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5 Facts, 5 Tracks: Chenai


Chenai is a London based vocalist, songwriter and producer. Over the last few years, she has collaborated with and written for the likes of Hurts, Tensnake and Gorgon City. She has toured relentlessly and performed at some of the world’s biggest music festival, including Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival, Benicassim, V-fest, Glastonbury, Tomorrowland and Parklife.

Chenai features on Mark Knight’s forthcoming single ‘Tonight’ alongside US veteran Mr. V. This record continues Mark Knight‘s recent foray into more vocally-focussed records.

We thought we’d find out a little bit more about Chenai so read on to learn some interesting facts about her and which records have influenced her music career.

5 Facts

I studied Law and planned on being a barrister, before I realised that music was my path and quit.

I’ve got double jointed fingers, it’s so weird, I can move them like spiders legs.

At primary school I stopped doing ballet to play rugby instead. I loved it, and played centre on the school team for about a year when I was 12.

A couple of years ago, I started to design stage outfits with a friend in fashion because I couldn’t find things I actually liked, and we’re now working on a womenswear collection together.

I was on a train once and, out of the blue, Mark Ronson called my actual phone and asked if I was free to do some work with him, I said that maybe I could squeeze him in (I actually said yes, yes, yes) but he never followed up, and I never heard from him again…

5 Tracks

The Brothers Johnson – Stomp!

This song never ever fails to make me feel good and want to move. There are so many instruments, but everything is perfectly placed so it doesn’t feel busy at all. Especially love the percussion and placement of the vocals on this tune.

Tensnake – Desire

I really enjoy the simplicity in this, the build-up. It’s so satisfying when that bassline drops at 2.10. Falling in love with this track lead me to become friends and working with Tensnake.

Octave One – Black Water feat. Ann Sanderson (Full Strings Vocal Mix)

I love music that stirs an emotion and this version is absolutely beautiful, It’s one of those tunes you can just go on a journey with, and escape into. Massive Ibiza nostalgia, can’t wait to be back there.

Quentin Harris ft Margaret Grace – My Joy

The intention in the vocal and the lyrics makes this a really empowering break-up tune, nice catchy synth pluck throughout. Feels really authentic.

Nina Simone – Baltimore

One of the most important storytellers of all time. Nina was a highly skilled classical pianist, a child prodigy in the 40/50’s, but the industry didn’t want black people at the forefront of classical music, so they told her to sing instead. This song talks about difficult times in the USA and is still so relevant today.

Mark Knight Feat. Chenai and Mr. V ‘Tonight’ drops on Toolroom Records on 17th July, you can get it here