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Christinna O: “Lay It Down”

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A rare queer voice in R&B, 19-year-old Philly-based Christinna O is also a rising spoken-word poet who’s competed in the NAACP’s national slam poetry competition and leads Temple University’s poetry collective Babel, a tight-knit group of poets, rappers and musicians at the school where she’s a sophomore. She found her way to music and poetry in her early teens while being homeschooled in Miami to avoid bullying she’d faced in school: in her parents’ hallway, she figured out Pro Tools, pulling beats from YouTube, making melodies on her dad’s Yamaha keyboard, and topping it with her self-produced and self-engineered vocals. She developed a small but devoted following on Soundcloud with her self-released mixtape “The Violet Tape” (made at age 14), EP “Abide” (released as a senior in high school), and standout single “Milk Carton.” Her inventive, thoughtful melding of R&B and poetry found its way to a few music industry tastemaker ears, leading her to connect with Rogét Chahayed (“Sicko Mode,” “Sky Walker,” “Broccoli”) and Wes Singerman (Rich Brian, Tyus, L Devine) who produced her debut single “Shelter.”

Christinna’s poetry background helps her dive deeper when it comes to lyricism. “Shelter” is a study of the complicated pain of a passion of love being taken for granted, pulling together influences from contemporary artists like Frank Ocean and singers her parents introduced her to like Aaliyah. “This last time last year, I was writing/conceptualizing this song in my grandmother’s bathroom,” Christinna says. “I was having more than one account where something or someone was making my love feel small in the world.”

Today Christinna shares “Lay It Down,” the second look into her upcoming debut EP “Girl In Passing.” “This song is about intimacy. It’s a choice and a permission, to let someone else know that they are welcome and they are the one I’m ready to lay down my burdens with. To feel valid in my vulnerability but ultimately, love.”

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october 2020

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