Cookiee Kawaii didn’t have any of this planned. Since becoming Kawaii’s breakthrough smash in February 2020, ‘Vibe (If I Back It Up)‘ produced by , underscored by a mellifluous dreamscape accented by dance floor-commanding rhymes and a snapping beat, has become a TikTok sensation without a signature dance move or challenge, being used nearly two million times and featured in clips that have generated tens of millions of views. With over 50 million listens, ‘Vibe’ has quickly become the foremost social media sensation of the year, gracing videos from celebrities and influencers spanning Doja Cat and Perez Hilton to James Charles and gaining momentum as one of TikTok’s biggest success stories. Now Certified Gold, Cookiee Kawaii has already proven to be more than a viral sensation. Her ‘Vibe’ remix and video with Tyga hit over 5 million views on YouTube, while the original track has amassed over 150 million Streams.
But that’s far from the beginning for Kawaii, an Irvington, New Jersey native who’s been a local ambassador for Jersey Club music since she started recording nearly a decade ago. “I’ve been listening to club music for as long as I can remember, so my interest in making a club song was definitely there from the moment I started making music,” she explains. From a young age, Kawaii cultivated her taste for music at home, born to parents who were both DJs. Between trips to Guitar Center to scope out equipment, she soaked up the sounds of everything spanning jazz to neo-soul playing around the house, getting her first taste of performing as part of a choir while attending Catholic school.
She chose her name due to the love of the baked good (Cookiee) and her infatuation with anime (Kawaii is Japanese for “cute”) and posted her first publicly released song, the aerobic ‘Move Ya Waist‘, to SoundCloud in 2013. Today, with Jersey Club slowly making its way to the mainstream on singles from artists like Drake and Ciara, Kawaii is ready to be its torchbearer, bringing her local sound to the masses not just with ‘Vibe’ but also with her ever-growing discography. “This is a time where we could get a little more spotlight on the culture,” she says. “We’ve had a lot of different moments where things have kind of been on the spotlight for us but no one was really there to full force carry the torch. So I feel like this could open a lot of doors for Jersey, and Jersey Club, in total.”
Cookiee recently debuted new singles off the project, including ‘Relax Your Mind‘ with a video that featured a sexy all-girl dance party where things get a little wild and ‘Press Play (Gamer Girl)‘, an ode to her love of gamer girls. She continues to build on the female-focused themes with mid-tempo bop ‘Love Your Body‘ featuring Oya Noire all while paying homage to her Jersey club roots on tracks like ‘Violin‘ and ‘Dump It‘, each featuring New Jersey artists Dear Silas and Bleszt.
This new album captures the upbeat vibe of the Jersey Club culture, and encapsulates her love of video games and the girls who play them. “VANICE” exudes a carefree, upbeat energy that embraces body positivity, feminism and hot girl vibes all linked by a common undertone of Jersey Club motifs and immaculate beat production by fellow New Jersey resident and legendary producer, Junior Sanchez (Katy Perry, Daft Punk, Ariana Grande, Madonna, Gorillaz, Felix Da Housecat, Armand Van Helden), who executive produced the album.