Staff Pick: Cleveland singer Lorine Chia makes a name for herself, with an accidental assist from Kanye West

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From the November 21, 2013 edition

Earlier this year, Cameroon-born, Cleveland-based singer Lorine Chia got a nice career boost when it was (wrongly) reported she contributed vocals to Kanye West’s Nina Simone-sampling track “Blood on the Leaves.” It’s an easy mistake to make; the singer has a smoky, sultry voice eerily reminiscent of Simone and her ilk.

Rather than living in the past, however, recording crackling tunes engineered to spin on 78 rpm vinyl, Chia has embraced a more modern take on that classic soul sound. Her latest release Naked Truths (which is billed as an EP even though at 14 tracks it’s longer than most albums) sounds damned near futuristic, incorporating elements of harder-edged R&B and hip-hop. The hip-hop community has likewise returned the love, and Chia has already recorded tracks alongside rising Chicago MC Chance the Rapper (the organ-laced “Living In Vain”) and fellow Clevelander Machine Gun Kelly. It’s advised you catch the singer now before Kanye really does come calling.

Photo courtesy of Lorine Chia