China's Underground Wonder Reveals Her Latest Musical Collaboration
Shanghai’s most feted and original singer premieres her latest track “19” on NOWNESS. After seven years on the scene as a vocalist, songwriter and MC, ChaCha is still experimenting with sound, with a repertoire that bounces from reggae to trip-hop to dub. For this release she teamed up with Along, Guangzhou producer and founder of the hip hop crew Chee Productions, whose Cantonese rap keeps things exotic against ChaCha’s lilting Mandarin, the lyrics looping around the theme of youth. ChaCha is no stranger to collaboration, however, having worked with international notables from Scottish electronic music veteran Kode9 to Jay Soul and Finnish dub DJ Desto, who all helped produce her debut album under the name AM444. Her breakthrough came after becoming the first Chinese mainlander to win a coveted place at the Red Bull Music Academy Sessions in Madrid last year. “When I got back from Spain, I went into the studio for two months solid,” says the Guizhou-raised songstress. “I suddenly felt so much more freedom to make music.” ChaCha—who also goes under the moniker Faded Ghost, a rare female DJ on the Shanghai circuit—is putting her talents into overdrive, working on a solo album. “It’s time for something experimental,” she says of the impulse. Add to that a reggae album for exclusive release in Japan, a small tour and a set of mixtapes, it makes for a packed calendar—with just enough room for ChaCha to share her opinions on music, food and Chinese megastars with us.
Shanghai slick or Beijing gruff?
Reggae dancehall or dubstep?
Late nights or early mornings?
Hot lips or smoky eyes?
Jacky Cheung or Jackie Chan?
Green tea or gin fizz?
Denim or leather?
To the beat or off key?
Brasilia: Oscar Niemeyer's Magnum Opus
Fifty years ago this April, Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, was built from scratch on an empty patch of savannah 500 miles from the coast. The bold, utopian city was envisioned by Rio-born architect Oscar Niemeyer, who has completed over 700 projects in his lifetime and, at 102 years old, continues to work and sketch from his glass penthouse on Copacabana beach. Many of Brasilia's buildings were rendered in concrete, a flexible material that allowed Niemeyer (famously averse to right angles) to create some truly breathtaking, curvaceous shapes, designed to appear as if floating above the ground. The modernist metropolis––now listed as a world UNESCO heritage site––was built in just four years. Niemeyer worked alongside urban planner Lucio Costa, imagining everything from the taxi cabs to the aesthetic of the bus driver’s uniforms. Even the city's shape as viewed from an airplane was taken into consideration—seen from above it resembles a bird spreading its wings across the scorching expanses of the country. These awe-inspiring photographs of the city were taken by Edgar Choueiri, chief scientist and director at Princeton University’s Electric Propulsion and Plasma Dynamics Lab, who was immediately enchanted by Brasilia upon arriving to deliver a talk at its University. Choueiri’s connection to Niemeyer runs deep––he grew up in Tripoli, Lebanon, where Niemeyer’s unfinished structures for the Rachid Karami World Fair have been standing since the 60s. For him, Niemeyer's perfect city represented his childhood dreams of space travel and colonization: "It was almost emotional for me to see his vision in Brasilia. The photographs were a sort of tribute to that connection."
China’s Gothic Pop Star Reveals Her Darkly Romantic New Video
Mixing steely electronic beats with her deep and powerful voice, Chinese chanteuse Laure Shang Wenjie performs a haunting tale of love and war in her new video for Perfect Night, directed by Theo Stanley. Wearing sculptural dresses by local designer Masha Ma, the Shanghai native morphs into an eerie nocturnal creature enveloped in smoke and flames. Shang rose to prominence by winning the third season of China’s television singing contest Super Girls, and last year took Music Radio’s Best Female Singer award to cement her place as China’s pop icon of the moment. Also a fashion muse, Shang has modeled for L’Officiel Hommes, regularly attends couture shows around the world, and works with emerging Chinese designers, such as Central Saint Martins graduate Ma. “The white and black forms worked well for the composite effects, and provided a canvas for the prismatic color projections,” says Stanley of Ma’s creations. “I developed a visual treatment which focused on a combined language of prisms, crystals, smoke and fire elements.” The track is taken from Shang’s forthcoming album Ode to the Doom, on which the 29-year-old explores spirituality, love and death, inspired by goth subcultures and the macabre romance of Alexander McQueen. Here the singer shares her preferences for mohair, Katy Perry and Alexander Wang.
Beijing Fashion Week or Shanghai Film Festival?
Shanghai Film Festival.
Minx or mohair?
Black or White?
Smokey eye or cat eye?
Electro-pop or chanson?
Croissants or Shanghai Dumplings?
Alexander Wang or Limi Feu?
I Kissed a Girl or Blame it on the Girls?
I kissed a Girl.