Hong Kong-based artist cehryl writes songs that explore the complexity of human emotion that fuel her dreamy, genre-fusing tracks, where her lyrical flair and classical training are on full display. Following high school in the UK, the singer-songwriter and producer moved to the US to study music and post-college found herself in Los Angeles forming a tight-knit scene with friends Zack Villere, Mulherin, Dijon, Alex Szotak, and Soft Glas. Their eclectic music tastes became foundational to her ever-evolving sonic plate ranging now from Jazz to Electronic, Folk, and Pop.
With a recent EP release titled, ‘time machine’, cehryl envelops the listener within a nostalgic and melancholic soft airy space, not unlike a dreamscape. With lead single, ‘paprika’, cehyrl’s sentimental crooning takes on a less rose-tinted view of the past, where wallowing a completely normal when it comes to any great memory, but not so much that she can’t move on. The closing track, ‘outside the party, inside the dream’ (and one you ought to have a listen on repeat too), has the lightest touch to end off the EP. Her visuals cultivate wistful moments out of memories and sounds, like the DIY charm of ‘philadelphia’. True to its name, ‘time machine’ transports one to the past not through science, but recollections – we may not all share the same memories but they do provide us all with similar warmth.
Popwire got cehryl to break down a playlist that makes her who she is, including her favourites, what kills and brings her back to life, how she is a diehard Scott James fan, and Dangerdoom because everyone loves MF Doom for good reason.
Cherry Chapstick by Yo La Tengo
This song makes me want to stare at a floor and headbang in a miraculously non-sweaty crowd in a basement show in Boston in winter.
Airport Antenatal Airplane by King Krule
Krule is one of my kings. This song makes me feel like I’m pissed and flying and it feels punk and powerful and careless and free.
Bada Bing by Dangerdoom
rip rip rip rip. I have trouble explaining why I like specific songs. everyone loves doom for good reason.
Skating in Central Park by Bill Evans and Jim Hall
This song has given me peace since 2015. I put it on often even as the years go by. It’s a tune I know well on piano too. When I put it on, I feel like I’m sitting at a piano facing a wall alone by a large window looking out into a grass field in England, and I feel at peace.
Paisagem Da Janela by Lo Borges
I could listen to Brazilian music forever, this one’s a classic. One day I will get back on my Duolingo Portugese train.
One Step Ahead by Aretha Franklin
What can I say, I listen to hits. I adore Aretha Franklin. Her voice has an unmistakable power and conviction. I believe every word she says.
Lazy Boy by The Voidz
Julian Casablanca’s lyrics are always very round and complete to me. Some of it sounds naive (almost dumb sometimes) but always nonchalant in an effortlessly cool way, and in between, he’ll write phrases that sound like century-old axioms. And I love all of his melodies.
Tired of Love by Scott James
I am a diehard Scott James fan, and I don’t know why not everyone else is. This is one of his newest songs and I didn’t get tired of it after looping it for three days straight. His voice haunts me, and his music is as complex and tragic and as filled with a sense of loss and wonder as Radiohead’s music sounds to me.
Not by Big Thief
Big thief is also royal to me. Everything they write, arrange and perform is so precise, intricate, wise, compassionate, delicate, tragic, and carries the weight and complexity of many lives. I’ve watched every performance of ‘Not’ on Youtube and Adrienne Lenker kills me.
Heavy Focus by Adrienne Lenker
Adrienne Lenker kills me often but also brings me back to life. This song ripped me apart.
Sandy by Alex G
Alex G is a fave. The lyrics of this song make me laugh but his music has a sort of crude naivety that I think translates into loneliness.