Christina Li has one of those voices that will put you immediately at ease. From her intricately woven melodies to the stunning instrumental arrangement, every last detail is intentional and lovely.
At just 20 years old it is impressive to see an artist with such a clear vision for themselves sonically. On the flip side, the youthful narrative that Christina can bring to her songs only adds to the ethereal, serene, and optimistic tone of her storytelling. Infusing indie and pop with the details and flair or jazz, soul, kpop, and even mystical theatre - Christina brings a new depth and attention to detail to a pop love song.
No Sleep reflects on college romance. The whole track feels dipped in golden hour warmth. Christina perfectly captures those innocent and loving moments of parting with your partner as the morning begins. The song starts simple with just a guitar and vocal, as intimate as the environment in which the song was written. When verse 2 rolls around, the story shifts her relationship in the outside world, and the angst and emotional turmoil which comes with it. Each moment in this song takes the listener on a journey into this relationship and shines a light on queer love and the layers of complexity that interfere with its beauty and wholesomeness.
About No Sleep:
No Sleep tells a dreamy, innocent love story of a secret relationship. When my girlfriend and I first started talking, she wasn’t out, so we spent a lot of our early days behind closed doors, at night in my tiny college dorm room. Looking back, that period was one of excitement and anticipation of something new, but tinged with frustration and longing. This track grew from these bittersweet feelings. I wrote the song drifting in and out of sleep, and I hope that “No Sleep” will also immerse you in a dream-like haze and leave you floating.
I’d say that this is the first track to truly feel like ‘me’ in a long time.
My first ever project was a self-written and produced EP that I released my senior year in high school. At this time, I was still grasping the ins and outs of creating music, learning how to be vulnerable in songwriting and strategic in production. I look back on these seven songs with a fondness but with clarity on how much I’ve grown musically, lyrically, and artistically since then.
I released my two most recent singles during a similar period of growth, as I started college and met many new friends and collaborators. But swept up in school, work, and drastic life changes, I leaned on musical collaborations and felt my musical vision drifting slightly out of view.
No Sleep” is a big milestone for me musically: I feel as if I’ve truly discovered my sound. Lyrically, it speaks to a very personal, vulnerable, and important story of my identity as a queer woman and romantic. Sonically, I’ve recorded live instruments, channeling my love for the sound of a full band and a string quartet. The song is driven by storytelling, full with dynamic and textural builds. I’m excited to move forward with this sound, pulling influences from pop, indie-pop, as well as jazz, soul, kpop, and even musical theatre.
I want “No Sleep” to resonate with those that have had a similar experience or story: those in love/relationships, but specifically anyone who’s ever been in a secret relationship. The song is for anyone who’s ever felt like they had to hide who they love because of external pressures from family, culture, religion... I hope that this song can strike a chord with any queer POC who have had a specific coming out experience, made difficult because of these family and cultural expectations. (My girlfriend is Catholic and Middle-Eastern, so this experience is very real
Christina Li is a 20 year old singer-songwriter-producer, originally from Hong Kong and now based in New York City. Christina finds her sound in the energy of a retro-pop band, the intimacy of indie-pop lyricism, and the harmonic complexities of k-pop and r&b; she cites influences from Lake Street Dive, Lizzy McAlpine, Eloise, and Red Velvet.
Christina began her career with the self-written, self-produced debut “Strings EP”, a seven song storybook that marked years of self-exploration. Christina’s second release, “Just As You Are”, with EDM producer Elitrax, amassed thousands of views, followers, and streams. “Residue” is Christina’s most recent single, co-written and produced with Thai artist Teddy Sun, and the pop anthem speaks to Christina’s knack for writing unshakeable melodies.
Christina recently performed at Terminal 5 (3,000 capacity venue), opening for Maude Latour, Sarah Kinsley, AMAARAE, and Rick Ross.
Writing with an Asian-American and queer lens, Christina instills a duality into her music, seeking to uplift spirits, while giving voice to an often silent community and shed light on unspoken truths.
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Review by Hannah Scheider