Five Minutes With: Montréal Alt RnB Artist Hua Li

Hua Li has often worked the fruitful tension between opposing forces, whether being mixed-race, bisexual, or overtly political and softly vulnerable. Now the “half-Chinese, half-militant, half-rapper of your heart” is back with ripe fruit falls but not in your mouth, her most ambitious and personal record to date. Playing between hazy R&B, hip-hop, jazz and electronic, Hua Li’s sophomore LP takes the imaginary garden as a proxy for cultivating home. With complex vocal arrangements, lush production by Alex Thibault (aka Gloze), and big, vibrant mixing by TNGHT’s Lunice, ripe fruit is a private confessional on a loud-ass record.

Following 2019’s Dynasty and 2020’s critically acclaimed Yellow Crane EP, ripe fruit is characteristically libertine. Textured and sensual, the Montreal multi-hyphenate balances her rich, waveforming tone with danceable, electronic signatures. The rapper is fierce and frequently funny, erupting from gauzy runs to deliver a quick uppercut that stings. With hooky, addictive features by Ambrose Getz and Darkus Millon, Ripe Fruit is an intimate record of healing, with Montreal’s nightlife at its heart.

An artful collaborator, Hua Li co-wrote and performed on Gayance’s 2023 Polaris short-listed album, Masquerade, and is the touring DJ for Inuk electro-pop throat singer, Riit. Her charismatic stage show has taken her around the world, including tours with Cadence Weapon and Fat Tony (serving as the former’s touring DJ), to Reykjavik’s Secret Solstice Festival, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, and Pride Toronto.

Luminous and compelling, Hua Li shows it takes tenderness to let things ripen, and guts to let things die. In-between is a kind of rapture that begs to be savoured.

Hua Li


Hua Li 化力


Alt rnb/hip hop



# of Albums:

Soon to be 2 LPs, 2 EPs and a mixtape

Latest Album:

Yellow Crane EP

Latest Single:

Part Time Muses

Latest Video:

Favourite musician growing up:

Erykah Badu

Favourite musician now:

So hard to choose! Bilal, Little Dragon, Bjork…

Guilty pleasure song:

I’m Like a Bird

Live show ritual:

I take time to warm up my voice thoroughly backstage. I don’t drink until I perform, but I’ll take a tequila soda on stage with me.

Favourite local musician:

Impossible to answer for Montreal is full of talented musicians… but highlights include Gayance, Lunice, Shash’U, Ada Lea, Thanya Iyer, Backxwash, Fraud Perry…. the list goes on!

EP or LP?

LP – I like a long story

Early bird or night owl?

Night owl

Road or studio?

Life is incomplete without both!

Any shows or albums coming up?

My sophomore LP Ripe Fruit Falls but not in your mouth came out March 27! I’ll be hitting the road opening for Land of Talk as of April 4 all over Eastern Canada and the US – if you’re in Montreal don’t miss the special after-party I’ll be having on April 5 at Le Systeme!

Where can we follow you?

Instagram | TikTok | Youtube


Rapid Fire Local Questions:

What is your favourite local restaurant?

Fleurs et Cadeaux/Sans Soleil. A winning combo of the best food, delightful cocktails and hi-fi vinyl room in the city.

What is your favourite street in your city and why?

I’m a big fan of Plaza St. Hubert – you can get anything you need there and you can also get all sorts of things you don’t need, like a car-shaped bong or a prom dress or a full set of knight’s armour.

What is your favourite park in your city and why?

Parc la Fontaine – great skating, nice fountain, but mostly it’s the lore – it used to be a zoo before 1957 and also had all sorts of interesting attractions like a small castle and a whale sculpture that housed an aquarium in its giant mouth.

What is your favourite music venue in your city?

Casa del Popolo will always hold a special place in my heart.

What is your favourite music store in your city?

La Rama