Feature · arts
Why CL won't stop until she's conquered America
Lee Chae-rin, also known as CL, has a global following of millions. Here, she talks about identity, cultural appropriation and her fight to break America.
This documentary was commissioned by CNN Style and directed by award-winning filmmaker Dave Meyers
. It was originally published in November 2016.
Her videos on YouTube are viewed by millions, American fashion designers Alexander Wang and Jeremy Scott regard her as their friend and muse, and Method Man features in her latest music video "LIFTED."
"I go around the world, I've seen her fans in Chile, in Brazil, obviously all through Europe. I mean she's not just a Korean or an Asian phenomenon, she really is a global superstar," Jeremy Scott tells CNN Style backstage at New York Fashion Week.
You may be forgiven for not yet knowing who CL, or Lee Chae-rin, is, but if she has her way, she'll soon be a mega-star.
Can Korean superstar CL break America?
A K-pop poster girl, CL fronted the all-girl group 2NE1, whose 2014 album "Crush" became the best-selling and highest-charting Korean album in US Billboard 200
history. In the year prior to the band's US Billboard success, CL had already released her first solo track "The Baddest Female."
She announced her intentions to formally debut as a solo artist in the US in 2014, and partnered with American music agent Scooter Braun
, who has represented Usher and Ariana Grande, among others.
Like many young stars, CL's experience has not been without a few knocks.
"These days, I mean my fans are internet kids. So they're everywhere ... I'm happy you know, if I can inspire them, or even if they hate me."
"It takes so much more effort and energy to hate something or someone or anything so, I appreciate the hate!" she says.
But the 25-year-old is determined to see her music resonate with an American audience.
"I feel like I put so much energy and time into it that I, I'm going to, I have to do it. I think it's also about how you do it and what the message is and who I represent and who I am. So I want to do it right, and that's why it's taking so long."