FIESTAR didn’t receive much recognition from K-Pop fans until rapper Yezi and variety star Cau Lu became popular, so a lot of people don't know that the group used to have a member named Cheska.
The Asian-American quit FIESTAR in 2014, citing, like most U.S.-born K-Pop stars, the pressures and conformity of idol life as the reason for her departure.
The 25-year-old vanished from the industry for a few years, but has now reemerged as a solo artist under indie label Grand Line Entertainment. The former idol has reinvented herself as a sexy hip-hop vixen, first with the sensual “Swish” and now with her first official solo single, “Faded.”
The profanity-laden track gets in on the woozy, experimental R&B sound that's popular in both America and the indie Korean urban scene. Cheska half raps, half moans her lyrics, while guest feature Ja Mezz jumps in with a few auto-tuned bars sporadically. My favourite part is the final minute, where a distorted accordion aimlessly wails over quaking bass and monstrous trap vocals.
It's not the most original sound at this point (Livii and KittiB are just two of the many other stars to dabble in the genre), but Cheska’s small discography is still worth checking out. And there's always more room in the Korean scene for female artists that want to make music outside of the usual ballads and acoustic coffee shop pop.
Of course, “Faded” won't be for everybody's tastes, which Cheska herself acknowledged in a lengthy Instagram post aimed at her critics.
“For those who don't like it, don't listen to it. It's that simple,” she wrote.
She continued: “People all have a different taste in music. It's okay if you don't like it. This song is for the people who like this kind of style. It is not for everyone to like.”
“Faded” is currently available for purchase or streaming on iTunes and Apple Music.
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