Spotlight is a regular series where we feature a prominent person in the creative scene.
Cacien is a 21-year-old musician originally from Shenzhen whose jazzy pop sound and Y2K aesthetics have caught the attention of large music labels. Due to the pandemic, she recently relocated to Shanghai from New York, where she was studying. Since her arrival in the ’Hai, she has been steadily gaining fans after posting covers on Chinese social media. We catch up with the budding artist to see what she’s working on.
How did you get into music?
I first got into music at an early age. In kindergarten, I learned how to play the keyboard, and later on, I joined the school choir and started singing. Then, in middle school, I began to cover different pop songs. I’ve produced about 10 cover videos and have posted them on various platforms like Youku and Tencent Video.
What is the meaning behind your name? Is it your actual name or stage name?
I love it when people ask me about this – my full name in Mandarin is Chen Sixian; in Cantonese it’s Can Xihan. But when transliterated, it sounds like ‘Cacien.’ So, it is my stage name and actual name expressed in a different form.
How would you describe your sound?
Cute, comfy, charismatic and sexy.
Congrats on recently dropping ‘辣辣辣Spiiicy’ Could you tell us more about the inspiration for the song, or the meaning behind it?
The inspiration for the song is pretty random. One day I was talking to my girlfriend about songwriting. She said, “Why don’t you write about something else rather than romantic relationships?” I thought about it and came up with spicy food because it has always been my can’t-live-without food. That’s how ‘Spiiicy’ was born. Spicy food has been my favorite since I was little. As I grew up, I began to identify myself as a ‘spicy girl,’ and after studying abroad, I felt happy and grateful whenever I met people who also loved spicy food. For me, the definition of a spicy girl is someone who is confident, unique, fearless and sanguine. Rather than seeing spicy as an adjective, it is more of an attitude. That’s the more important message I’d like to deliver through ‘Spiiicy,’ besides my love for spicy food: Anyone with a ‘spicy’ attitude can be a spicy girl.
Who is the ‘spiciest’ girl you know?
The spiciest girl I know is my mom. She encourages me in anything that I’d like to achieve. She is also a very confident, strong woman who has always inspired me. She totally has that spicy attitude.
Who inspired your musical style, and who is your favorite musician?
My musical style transitions from C-pop to indie pop. Recently, I have had a huge crush on Doja Cat not because of her hit songs but because of her voice and her spicy attitude. I also love Rei Ami, Mavis Fan, 9m88 and Leo王.
Where are most of your fans based?
Most of my fans are based in China because I’ve been on Douyin posting my covers.
Have you ever thought about joining competition shows like Produce 101 创造营 or Youth With You 青春有你?
I have thought about joining competition shows for solo artists but not for girl groups. I can barely imagine myself in a girl group. I wouldn’t be able to sing the whole song, and I’d have to be on a stage with several other girls… I prefer being on a stage by myself.
We heard you recently signed with a prominent label. What can we expect in the future?
Yes I have! Stay tuned; an album is on the way.
Search ‘卡西恩Cacien’ on Chinese music platforms and ‘Cacien’ on Spotify or YouTube to hear her music.