This weekend’s playlist comes from Berlin-based producer, singer and songwriter CHUALA. The young artist transforms her own life experiences into sounds and lyrics, combined with her own social and political views, which she also expresses through your music. CHUALA is considered one of the most up-and-coming progressive R&B artists of our time.
You started writing songs at the age of 14, what inspired you to start a career in music at such a young age?
I grew up in a house filled with all different kinds of music and my mother encouraged me from a very young age to play instruments, dance and express my creativity. I remember writing my first song about a boy that would tease me and my friends in year 3 and coming up with my own compositions for the instruments I played. When I started going to the studio at 14, writing was, as it still is, a tool to process my emotions and make sense of the world around me.
How is Berlin an inspiration for you?
Berlin is the city I moved to at 16, alone to pursue my dreams and it is the city I have lived in for the longest. This city creates a sense of belonging I never knew before. I know my neighbours and the shop owners on my street and so many of my dearest friends are here. I can really tune into my head in Berlin and dive into the creative process. Because it is a rather slow paced city, I don’t feel the constant pressure to work for money, as I do in other cities. This freedom to just exist and the many interesting subcultures and interesting people really inspire me.
Your song „Good morning world“ starts with the lines: „Good morning world / Are you up? / Are you here?/ Are you okay?“ – can you shortly explain what’s the thoughts behind?
It’s really just a direct conversation I have with mother earth. We almost exclusively think about what she can do for us, how she can provide us with food, shelter, resources and locations to live, work or relax in. Rarely do we make room to be grateful or even caring.
You are now also writing for yourself – to what extent has your style changed over the past few years?
I have always written for myself, the detour was me becoming a songwriter, actually. I became more and more honest and therefore more bold in my writing over the years and I no longer try to please or prove anyone or anything in my lyrics. All that matters now is that it feels right to me.
What is the difference for you between writing songs for yourself and for others?
The main difference is, when I write songs for myself, I am the producer, creative director and writer all in one. When writing for someone else, especially if its someone that is also involved in the writing process, my place is to take several steps back and feel the other person out. What has been going on in their life? How are they feeling today and is there something they want to share with the world? If so, how can I assist on finding the right words? It’s almost as if I’m a bit of a therapist sometimes. Since most of my writing jobs are for more commercial Pop or dance music, it’s also a lot less room to experiment and create something truly innovative along the way. Following certain rules makes the creation process a lot easier but less enticing I would say.
Interview by Carolin Desiree Becker
Pictures Courtesy of CHUALA