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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

When you think of the Toronto music scene, your mind might go straight to Drake or The Weeknd. I can’t blame you for that because those two have become the pillars of Toronto artists’ success. However, there’s one artist who has been making moves recently, and her name is Chxrry22.

Lydia Habtemariam, professionally known as Chxrry22 (pronounced “Cherry 22”), is an R&B artist hailing from Scarborough, Ont. to Ethiopian immigrants. She started to release music online in 2017 after a friend suggested she try it. Once she started gaining an audience online, she moved to Atlanta to pursue her music career. 

The rest was history, as she was the first-ever woman to get signed by the record label XO Records in 2022, founded by fellow Torontonian and artist The Weeknd. 

Chxrry22 has released two projects under the label: The Other Side, which came out in 2022 and Siren, which came out in 2023. Both projects contain seven songs with similar vibes — a girl who isn’t afraid to embrace her sexual appeal and confidence.

In her debut EP, The Other Side, a storytelling theme throughout the album shines on her personal experiences with relationships, cheating, and finding herself. My favourites from the album are “Call Me,” “The Other Side,” and “Wasteland.”

In “The Other Side,” she opens the album with her experience with a toxic ex. She continues that no matter who was in the wrong, he now has to see her succeed while hating and praying for her downfall.

In “Call Me,” she talks about her experiences with a sneaky link and that she’s not looking for anything more than a one-night stand.

The song “Wasteland” is an ode to the girlies, singing that a guy is a “f*cking wasteman in a city full of wastemans” (which I’m sure a lot of girls can agree with).

Siren just came out in October and has personally been on repeat for me. This album steers away from storytelling, but many of the songs echo the same themes her first album did. This album is more upbeat than The Other Side’s eerie and hallowing beats, but it shows she’s not afraid to experiment with different rhythms and sounds. 

My favourite songs on this project are “Ride 4 Me,” “Never Had This (feat. Vory),” and “Favorite Girl (feat. Offset).”

The song “Ride 4 Me” opens the album with its upbeat vibes as it talks about the relationship between her and the guy to see if he’s willing to ride for her like she’s willing to ride for him, despite the obstacles they face.

“Never Had This (feat. Vory)” returns to the eerie melodies of her first album as she sings about how a guy hasn’t had anything as good as her. At the same time, Vory talks about the toxic energy the girl has given him throughout their relationship.

“Favourite Girl (feat. Offset)” is a song you can dance and vibe to with your girls. The song talks about what the title says — she is the guy’s favourite girl from every other girl in the room. 

Chxrry22’s career has just started, and she’s working hard to produce more music while getting her name out there in the Toronto music scene and the music industry. She’s showing that her musical abilities, from her lyrics to her melodies, showcase the feeling her songs produce. Though she’s new to the music industry, she’s showing the world that she’s just getting started. 

Bana Yirgalem

Toronto MU '24

Bana Yirgalem is currently studying towards a major in journalism as well as a minor in PR. She's obsessed with everything basketball, pop culture, music, entertainment, and fashion. Her main goal is to inspire young Black girls and give them the opportunity to see more representation of themselves in the media. Follow her on IG and X @banayirgalem for more content