Innovative people see what everyone else sees, but think about it in a way others would not. Chrlii (pronounced Charlie) is one of those innovative people. He has captured on to the Afrobeat movement at its zenith, and fused it with West Indian rhythms to create a beautifully blended sound. He is the first ever Afro-Caribbean and US-based Afrobeat artist to emerge on the music scene.
Chrlii is of Haitian and Jamaican descent and was always around West Indian music throughout his childhood. He was a bit of a self-proclaimed trouble maker in his youth and gave his parents a hard time growing up, but all of that turned around at the age of 12. One day one of his mentors invited him to intern at his music studio to keep him out of trouble. Initially he would spend time there helping him clean the studio and organize things, but eventually his mentor started to teach him engineering and producing. Being at the studio everyday grew his passion for music and allowed him to experiment and indulge in different ways of creating music.
“Exploring music without limits”, is how he describes his artistic abilities. He considers himself a jack of all trades and doesn’t place boundaries on his talents to grow and evolve. Over the years, he was able to work on different projects at the studio while blending his love for being a producer, writer, engineer and designer all into one. “I try to integrate everything that I am passionate about into one, because they can co-exist”, he says.
Chrlii says growing up, he was very inspired by producer Ryan Leslie because he was one of the first people that he saw documenting their process in the studio from start to finish. He admired how Leslie could float between different roles in the overall production of a song.
“There was no one doing it like him at the time. You hear about producers but you don’t get to see the full process. ”
Chrlii lives by the guiding principle that everything in music can co-exist together. Over the last 2 years he has delved more into the Afrobeat sound and made it his own with Caribbean influences. His latest song “Juice” was released at the beginning of the year and was well received. His overall goal is to continue to elevate the music of Haitian culture (Zouk) Indie genre and expand upon it here in the states. He wants to take what exists today and reinvent it to evolve the sound.
Becoming successful in the music industry can have its days, but Chrlii looks to his family and friends to stay motivated and keep him grounded. Besides that, he thoroughly enjoys getting lost in his music because it’s the perfect escape if he is having an off day. He loves the way his music makes people feel, and that is one of the biggest motivators that keeps him creating music.
A year from now, Chrlii hopes to have twice as much impact in music and eventually venture into technology and fashion.
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