Here is the second part of our double feature today! Our chief editor is a huge fan of this next interviewee, and when we were given the green light on this interview, he had a grin on his face as wide as your average watermelon slice. Too much digressing – focus! Here with us today is one of K-POP’s cheekiest, cutest and overall bubbly rapper/singers, who has now struck out on her own. Please give it up for former FIESTAR member Francesca ‘Cheska’ An!
Francesca An (Korean name An Minji, stage name: Cheska, born March 11, 1992 in Birmingham, Alabama) is a Korean-American artist who is most well known to fans as being a former member of LOEN Entertainment girl group FIESTAR. Gaining a lot of attention for her skills as a rapper, dancer and singer, Cheska helped elevate her group to prominence early in their debut period. Having left the group in March, she now continues to pursue her passion for true artistry and is working on a number of projects now. Travelling back and forth between her hometown, her second home of Atlanta and Korea, she still leads the busy artist life, but graciously took some time to talk with us about how things have been. Insight, feelings, aspirations and more can be found in this chat with what is probably our favourite interviewee of this first half of 2014. Enjoy!
My name is Francesca Minji An and I go by the name of Cheska. Born on March 11,1992 in Birmingham,AL. I was a member of The K-Pop Idol Group Fiestar.
How long have you been doing music for?
I sang since I was 7 (Disney songs lol) and started freestyling (danced) when I was around 10, came to Korea when I was 18. Now I’m 22 so…. 15 years.
What kind of artist would you consider yourself?
Hmm…first of all, I’m self-taught. I guess I’d like to say i’m a hip-hop/R&B artist? I never got the chance to share my music with the world, but I will in the future. I’m going for hip-hop/R&B because that’s what I’m good at.
For those who are familiar with you, you were previously a member of LOEN Entertainment’s first girl group FIESTAR. You were in charge of rapping and vocals in the group. Please tell us a little about your experience with the group and your training experience up to your debut.
It was interesting. It’s different to what I thought it’d be like. It was a good experience though. The hardest thing was that I thought I was ready, but I wasn’t cause I’m just not too good with rules. But I tried real hard and I think made it through the debut.
What inspired you to go to Korea to pursue music initially?
I posted videos of me freestyling when I was like 15, 16, and 17. And then I got a call from a company, and the rest is history!
The thing is I’m moving on because my dream is on a whole different path now. It was a hard choice to make but I’d like to be myself from now on, just making dope music with friends to share. Right now, I feel like a room without a roof. Feels amazing!
Was it challenging to keep your personality intact with your role in the group?
A little bit ~ but it was fun and hard at the same time but more funnier than hard. I think my ‘Acting’ has improved though. Good stuff haha.
Any insight that you can share to those considering entering that market, whether as a trainee, singer etc.?
The only thing I’m gonna say is that time goes by very quickly. One day I’m 18, and the next I’m 22, just like that. Just make sure that it’s the right path for your future. What ever makes you happy!
Your thoughts on plastic surgery in Korea and especially in KPOP?
Plastic surgery is done by self-decision but I think it’s wrong if a person’s forced to go through the process of plastic surgery. In my perspective, it’s the MUSIC people wanna hear. The looks aren’t important for a singer, but if you’re pretty and you’re a singer, then that’s a huge plus. It’s a face and body your parents gave you, so what I prefer is just a “little” or natural beauty.
I was so sleepy while shooting the music video for ‘Vista’ (FIESTAR debut single), that the director (a woman) had to change my clothes for me. It was so embarrassing when I heard about it the next day…I was so sorry haha.
So a lot of fans want to know – was there any particular motive or time-sensitive issue or something of the like that played a part in your departure from FIESTAR?
The reason I made the choice to depart from the group was like I said…mainly it was because I wanted to make music. For me, music is first and popularity comes second depending on the reaction. I want to make music I like. I’ve noticed that music’s more real and attractive when I write my own stuff in it. I like to think that music is a part of me. So the main reason is because I wanna make “my” music.
