Today’s the day! Get Mali Music’s brand new album, The Transition Of Mali, featuring “Gonna Be Alright”, “Contradiction” ft. Jhene Aiko, and “Loved By You” ft. Jazmine Sullivan.
In a recent sit down with R&B artist, Mali Music, he spoke about the transition in music, his new album, ‘The Transition of Mali’, live performances, the current state of our country under it’s new leadership, and much more.
GB: You introduced us to Mali when you released, ‘Mali Is’, why do feel the need for a transition?
Mali: Well, I didn’t have a choice. One thing I found in life, as I was living it – ‘Mali Is’ was amazing! Two Grammy nominations, it was breath taking. Had to buy a suit, was sitting next to Robert Glasper, Aloe Blacc… it was a totally different transition. I thought it would elevate my life in a way, but it just kind of stayed still so I was met with transition.
I feel everybody is! You’re a young kid and now you’re a teenager. Transition from a teenager to a young adult and the rules keep changing as you get used to it. So, of course, you’re trying to make music; you’re singing; being true and you get Grammy noms. Then it’s all these other expectations on who you are, so it’s more so a transition of Mali from that […] into completely what it is. Transition is something that meets everybody through everything and this was just me singing the songs as mine met me.
GB: What does transition mean to you?
Mali: Man it means everything. I feel that it’s that energy, that presence that pushes you to that place that you need to be but you don’t want to go. Transition is like a trainer-breaking me down, getting all the fat off-you know maturing me. Any old things any old rule that I’m holding up from being a young man, I’m transitioning into those things not mattering no more being an older man. Get what I’m saying? So like I felt it was necessary to put those things out there- remain vulnerable and open and transparent like I was on Mali Is & Second Coming and make sure it’s right up to date to where I actually am ,not where I want people to think I am.
GB: Which song is the most meaningful to you on the album?
Mali: I care about all my babies. But the song ‘Still’ is extremely refreshing for me. Maurice Parent had heard and was able to lay live strings on it with The Detroit Orchestra – that was amazing. And the song just resonates; it feels like something we’ve been waiting for for a long time. A mixture of a whole lot of sounds so I can’t wait to play it but it feels like soul, gospel and it’s a beautiful ballad and a lot of people hear it and say “Mali, you were singing on that one.” So I love that.
GB: So what can we expect next from you?
Mali: Well I’m really looking forward to presenting these songs live. This is like a ticket for everybody I feel for them to hear the songs for them to be like “Whoa! That’s what Mali’s on?” But it’s all just so they can get acclimated once they come to a show and see me live or see a clip, they will know, that’s HIS song. It is what it is you know, so instead of putting all the energy to create a single- I try to make this kinetic energy with something I release which just brings it all right here (points to chest) and let everybody know what the source is.
GB: In your song ‘Beautiful’, you say “It’s a blessing to see people, with their heads up to the sky still”. Do you feel the same way as it pertains to the current state of our country under this new administration? :
Mali: It’s tough. I’m sitting in the airport with my son and we see the clip of the playback of all these people get blown up at the Ariana Grande concert so that’s the world that we’re in and it is a blessing to see people with their heads up to the sky still. I’m grateful and that is relevant that was three years ago. What’s in the place of that is ‘Gonna Be Alright’ – which is a lot more humble then “I put my lighters in the air for you”. It’s more of the acknowledgement that you might get hit or something’s going to make contact, but don’t waiver don’t stray stay on course.
GB: What was the inspiration behind ‘Gonna Be Alright’?
Mali: It was a mixture of things. It was a mixture of frustration, love and excitement. I was able to produce it with Salaam Remi that we worked on together and I just came in with some type of expectation of what it would be like to work with this producer and he was like “Well, what you got?” and I was like “I don’t know, what you got, I thought I would come in and hear some tracks.” So he wanted me to just sit down and start playing some things instead of going off a beat. And I was like okay … (begins singing)… “What’s it all about? Why is blood flowing through this body (imitates a piano chord) why is air in my lungs?”
I’m just trying to go into these things that open up! […] it was on a metronome and before you knew it, he put the beat on and it came together like crazy; and he dropped the base. So a lot of those things were a mixture of trust and you had to be comfortable with what I brought to the table because that’s all he asked for you know? I was looking to be inspired by a beat or some other thing, but if I didn’t have nothing in my heart then I wouldn’t have anything. So it was so refreshing that with no help just him saying just make a song, that’s the song that was written and it was really encouraging to me. And now the fact that it’s the first single, it’s even better.
GB: Why can ‘Gonna Be Alright’ be a banner for young people who are experiencing trouble today?
Mali: Well there was a point where in our lives as young people, they don’t have in their lives as young people. Remember Thursday and Friday night TV? Like what it used to feel like when you had to get home to Family Matters, Fresh Prince or Martin? By that thirty minute set, it just made everything alright for a while; certain songs; church on Sundays. Nobody was going to hurt you. I feel like that was a nostalgic feeling. Like the world lives in chaos, everyday nonstop.
So, I would like for the start of it to make a take six, to make a time portal. Let’s go back in time to the times where things were a little easier when these things appeased us. But now they can watch these things on YouTube. Everything is digital, the attention span is shorter and the appreciation is low. So it’s a cry out to everybody who remembers and the ones who don’t know what it was and who are interested, we give them a chance to learn how it was, how it could be and how simple life was.
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