Persian-Kiwi rapper CHAII has carved out a corner in the hip hop scene that is fresh, diverse and extremely exciting, drawing from her Iranian heritage as well as the multi-faceted and multi-cultural world of hip hop burgeoning in Australia and New Zealand.
A multi-skilled rapper, producer, engineer and director, CHAII's Lightswitch visual EP is a masterclass in showing us an artist that can do it all. She self-directed and produced all the badass visuals on the EP, filmed guerilla-style between California (where a large portion of her Persian family lives) and Oman.
Expanding on the diverse fusion of Western and Persian sounds on Lightswitch, CHAII explains that she was fascinated by the history of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, which forced many creatives to immigrate to California.
“I am part of the new generation of Iranian immigrants who are creating music outside of Iran. Coming from New Zealand, where there’s a very small Persian community that you barely see or hear from, it was a revelation to experience the perfect blend of Western and Persian influences when I first visited LA to see family.”
Now she's come back with another fiery EP called Pineapple Pizza, the title track giving us a taste of the bumpin' beats to expect from the 6-track release.
There's much to know about CHAII, so we had her tell us fascinating facts about herself.
the music industry is not new to her
I worked in the music industry as a sound engineer/music video creator before being a full-time music artist. Worked with really dope people and got to do heaps of different projects. The last album I mixed was for NZ artist JessB called New View.
you might see her in fast & furious one day
I did stunt driving in a New Zealand film Alien Addiction directed by my friend Shae Sterling. I was helping produce the movie and doing the location sound for it, so when we needed car chase scenes naturally I would be on set and available so Shae would ask me. It's ticked off my bucket list now but I still dream of being a stunt driver in a Fast & Furious movie. How sick would that be.
fishing is calming
I like going fishing, it’s relaxing. I want to invest more time into it and really see how far I can take it.
She plays Flamenco
I used to play Flamenco guitar and was a hardcore Gipsy Kings fan. I was self-taught but took a few lessons to get me started and my teacher was friends with a member of Gipsy Kings which only shows how small this world is.
she paints for her friends and family
I love painting. Oil on canvas is my fave. Don't own any of my paintings. They were all presents to friends and family. Recently I bought some new paints though which I'm really looking forward to using when I have some down time.