in ‘The Other Side’

Chxrry22 talks about her music journey and debut EP “The Other Side” at a press conference with °1824, Universal Music Group N.V.


Chxrry22’s debut EP “The Other Side” is a combination of the sounds from her childhood and Atlanta’s R&B culture. (Courtesy of Mallary Edwards)

Paree Chopra, Staff Writer

Chxrry22 is the first female talent signed to XO and Republic Records. She completely embodies her multifaceted personality in her music. At a conference with °1824, Universal Music Group on Oct. 19, Chxrry22 spoke about growing up in Toronto surrounded by music — particularly Ethiopian Christian music at home, and the soft pop and rock that were popular on the radio. These sounds became an immersive part of her childhood that encouraged her to pursue music as a professional career. 

Chxrry22 ultimately found herself in Atlanta’s R&B scene. With the September release of her debut EP “The Other Side,” Chxrry22 intertwined her musical roots with the influence that living in Atlanta’s R&B culture had on her. The EP is musically nuanced and distinctive, embracing its stylistic and personal dualism.

“We can be both the villain and the victim in some story,” Chxrry22 said. “And this is me owning that.”

The seven-track EP combines contemporary R&B beats, soft melodies, synthwave instrumentation and groovy vocal harmonies. Throughout the EP, Chxrry22 teeters between singing about a tumultuous relationship and coming into her own as a person.

The first track, “The Other Side,” begins with a melody, led by plucked strings, that gradually morphs into a synth. Chxrry22’s raspy and sultry vocals carry the tune as she harmonizes on the chorus. “The Falls,” Chxrry22’s debut single and the second track on the EP, proceeds to address her moments of weakness. She sings, “He had me in Niagara Falls missin’ all your calls / We was in the moment losing all control / Gettin’ deep inside, felt alive” over a light drum beat and textured vocals. It’s a song that establishes the duality of human beings, which is a theme that pervades throughout the album and in Chxrry22’s reflection on where her mind was during the EP’s creation. 

The push for internal change takes action in “Call Me,” which finds Chxrry22 breaking away from a toxic relationship and coming into her own — “I don’t have it in me (In me) / To give a lot (Ooh, ooh) / I can’t be the one.” The R&B-infused rhythms combined with the distinctive layering of Chxrry22’s siren vocals give dimension to the song. 

While escaping from love, Chxrry22 seems to find strength in her newfound independence. However, there is also a yearning for love. “Do It Again” shines through with its experimentative production and electronic loops. “Us” finds subtle pop influences in its beats as Chxrry23 reminisces, “Thought we always said that it’d be you and me (Me) / It was gon’ be you and me (Me, me).”

The EP’s final track “Wasteland” begins with a muffled beat that converts into subdued pop-rock drums. Chxrry22’s harmonies carry the track as she sings in finality, “I need a love, deep as the ocean (Deep as the ocean) / Pull me to shore, oh-oh / Show me devotion (Show me devotion),” because she realizes that’s the kind of love she deserves.

The EP possesses vulnerability and honesty painting the picture of what it means to be human. She illustrates that good and bad moments exist on the same spectrum, rather than rendering an idealistic image of human emotionality and morality.

“Growing up I felt confused about who I was because some people saw me a certain way, and some people saw me another way,” Chxrry22 said. “I’m like, ‘What am I? Am I fake?’ And it’s like, ‘No, you’re not fake. You have two sides and nobody is this perfect person.'”

By breaking the bounds of contemporary R&B, Chxrry22 has proven herself to be a powerful upcoming voice, and a rising artist everyone should be on the lookout for. Chxrry22 brings her Ethiopian roots and Canadian upbringing to her music, and she is not afraid to express vulnerability and honesty in her lyrics.

“I think what I want younger women to take from my music is that it’s okay to own your decisions,” Chxrry22 said. “We all make mistakes and we all do things we wouldn’t do now — we grow out of it.”

Contact Paree Chopra at [email protected]