What do you do when you feel like you or your loved ones aren’t being properly represented? Well, for rising Grammy nominated artist CHIKA, the answer is to stop looking for it elsewhere, and create it instead. Delving into love, life and societal perceptions, CHIKA takes charge of the narrative and creates something beautiful and new with her lively and well written EP, ‘Once Upon A Time.’
Opening with “Fairy Tales,” an epic ode to all of the people she’s grown up with and loved, CHIKA spins more realistic fables of her own experiences and life, lifting up the familiar faces and customs while adorning them in love and support. Then, she distinguishes herself and her thoughts on love and relationships, reworking classic fairy tale figures to describe the people she’s interested in and how they make her feel.
From present day references to wanting to stay true to the game like Biggie and Pac, CHIKA finds a rhythm that is uniquely her own. She reflects on her own journey to be the hero in her own life with songs such as “Hickory Dickory” and has fun playing with form.
Ending with the powerful single “SAVE YOU,” CHIKA delves some blunt honesty to the world, even directing this critique on herself, noting her tendency to “bring up old shit.”
She points out frustrations as well as the things she’s grateful for, but doesn’t try to break down what’s already there so she can be heard; she just works harder to find a space to deliver her message to the ones she knows needs it most. Playful, yet profound, CHIKA’s ‘Once Upon A Time’ is a looking glass where people can celebrate each other, but also see themselves more clearly and honestly.
Words: Patti Sanchez