Born in Malaysia, Lydia Chai graduated from Elam School of Fine Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2004. She makes paintings, videos and more recently, music.
To Chai, painting and music are closely related; with her abstract watercolours she explores musicality and rhythm. In 2010, she formed the former Asian waiata group, Ngāti Āhia. In 2012, she exhibited video work in Running On Pebbles, curated by Allan Smith. In the same year, she began composing pop songs and released a music video on Vimeo for her single "Move."