LATW: Chai Sullivan


Last week, we had the opportunity to interview the wonderful Chai. A contagious soul that loves to create her music and share thoughtful stories with those around her. Read more below to learn all about Chai!

Introduce yourself and what you do?

“I’m Chai, I am an emerging Neo artist, currently based in Victoria, BC. My musical influence can range from notion, hip-hop, jazz, classical, folk. I would say it’s a very distinct sound and I’ve just learned how to engineer everything together in the last couple of years instead of just messing around with garage band. Currently, I am looking for management and representation because I am getting ready to release my album. 

Globally my goal is to reach a bigger audience, but locally I want to carve a bigger space for R&B and a bigger space foraprtists of colour that want to bring their culture to the forefront. I find that that is easiest done through music and I know there is a hunger for it and people enjoy it. Music with black roots is unmatched across genres and I think that if we kind of round up enough musicians to deliver on that hunger it will be amazing both for financially, spiritually, passionately for the artist as well as for the community. It’s such a good way to learn and embrace a new way of thinking and respecting the black culture movement forward. That’s what has motivated me into writing my own music.”

How do you stand out and differentiate your brand and music style from those around you and your competitors?

“I think that because of my background and having such a mixed perspective on things and growing up as a mixed race person, I’ve gotten to dip my toe into completely different scenes. I wouldn’t say that that is completely the reason why but I was raised by a village , not just my family. I think that the diversity and complexity and having this huge community like family really helped me understand the value of trying new things and not limiting myself to one box. I think I have the flexibility to be really tough and strong one day, and then really soft and feminine another day, and then tap into my spiritual self and my logical self and bring that openness to my music. It’s hard to pin myself down to one genre, and I think Neo-soul best matches it, but what sets me apart is I just want the music to resonate and I’m not too concerned with how much I have to compartmentalize to resonate with an audience.”

How would you describe your music in 3 words?

“My first word would be dreamlike, my second word would be honest, and the last word would be mystical.”

What is the biggest challenge in the music industry that you have encountered?

“The biggest challenge that I’ve encountered is honestly the biggest challenge for anyone at the point of fully committing themselves to their art is simply just having the time all whilst surfing in a horrific economy that doesn’t work for anybody. I think that anyone in the arts is really really tough, and everyone I know that is really trying their best at it have had to take periods of time of needing to just commit either their full time to creating or writing and you can only go for so long before you have to work a 9-5 before you take off. Just logistically conserving time and energy I the midst of living in the lower West Coast of Canada during a housing crisis is so difficult.”

Is there another musician you’ve mentored or trained?

“The biggest collaborator and my friend is obnoxious. And Ob is an incredible indigenous rapper, produce, and DJ  and we grew up together. He has gone through a whirwind and has overcome so much. His skill and talent alone is unmatched and he really helped me gain that confidence in calling myself a musician and booking gigs. When we work together I think that I have the skills to show up and put all the razzle dazzle into it but he puts some serious time into his craft. He completely taught himself how t mix and master everything himself and he just amazes me. 

To add to that Sunshine Drivethru is another local artist that I have had the chance to work with and he is also very impressive with his craft.  He writes and produces anything, and he really does a cool job at bringing funk into alternative indie right now. 

I would also link my friend Malakai, who is a local to Victoria and he is a rapper and vocalist. I found his album back in 2018, and I happened to be going to a protest  and I randomly picked him up on the side of the road. I truly deeply believe that both of those people will really make a huge difference. 

Also, Hanora, is an R&B artist. She is based out of Montreal and she is my mentor right now. She has been guiding me through protecting myself, financially, emotionally, spiritually through moving forward into the next steps of my career. She is helping with my song writing process, conserving my energy, and knowing what to look for in record deals. 

All of these people have been really huge for me. 

Whats next, is there anything in the works, is there anything you’d like to promote?

“I will be releasing a couple singles in the coming summer months of 2022 as a preview to my debut album, with is titles ‘Dunno’. Which will be coming out sometime in the fall. People can expect some visual components to the album that help piece the narrative together. I am going to dip my toe into more rap and hip hop in the upcoming album. Keep your ears peeled for the album and a release concert that will be happening soon. 

Thank so much for the interview Chai! We hope all the best in your upcoming album release and in your career as you move ahead. Check out her Instagram and Spotify here!

Chai Performing

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