Do you keep in touch with your former members or anyone you’ve met while you were with the group?
I do, But I’m not a phone person so not often. I’m more of a computer person.
You’re very good friends with Lil Boi and Louie from Geeks. Tell us what it’s like being friends with these ‘hot topic’ rappers.
I learn a lot from them. They help me a lot. They’re funny and oh so kind. They respect me and the music I make. They give me hope and strength. They motivate me. I always say “I give up” ,“fail”and LB is like NOOO!!!! Always tellin me I need to stop saying that because that’s just not a good habit and that it’s just negative, and we all know negativity is not good. Thanks to LB and L, my Korean has improved a lot. Sometimes when I use a word wrong they don’t fix it and just pick on me to where I just look like a total idiot haha. When I hang out with them, I get to meet a variety of people, and that’s always fun.
You are unofficially in the ranks of those who’ve left their respective groups to pursue other things, including After School’s Bekah and Kahi, KARA’s Nicole and Jiyoung, Wonder Girls’ Sohee and Sunmi, and many others. Are there other things you aspire to pursue now that you have a bit more freedom?
Making music and sharing it with the world~ also meeting a variety of people to work with. I also want to travel the world. You only live once, so I’m just wanting to live happy ~ doing what I love.
What have you been up to since leaving the group?
Just making music with friends and writing lyrics, going on vacations, chillin. Fun fun haha.
Can fans expect to see any new material from you soon? Will you be releasing both music in Korean and English?
I’m not too sure about soon but hopefully I’ll be releasing some before the end of next year. The lyrics are gonna be in Korean and English. Mixed.
Everything and everyone inspires me but if I had to choose an artist it’d be straight up Aaliyah. I love her.
What are your five most played songs currently?
Tyga – Senile, Aaliyah – 4 page letter, Jhene Aiko – Vapors, August Alsina – Get ya money, Katy Perry – Dark Horse
Name any artist you would like to collaborate with, and why.
Euro from YoungMoney, because he’s dope. Me singing and Euro rapping on the same beat, that’d be awesome. I love YoungMoney…the only music me and my friends listened to in highschool.
What is your guilty pleasure currently? It can be anything!
This is hard..hmm….eating fried crickets! My grandma here in Korea fried me crickets…and I want more haha. At first it was gross just having the thought to eating it. But it was yummy! Sorry Jiminy Cricket. Omg i’ma watch Jiminy Cricket after I finish this AH! Sounds fun.
When you have spare time, what do you do for fun?
Riding rollercoasters. Playing with my puppy. I love animals so I like zoos. Practice writing lyrics in Korean. Making melodies on beats. Watching friends make beats. Playing Sudden attack and Mabinogi. Internet surfing and Youtubing. Reading books (very rare). Watching music videos and listening to music. I like tanning but I don’t know where to tan in Korea. And I don’t do tanning beds. I like driving around town but I don’t have a car in Korea. This is when I miss America…. I miss my car *sniff*
That I can make music, and I rap for fun. I don’t like being called a rapper. I’m a hip hop RnB singer. I grew up listening to rap and it’s fun to rap but that does not make me a rapper haha.
Any advice for aspiring artists?
Have confidence in what you do. Without confidence you’ll never know what you’re capable of. Don’t be scared of taking risks, because you never know what’ll happen if you do take the risk. Something good might happen ~ kinda dangerous but hey, you only live once.
Any final words for the readers?
Thank you for supporting Fiestar and I love every one of y’all! I’m currently working on my first mixtape. It’s gonna be dope so look forward to it. Not sure when it’ll be out but hopefully, it’ll be out by the end of next year. Much love MWAH~! ❤ thank you rhythm connection for this wonderful interview.
You learn something new everyday! Big big thanks to Cheska herself for making this happen, and until next time….this was a rhythm.connection EXCLUSIVE!!!