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Official â™› Lexie Liu â™› Thread

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The Official Lexie Liu Thread





Name: Lexie Liu or Liu Boxin / 刘æŸè¾›

Age: December 21, 1998

Genres: RnB, Hip Hop, Indie

Label: 88Rising



Lexie Liu is a Chinese singer, rapper and songwriter.

In 2015, she participated in K-pop Star 5, a South Korean reality TV competition series where three entertainment agencies hold a worldwide audition to find potential K-Pop stars, and came in fourth place. In July 2018, she participated in The Rap of China and won fourth place. On November, she released her new song "Sleep Away" On 18 December 2018, her new single "Nada" was globally released. On Febuary 2019 she dropped her EP 2030.














Apple Music



Edited by SOLAR Flare
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Lexie Liu Discusses Sensual Single 'Hat Trick,' State of Rap in China & More



Lexie Liu

At 20-years-old, Lexie Liu is one of several young faces of the burgeoning mainstreaming of hip-hop in China. With a hypnotic blend of ambient tunes and woozy beats, she’s risen to prominence through her dedication to melodic rap, relayed through songs like "Sleep Away" and "Nada." Last year, she rose to prominence through her appearance on the popular competition show The Rap of China, where she landed in fourth place, ending the year by signing with 88rising. She’s back this week with a new single, “Hat Trick,†and the announcement of her upcoming 2030 album, kicking off 2019 in a big way.    


“Last year, I was more focused on the domestic stuff that was going on,†Liu tells Billboard. “This year, it will be a starting point for my music and my work with 88 here, in a more international market.â€


Born and raised in Hunan, China, Liu is bilingual and incorporates both Mandarin and English into her songs just as she blends different sonic styles, heavily emphasizing the R&B leanings in her songs. She sees herself as a bridge of sorts. “I feel there’s a need to combine these two languages, and I hope that can make people feel that Mandarin is a beautiful language. And make them want to know more about this culture," she says.


She also expresses a desire to show Chinese audiences how hip-hop is more complex than perceptions of it may typically be. “In the Chinese market, people are getting more and more open minded to different genres of music, like hip-hop just started last year," she says. "People are starting to love it, to be precise." By introducing smoother rap styles and incorporating a variety of genres, Liu’s brand of hip-hop is built to be more accessible, but she recalls facing criticism for it while she was on The Rap of China. “‘Oh, she’s just singing pop songs.’ That’s not how that works," she declares. "But after [that Rap of China] season, there were more rappers that started to do more melodic and sounds friendlier to the ears stuff. People are more and more open to it and there were a couple hit songs that were melodic rap, and I’m happy to see that too.â€


The relationship between China, and Asia in general, with hip-hop is complex based on the genre originating among black artists in the States, grown out of socio-economic and racial tensions. Liu doesn’t shy away from this, and believes that Chinese hip-hop won’t become truly authentic until people “understand the whole hip-hop thing varies from time to time too. We cannot talk about selling dope and stuff in China, cause we’ve never done that. Nobody’s actually doing it [who is] rapping there. So sometimes we need to avoid to talk about certain topics that are not true. Maybe switch it to a different point of view, and more closer to life that people are living in.â€


Personally, Liu draws from her life and her favorite fiction for inspiration. The soulful “Hat Trick†is inspired by the prologue of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and features quotes from the iconic cautionary tale about the American dream, including the rephrased “The girl really worth having won't wait for anybody.†Time and science-fiction are particular creative inspirators for Liu, who quickly responds with the insider wink-wink phrase â€œ42†as the answer to the universal question after declaring Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as another major influence. Her music videos regularly incorporate futuristic elements in them as well. “I’m obsessed with the conception of time,†she admits. “Cause it makes everything change and take it to somewhere that people wouldn’t know until they’re there. So it gives me a lot of space to play with imagination.â€


But though her music and videos are space for her to explore her creativity and imagination, Liu’s also intensely grounded, and uses her career as a way to try and rectify gender disparity that she sees in the music world around her. “It is a very male dominated industry, and people always have more strict and harder standards on women, especially celebrities and rappers,†she says. One of a handful of female rappers to rise to prominence through The Rap of China, Liu says all of them are aware of their role as pioneers. “We’re trying to show that not only guys can do that, we can probably do that too, united together.â€


Liu says she thinks her less aggressive style of hip-hop is seen dismissively partially because she’s a woman, as neither her sound nor her looks match the idea of what a female rapper should be. “Because I’m a girl and because I use a lot of melodic stuff, a lot of audiences they will feel like I’m not rapping,†she says about feedback she’s heard. “And a little bit of weird comments on my boobs. ‘Oh, they’re so flat.’ Cause female rappers are,†she pauses to wave her hand in a curve, “You know?â€


Though Liu’s parents want her to go back to college -- she left New York University after her first semester to pursue her passion -- she’s not remotely ready to be done with her musical career at a time when both Chinese and Western audiences are becoming more open to more diverse music that blends languages, cultures, and her musical leanings. “I’m still trying to mix these elements together so people can see something that they’ve never seen before. That’s where I’m going,†she says.  





