CL, leader of K-pop girl group 2NE1, is a singer and rapper from Seoul, Korea with a rich, unique vocal tone and notable lyrical prowess. You may have heard her on Skrillex’s new album, rapping with such charisma and skill she makes the dubstep track “Dirty Vibe” sound fresh. The break out beauty has been seen cheek-to-cheek with fashion giants Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Jeremy Scott—when she isn’t touring across the globe as a pop star, that is. After an unyielding track record of hit singles in Asia, 2NE1 set records on the Billboard 200 for highest-charting and best- selling K-pop album with their sophomore release, Crush. Additionally, their song “I Am the Best” was featured in an ad for Microsoft, a campaign that launched the 3-year-old single into the number one spot on American Billboard’s World Digital Songs chart. The only other South Korean artist to accomplish this is the band’s record label mate PSY of “Gangam Style” fame.
Born Chaelin Lee, CL spent her childhood in France and Japan before returning to her native South Korea to train as a musician under one of the country’s largest talent and record companies, YG Entertainment. She’s proven herself a musical force fronting one of Asia’s most accomplished acts in the business. CL can be seen front row at fashion weeks in New York, Milan, and Paris and, at just 23 years old, has become a brand icon of female empowerment.
Musicians from Europe and Latin America have long held a place in the U.S. mainstream but, aside from a few one-hit wonders, Asian artists have yet to find a permanent spot amidst the canon of American pop culture. As a multilingual recording artist citing musical inspiration from the eclectic foundation of her upbringing, CL has the potential to set a place amongst her peers in the West. On the horizon for the bright star is a crossover onto the North American stage with an English album that will grant accessibility to audiences sheltered from (or unopen to) Korean lyrics. Guiding her to new markets is industry maverick Scooter Braun, manager to a line up of wildly popular top billing artists including Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Ariana Grande. With an already acute understanding of what it takes to be a musical icon, CL’s main priority now is infusing her unique voice and style into the world of Western pop.
To read the full interview check out The WILD Magazine
Interview by: Jerome Ison
Photography by: Stevie Mada
Styling by: Julian Jesus
Article originally from The WILD Magazine