While the expansion of the universe continues to be a ‘looming crisis in cosmology’ according to Michael Greshko’s article at National Geography. So is the state of the live music scene when we all went into some kind of lockdowns two years ago. But not everything is as it seems today post pandemic. Stories we’ve received here at the letters department are overwhelming and not any less hopeful because here is a brand new music label dedicated to the creativity of its youths. They champion artistic endeavors to promote peace in a chaotic world and from just keeping studious vibes, all will be good again, eventually.
Lofi Girl, formerly ChilledCow, is already a household name termed within the genre of relaxation and concentration music ever since 2017. It changed its name to its present eponym at a rather appropriate time in the pandemic in March last year.
This French YouTube channel is also a music label in its own rights. But what got everyone tuned in has to be its lo-fi hip hop music playing twenty-four-seven. Accompanying its music is a Japanese, or accurately said, a Miyazaki-inspired animation; of a girl studying at his window-side table with a frontal view of the sky and its cityscape.
Livestreaming numbers who viewed Lofi Girl has grown ever since it began. But never has it increased so rapidly during the pandemic and quarantine times. It provided an unwavering quietness that became its very DNA of success. Its all-day-long radio eventually won allegiance of a young following; a gathering where they could support each other. Praises continue to pour in like a swift waterfall. Like gushes of positive and encouraging aeons by providing an enduring image of consistent calm night or day.
Music Press Asia’s editor-in-chief Monica Tong applauded the consistency of its music wavelengths, saying “Lofi Girl is a role model of the post-pandemic era, at a moment of time when social distancing will be forever etched into our livelihoods.
Fareid El Gafy from Washington Square News praised the live stream about studying, saying “Thanks to this playlist, I’ve cranked out a multitude of essays, study sessions, scripts and rough cuts to the tune of pop culture samples, muted snares and artificial record scratches.”
The live stream also made it to Cassidy Quinn of KGW’s Top 10 live channels to watch on YouTube while social distancing, under the non-news category. It describes the songs precisely as “… a constant stream of low-key music you play in the background while you get work done, do chores, whatever you’re doing at home right now.”
In 2021, The A.V. Club claimed that lo-fi beats to relax and study “turns the average person into a superhuman academic whose powers of concentration are rivaled only by headphone-wearing cartoon girls sitting at their desks during rainy days.”
“Never have I been more relaxed and calm at work. I’ve approved, written, and published a huge amount of essays, press releases, news articles and met monstrous deadlines all the while listening to Lofi Girl. I could even listen to more music than I’d ever had over the course working at Music Press Asia.” — Monica Tong, Editor-in-chief of Music Press Asia
But you see Lofi Girl didn’t have such a great rapport in the beginning. When Dimitri (ChilldCow) began streaming lo-fi hip hop music in 2017, it also featured Shizuku Tsukishima, a Studio Ghibli animated character from the film Whisper of the Heart (1995). And when nature runs its course, the channel soon ran into copyright violations. When the popularity of the streams ultimately soared and led to the channel being taken down for copyright violations, Dimitri resolved to keep the Ghibli-esque aesthetics. Calling for artist’s intervention for an original character.
A student of the Émile-Cohl design school, Juan Pablo Machado originally from Colombia, responded to this very call for tenders during his last year of his Master’s degree.
ChilledCow’s requirement was simple. That the artist would create an image of Miyazaki-inspired visuals and yet an original design of a student busy revising for her classes. The background was originally plain black in order to save animation time, but Machado eventually decided to place La Croix-Rousse in the window instead.
On 18 March 2021, six years after the creation of the channel, it was announced its rebrand from ChilledCow to Lofi Girl. The YouTube community posts explained how Lofi Girl had become the icon of the channel, and that it would fit as the new channel name.
In the popular culture arena, the character quickly became a sensation. Lofi Girl’s popularity became synonymous with the increasing acclaim of a developing virtual, metaverse world.
Referenced on internet memes, she was also depicted on Steven Universe Future. Of a girl with the name Connie similarly framed studying in the same pose and environment. In late 2020, a trend started on Reddit when Lofi Girl would be recreated to contextually match to a certain country, place, and seasons in a year.
“This was a very tough decision to make, but the driving force behind it is the fact that ChilledCow’s name was chosen many years ago, and is no longer reflective of what the channel is about anymore,” Lofi Girl said in a statement on Twitter.
“Don’t worry, this change won’t affect in any way the content on the channel but will instead pave the way for many exciting projects for you all in the future! The channel has been and always will be about music, art, and positivity only.”
Lofi Girl premiered its Best of lofi hip hop 2021 on New Year’s Day (1 Jan 2022), said to have been ‘cherry-picked’ tracks from releases in 2021. Click below to listen.
Today, ChilledCow’s music label – Lofi Records – continues to empower creative releasing some of the trendiest relaxation music of our era. Further listening recommendations include Amidst The Seven Seas by Charlee Nguyen x Mondo Loops and Blue Wednesday’s stunning images by In My Head. Highlighting also Elijah Lee, a promising lad whose music career began in classical music. Originally from South Korea, Lee now lives in New Zealand. He has released Escapade and Vanishing Journey with ChilledCow. Additionally, their merchandises are products of comfort, creativity.
For some artistic fun, you can now customise your very own lofi avatar, with the brand new lofi generator available on their official website.
For these very few adequate reasons alone, Lofi Girl is Music Press Asia’s January Playlist of the Month.