Lexie Liu Is Crisscrossing the Culture on a Global Level


In this Ones to Watch feature, we catch up with Lexie Liu, a recent signee to 88rising nurturing a career on both sides of the Pacific with preternatural grace.


Prior to dropping her debut project, Lexie Liu was already being hailed as the definitive voice of the next Chinese generation. Obviously, that’s a lot of pressure for anyone to live up to, but after listening to her 2030 EP it’s clear why so many of Liu’s peers believe in her abilities. The afternoon that we meet at W Hotel in New York, she’s rolling through a press day full of meetings and interviews with different outlets. Speaking about the 2030 EP ahead of its official release, she’s a wide-eyed bundle of nerves and excitement.

“I feel like it’s a lot,†she says with a shy smile. “I feel very excited to hear it at first because I can see the potential [and] maybe people can see that too. I feel more encouraged to make music of my own, but then I was like, ‘Okay, this is getting a bit far…'â€


Even though Liu didn’t plan for it, she has always been a student of music—as a child, her parents sent her to lessons for piano and Chinese folk dance. She recalls it as “the first influence that I’ve ever gotten in my life.†Early on, Liu’s parents recognized that she loved the art form, but encouraged her to pursue other subjects for her profession, so she focused on her school work and enrolled at Fordham University in New York to study global business.

Music became the main priority for Liu when she realized that it was the only outlet where she could truly express herself despite the other things that were going on in her life. So when she decided that she wanted to fully invest in it as a career, she also made the hard call of moving back to China to establish herself there first.

“People [in China] are getting more open minded about accepting different sounds and different genres,†she explains. “People [have] started to not just stick to their comfort zone, they started to break through it. That’s what musicians wanted to see too, so everything’s getting better and more standardized and industrialized when it comes to copyright.â€



Top/Alexander Wang, Bottom/Alexander Wang, Necklace/Artists own, Ring/Chris Habana, Shoes/Adidas x Alexander Wang Highsnobiety / Bryan Luna


But before all of this happened, Liu was mildly exposed to the industry as a contestant on the Korean music competition show K-pop Star 5 when she was a teenager. She finished in fourth place, but the most valuable takeaway from the whole experience for her was understanding the importance of practice. Liu is the furthest thing from an industry plant, so she was never trained to be an artist in the traditional sense.


On the flip side, being subjected to a more structured environment pushed her toward the independent route even though she was navigating it without a firm outline. Liu didn’t want to be forced to sing songs written by other people or perform choreography for every single sequence – she didn’t belong in that part of the music world.

“I feel like I just got a new understanding of this industry and what it’s leading to as well,†she says. “I’m more expressive in a way, so I want to take more control in music and the creative [side].â€


Bodysuit by Chromat, Pants by OHT NYC, Harness by OHT NYC, Shoes by Adidas x Alexander Wang Highsnobiety / Bryan Luna

Bodysuit/Chromat, Pants/OHT NYC, Harness/OHT NYC, Shoes/Adidas x Alexander Wang Highsnobiety / Bryan Luna


Bodysuit/Chromat, Pants/OHT NYC, Harness/OHT NYC, Shoes/Adidas x Alexander Wang Highsnobiety / Bryan Luna

Signing to 88rising could have been perceived as a risk, but Liu felt confident about taking that step having known the label for a long time and being a fan of the content that they produced. She adds, “As we started getting to know each other we realized that a lot of things that we want to do are on the same page – crossing over culture and trying to make more people notice us, this culture, and this new breed of music power.â€


As of right now, she and NIKI are the only women on the label, but they stand out for a multitude of reasons that have nothing to do with their sex or gender. The narrative behind Liu’s debut EP is driven by her experience of leaving New York to make the transition to a full-time artist – she bottles up the sensation of her “daily overthinking†and the way in which she views the world at large and pours out her struggles to make sense out of vague concepts like love and humanity.


Although Liu hasn’t quite figured out how to describe her sound yet, she doesn’t want to be trapped in a box of expectations. Sonically speaking, she’s inspired by artists like Rihanna, Lana Del Rey, and PARTYNEXTDOOR.

“I try to incorporate as many genres that I’m attracted to into my music, but I’m still looking for that sound,†she says. “I’ve filtered some already and still trying to mix every element that I like together and try to make something that people haven’t heard before.â€


Top/Alexander Wang, Bottom/Alexander Wang, Necklace/Artists own, Ring/Chris Habana, Shoes/Adidas x Alexander Wang Highsnobiety / Bryan Luna


Of course, Liu has all the time in the world to mould herself into the artist that she wants to be. After all, she’s already made it this far on her own and now she has a whole team to support her on this mission to connect with as many people as possible through her music. Even though it’s extremely ambitious, Liu is determined to make something new that hasn’t been heard before.


“As an artist, I’m just trying to keep making quality, controlled music that comes from my heart,†she adds. “It’s difficult to keep up both standards moving forward, but I have to so more people can notice my music… Incorporating both languages, playing with the rhymes and melodies unexpectedly, I think that would raise a question mark. I feel like that’s enough for me.â€




Edited by SOLAR Flare

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