As she spreads joy and touches upon the importance of self-love in her new single ‘Just As You Are’, the lively Christina Li proves that her positivity and talent are the right medicine for any bad day.
Belonging to a new and still developing and growing generation of artists that take pride in their DIY style and work ethic, this New York City based singer-songwriter, producer, and arranger radiates a nonchalant and organic energy. With a friendly sound that consists of blending her main inspirations — those being indie-pop, retro pop, american RnB, and k-pop, Christina Li is able to transmit her bubbly, friendly personality in every and each one of her songs and ultimately both her and her music work as uplifting energy that cheers others and brings people together.
As someone who spent the majority of her life living in two homes, one in the United States and the other in Hong Kong, Christina had a growing up experience quite different from most people’s, even when considering how every one’s adolescent stage is unique. Her perspective not only gave her a different and even more diverse outlook on life, it also gifted her with the opportunity of having more enriching experiences that work as inspiration for her music.
With the main theme of her debut EP, Strings, being the highlights of one’s blossoming, she was able to deliver variety in each of the seven tracks. Despite going from love to nostalgia, and from refreshing and energetic pop hits to swooning ballads, the EP was a cohesive piece of art and a charming welcome to Christina’s world.
For Just As You Are, Christina Li joined hands with the talented electronic music producer and bassist from Philadelphia: Elitrax, also known as Jonathan Block. With his new sound being a blend of electronic music with RnB, pop, and neo-soul alongside his desire of creating harmonically and rhythmically complex music, Elitrax is the perfect partner for this project; his sound is a matching fit for Christina’s soothing voice, and together they bring the best out of each other’s strengths.
The collaboration between these two creatives not only sounds promising: it can only be described as beyond expectations. Just As You Are, although initially seeming light on the story telling aspect, is a track that says more beyond the words being sung. While the lyrics and positivity and confidence, the real magic of this song can only be felt when one lets loose and follows the joy found in the Elitrax’s rhythm and the delicacy of Christina’s vocals.
Just As You Are is as inspirational and encouraging for the people who made it as it is for those who will listen to it first thing in the morning, on their way back home in the afternoon, or when spending time with friends. The song is the musical equivalent of sunshine and a sweet breeze that accompanies the light, illuminating everything under it and providing the right amount of heat and love.
On top of the lyrical and musical aspect, there is the visual enhancement found in the official music video, which shows the peace and fun that can be felt when you love yourself and those around you. As Christina sings to the camera and enjoys her time with her friends, strength and conviction feel listeners’ soul, and the catchy, perfect for the summer groove eases them back into a relaxed but empowering state of mind.
Christina confided in Less Than 1,000 Followers and talked about the backstory for the song. The beginning of Just As You Are can be said to be September of 2020, when the singer-songwriter began writing this song in the hopes that it could help her girlfriend see the beauty Christina sees in her every day. She continued by detailing the hardships: “The song was hard to write: for so long I had been stuck in a musical rut, and Just As You Are sat in my voice memos for months on end. It was only when Jon (Elitrax) reached out to me that I finally felt a fire under my feet to create. I sent him the demo of Just As You Are, and inspired by his passion and drive, I finished writing the song, and we moved on from there.”
As for when did Elitrax reach out to the singer? Worry not, for he also commented on his side of the story and what the track means to him. The producer said: “I reached out to Christina Li in November after coming across an Instagram cover video she made. After falling in love with her voice, I decided to DM her on instagram. She responded later that day, and soon after sent me a demo which she had been working on for quite some time. I began the production process in Philadelphia during Fall 2020, not quite sure where to go with it. Once I moved to New York City in January 2021, Christina and I began to take off with the song. After several recording sessions, zoom calls, and lots of production on my end, the song was complete. We capped it off with a photoshoot in Brooklyn, a live session recording in Midtown, and a music video which Christina arranged in June.”
According to Christina, seven months of constant work passed, and after the long wait Just As You Are had transcended its original intention as a love song, now telling a greater narrative that also speaks on self-love and growth. By keeping an open mind and letting their creativity take control, Christina Li and Elitrax succeeded in making a song the perfect neo-soul and pop summer banger.
Fate seems to have united these two solo artists in order to create a piece that speaks on some of life’s most important messages, and it might have played a role in you reading this article and learning about its existence. Whether you’re willing to take the extra step and enjoy the track, that is something only you can decide.
If you enjoyed Christina Li’s music and would like to stay updated, be sure to check out her official website. For social media you can follow her Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tiktok accounts. To listen to her music, you can head over to her Spotify profile, Soundcloud, and Youtube channel, or you can purchase their music at Bandcamp.
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