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Watches & Jewellery

Rising Chinese Rapper Lexie Liu Launches A Jewellery Collaboration

And it's all about her spirit animal, the manta ray.

The manta ray is Lexie Liu’s spirit animal.

If you’ve been following trailblazing Chinese rapper/songwriter Lexie Liu closely, you might have noticed how the Beijing-based 21-year-old has been wearing a manta ray necklace a lot lately. That quirk is not surprising when you consider how the underwater creature is the spirit animal of this bilingual talent, whose genre-bending sound has earned her the moniker “the voice of a Chinese generation”, according to a report in Dazed magazine.

The main trope of her 2019 album Meta Ego – noted for its sleek cyberpunk influences – saw her living in the body of a manta ray while navigating an apocalyptic world. “I saw manta rays for the first time in an aquarium behind those thick glass walls. I was in awe of these exquisite and delicate creatures with a little black tux on,” says Liu, who became a household name in China after her turn as a finalist on The Rap of China competition in 2018. “A manta ray is like an elegant emissary or a rhetoric traveller between the stars and the ocean.”

Yesterday, Liu revealed that the manta ray necklace which she has been wearing a lot of comes from a design tie-up with jewellery collective Collec. The latter was formed earlier this year and works on the concept of artistic collaborations with creatives from the realms of music, cinema, fashion and art.

The collection by Liu – she is Collec’s debut collaborator – comprises four 925 silver designs spanning two necklaces, a bracelet and a pair of earrings. Priced from US$70 (S$95) to US$215 (S$293), the pieces will be retailing at www.jd.com. Collec reveals that rose gold-plated versions are expected to be rolled out later this year.

Here, Liu shares her inspirations and creative process.

On the power of jewellery
“Jewellery is a statement, an attitude, and I want to be able to share my point of view with others in more ways possible, hence this collection. I wouldn’t hop on stage without my jewellery on. It’s not just about the look, but more so about my self-expression as an artist, and the feeling that I am the best version of myself on stage.   Jewellery also inspires my music a lot, especially in my lyrics. When I try to describe the presence of a person in my songs, I tend to use jewellery as sort of a literary device. I can convey a vivid image in just a few words by describing only their jewellery, and that says a lot.” On her affinity with the manta ray
“The manta ray is one of the key symbols of my album Meta Ego. One of the songs in there, ‘Manta’, is about possibility and freedom. The manta ray is also my favourite animal. I love the way it moves underwater: flapping its wide fins up and down (as if they are real wings) in a nonchalant manner silently, different from everything else down there in the ocean.   I saw manta rays for the first time in an aquarium behind those thick glass walls. I was in awe of these exquisite and delicate creatures – the sleek, glossy skin shimmers underwater, looking like an avant-garde black tuxedo with white prints. A manta ray is like an elegant emissary or a rhetoric traveller between the stars and the ocean.”   On her artistic process
“I think my process is quite similar across different forms – whether it is singing, songwriting, and now, jewellery-making. I always create a void – sort of a spiritual space for only myself – like a canvas and just go Pollock with my colours. This ‘space’ is both a way to detach me from all the drama going on in life and serves as an echo room where I can be loud and bold enough for people to hear me.”