“No Sleep” by Christina Li

Photo credit: Emily Lord

Christina Li’s newest single is everything you hope for in a love song. The enchanting melody and personal lyrics in “No Sleep” will put you in a dream-like state.

The 20-year-old singer/songwriter is originally from Hong Kong and is now based in New York City. She began releasing music in 2020 and has since released her debut album Strings along with several more recent singles. This year, she performed at Terminal 5 as an opening act for Maude Latour, Sarah Kinsley, AMAARAE and Rick Ross. Although short-lived, her music career is taking off at a fast pace.

Li takes inspiration from Lizzy McAlpine and Eloise, two female artists who are known for their incredible storytelling. “No Sleep” tells the intimate story of a secret relationship between two women in college. Many days and nights were spent behind closed doors of a tiny college dorm room because Li’s girlfriend wasn’t out at the time. She writes, “Looking back, that period was one of anticipation of something new but tinged with frustration. This track grew from these bittersweet feelings.”

It is the first track that feels true to Li’s personal life. It dives into her experience as a queer woman and hopeless romantic. Li wanted the song to be driven by storytelling and created a song that sounds straight out of a fairytale movie. She recorded live instruments, channeling her love for a full band and string quartet. The result is a song that is dynamic and has some beautiful textural builds.

Most importantly, Li emphasizes that “No Sleep” is not just a love song but a gift to those who have felt like they needed to hide whom they love. It has all the makings of the classic romance anthems we admire and know, except this time it embraces queer love. Li writes, “I hope “No Sleep” can strike a chord with any POC, queer youth who have had these specifically challenging coming out stories and show them that it can and does get better.”

Reviewed by Gabriela Huselton





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