The TikTok sensation breaks down her distinctive sound.
Even if you don’t know Cookiee Kawaii by name, there’s little doubt you’ve heard her sing. With debut track “Vibe (If I Back It Up)” throwing back to carefree summers on the dancefloor, the rapper and singer blew up on TikTok earlier this year, with the single being used by TikTokers nearly two million times and inspiring its own signature dance move.
But behind the viral success, who is Cookiee? Inspired by anime and Japanese culture (if you couldn’t guess by her name) the native of Irvington, NJ has been honing her sound for years, growing up with DJ parents, soaking up the sounds of jazz and Neo-soul playing in her childhood home, and training her vocals in her Catholic school’s choir. Now, she’s become an ambassador for Jersey Club — the energetic, bass-heavy genre which forms the base of “Vibe (If I Back It Up)” and reached the charts with Ciara’s 2018 comeback “Level Up”.
To celebrate the release of her new EP “Club Soda Vol. 2”, we dial up Cookiee to learn more about the Jersey Club pioneers who spearheaded the movement and her memories of infamous Newark party #THREAD.
Jersey Club, according to Cookiee Kawaii:
“Jersey Club is hybrid genre founded by Dj Tameil in 2001 that’s roots can be found in Baltimore Club or even Chicago House Music. My mom is a DJ so I discovered club through my mom having access to some of DJ Tameil’s earlier CDs. Even outside of that, I would hear Jersey Club music at parties or at cookouts — it’s something that I grew up with.
I never thought I could’ve been a Jersey Club vocalist in my earlier years, I didn’t think that my voice would mesh with it until DJ Jayhood suggested that I do a club track with him. The rest was history…”
Cookiee’s Jersey Club Hotspot:
“There’s only one venue that really impacted my relationships in the Jersey club community and that’s #THREAD.
#THREAD is one big party full of tons of dope DJs, producers, dancers…just everyone in the arts scene in Jersey would go there. It would happen in Newark which is always lit with parties and it’s where I got to meet a lot of Jersey Club-heads for the first time. I actually met DJ Sliink for the first time at that party. A lot of the networking that I did at #THREAD helped me establish strong connections with people in the Jersey Club community today.”
Cookiee’s Top Five Jersey Club Tracks:
1. “Heartbroken” by Dj Jayhood
“This is one of my favourite club songs because when It came out it was a song that, immediately when it came on, you would see all the girls run to the dancefloor.”
2. “Love Song” by Rihanna ft. Future (DJ Sliink remix)
“I just love Rihanna, so when Sliink made this remix it was the perfect combination of two of my favourite people.”
3. “Furthest Thing” by Drake (Nadus remix)
“I used to be an exotic dancer, and there were some times where I would dance in New York. The drive to NYC is about an hour coming from Jersey and I would always play this song on my way to the club, almost like a motivational song. It definitely got me in the right mind before I went to work.”
4.”Vibe (If I Back It Up) by Cookiee Kawaii
“This is the song that changed my life. I made vibe with no intention on it going viral or being the song that would have the world singing my lyrics, so I have to add it on the list!”
5. “Motivation” by Kelly Rowland (B Goodie remix)
“This song is honestly just a great motivational song. The original song by Kelly is a hit, but when you listen to this remix it definitely motivates you even more. You can’t play this and not wanna dance.”
Cookiee’s new EP Club Soda Vol. 2 is out now, click here to buy or stream.
28 August 2020