LIE NING has quickly risen in the German music scene as an artist devoted to exploring the realm of the human experience, all with a sound that shifts between R&B and contemporary pop with an airy, almost nostalgic feel to it. And now they are being celebrated as the newest Spotify GLOW artist.
Spotify GLOW is our global music program through our Creator Equity Fund celebrating and amplifying LGBTQIA+ artists and creators. Our goal is to support people of this historically marginalized community of voices and reassert our commitment to equity in audio, ensuring that queer creators—and their contributions to music and culture—are heard and honored year-round.
Growing up in an artistic commune in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood in Berlin with 25 other people, LIE NING was exposed to languages, performers, dancers, and perspectives that instilled in them a passion for communication through creativity. Their sultry voice and keen storytelling emerged as a way to further express their experiences. Their debut EP, traffic songs for the inbetweens, became a critical hit. And their first full-length album from this year, Utopia, which includes tracks such as “beautiful,” “i see you,” and “offline,” introduced listeners to the feelings of euphoria, hope, and radical love that has become a common theme in LIE NING’s work.
LIE NING’s latest EP, sweatshop, continues the journey of expression with a more carnal, aggressive, and sensual feel, delving into their experiences as a queer Black person.
For the Record sat down with LIE NING to talk about their new EP, the importance of art, and what makes them GLOW.
What was your initial reaction to being named a Spotify GLOW artist?
I’m honestly just so happy. To have this platform that combines both my passions, my art and my representation as a member of the queer community, is just beautiful.
What do you hope people take away from your music?
I think—especially right now with everything going on inside and outside of the music industry—the world is very loud, very demanding, and very fast. So I’m always longing for this space of calm and rest. I want my audience to come to my shows knowing that they’ll be able to experience the emotions that will set them free and that they’ll be in a safe space where we all look out for each other.
Also, sweatshop, my newest EP, is about my experience as a queer Black person. And honestly, a lot of it was really hard to write about because as a Black person I’ve been sexualized and fetishized from very early on in my life. I’ve had terrible experiences, but putting them into my music was very therapeutic and I hope that maybe someone will get some of that emotion through listening to it.
Who are some queer artists or cultural icons who have inspired you?
I am obsessed with ANOHNI. They have such a warming tone in their voice and in the way they express hurt and pain. It never felt like they were giving up, and it always feels quite hopeful and melancholic. I found a lot of inspiration in their performance.
And then obviously there’s so many performers in the Berlin queer scene. It can be quite a wild scene, but it’s very accepting and beautiful.
How do music and art empower the queer community?
I think trauma in general is something that is impossible to grasp and impossible to share because it’s so personal and so subjective. By being a member of the queer community and the Black community, I find that there’s this sense of collective trauma that we all share because we’ve been through similar experiences. So, what art can do, which I think is so special and should never be underestimated, is hold this very complex, abstract, and complicated world of past and present emotional experiences and allow others to experience it on a level they understand.
When we talk about the queer community, for example, a lot of artists in the ’80s were suffering and dying from HIV and AIDS. A lot of them started drawing nature and found quite beautiful elements within their art because there was so much hope. Despite all the hurt and pain, there’s this power that art has to make people still believe and be faithful.
What makes you GLOW?
The core of what life is makes me GLOW. I’m very glad that I’m alive because I get to experience nature and I get to feel human touch and human connection and I get to experience so many moments. It’s just incredible.
Listen to LIE NING’s latest EP, sweatshop, now.