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SPELLILNG's 'Cherry' Transcends the Boundaries of Traditional Indie Music

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

SPELLILNG is the moniker of experimental artist and visionary Chrystia Cabral, whose ethereal music transcends categorization. Originating from San Francisco Bay Area, SPELLILNG has captivated audiences with her unique blend of electronic pop, soulful melodies, and mystical themes.

Born and raised in a musical household, SPELLILNG's journey into the world of music began at an early age. Drawing inspiration from a diverse range of genres, from classical and jazz to R&B and psychedelic rock, she developed a deep appreciation for the power of sound and its ability to evoke emotions and transport listeners to ethereal realms. With each song she invite listeners into her world, where dreams meet reality and imagination intertwine with truth.

In 2017, Spellling released her debut full-length album, "Pantheon of Me," which gained critical acclaim for its genre-bending sound and spellbinding storytelling. The album showcased her ability to blend different elements of electronic music, soul, and folk, creating a sound that is both familiar and comforting yet still otherworldly. Following the success of her debut, Spellling continued to push boundaries with her sophomore album, "Mazy Fly," released in 2019. This peice delved deeper into her exploration of sound, incorporating elements of synth-pop, dream-pop, and experimental electronics. With "Mazy Fly," SPELLILNG solidified her place as an innovative artist unafraid to challenge conventions and carve her own path.

Beyond her enthralling music, SPELLILNG's live performances are an experience within itself. With her enchanting stage presence and mesmerizing visuals, she creates an immersive experience that takes audiences to a realm where reality and fantasy collide. SPELLLING continues to set the standard for artistic innovation as she utilizes her deep insight of self and the world to push the boundaries of what music can be. SPELLLING is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, transformation.

The title, SPELLLING & the Mystery School, was born out of a suggestion from her father, who told Cabral of his fascination with early Christian mythics, or spiritual practitioners who led schools to impart their ideas about God and the nature of life. It also ties into Cabral’s former profession as an elementary school art teacher, who found joy in helping unlock the imagination of her students. “When I was with the kids, we were making art, sharing information, and creating these hypothetical worlds,” she explains, revealing her own ethos in creating music and performing as SPELLLING. “We’re just jumping into these realms where there are no real rules.”

Throughout SPELLLING & the Mystery School, Cabral’s hypnotizing voice is enveloped in a newly fleshed-out sonic universe of dreamy strings (Del Sol Quartet and Divya Farias), haunting piano (Jaren Feeley), driving trip-hop percussion (Patrick Shelley) bass (Giulio XavierCetto), shredding electric guitar (Wyatt Overson), and drama-intensifying background vocals (Toya Willock and Dharma Moon-Hunter). These brilliant studio recordings are equal parts punky and fastidious, as Cabral wanted to emphasize rich and earthy natural sounds emitting from each player and their instrument. The textural quality of these tracks, mixed with the futuristic underpinnings of her lyrics and the darkly whimsical nature of her songs, create a completely new immersive listening experience.

SPELLLING & the Mystery School also demonstrates the chemistry between Cabral and her band that they’ve been building since playing shows behind The Turning Wheel. It’s an accumulation of all the times the group has performed the songs live, paying close attention to the crowd’s reactions. “We’ve picked up little nuances from feeding back and riffing off the audience,” Cabral explains. “Understanding what excites them and/or what makes people wanna dance more — we just become aware of those little things and make slight adjustments.”

Overall, SPELLLING & the Mystery School encapsulates the transformative SPELLLING live experience through which Cabral, with her idiosyncratic stage presence, conjures up a spiritual sense of communion and vulnerability among her audience. “I want people to feel like there's alchemy happening and to be aware of the magical parts of sound,” she explains. “Like, this really did come out of thin air.”

"Cherry" is a testament to SPELLILNG's artistry and her ability to create music that is both otherworldly in essence and deeply reflective. With its captivating soundscapes and meticulous production, the song is a sonic journey that allows us to reconnect with ourselves. SPELLILNG's displays such a deep sense of mastery through her art. Her music embodies not just her thoughts but her soul. SPELLILNG's true self shines through in every element of "Cherry," making it a song that demands to be heard.

"Cherry" presents a lyrical narrative that is as reflective as it is deeply poetic. The lyrics explore the themes of longing and emotional vulnerability, offering a deeply personal exploration of the human experience. SPELLILNG crafts distinctive imagery that allows the listener to fully immerse themselves into the world she’s crafted. The lyrics "I'm swimming in a sea of my own tears" and "My heart is aching, it's breaking, it's aching" evoke a sense of vulnerability, while also masterfully curating a visual that pulls the listener into the world of Spellling. The lyrics of "Cherry" are captivating in their ability to convey the nuances of the human experience.

SPELLILNG's vocals are chilling and enchanting, as if to craft the feeling of being haunted by the past. The contrast of her airy voice with the heaviness of the lyrics creates a powerful dynamic that draws the listener in. It's a manifestation of the inconsistencies of the human experience and reflects the idea that the truth is complex and oftentimes contradictory to the way we believe people are supposed to be.

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