Tiny Desk

Mali Music

Download Audio

15 min 15 sec

On a particularly muggy day this past week, Mali Music arrived at NPR's D.C. headquarters armed with only his enthusiasm (and a teensy entourage). Though the humid haze and some midday I-need-a-coffee-stat office funk hung all around him, he soldiered his way through.

Throughout his new album, Mali Is..., the singer-songwriter and musician showcases his unabashed positivity and the sort of uplifting spirit that can faithfully be found ringing through choirs down South; as a boy, Mali Music was raised in the church in Savannah, Ga. But when compared to his previous albums — The Coming and The 2econd Coming — the new record avoids the direct, at times repentant, language of traditional gospel music. He says he's using his new perspective to serve a higher purpose, to make a difference. That message travels a bit further when it aligns with the sounds and words of the mainstream; these tools are necessary for adjusting to the secular world.

In this session, you'll see Mali Music hop from in front of a microphone, backed by booming production streaming from his DJ's laptop, to an intimate cuddle with an acoustic guitar, and finish in a relaxed position behind a keyboard for a touching performance of the album's lead single, "Beautiful." With every song — and between the tracks, with motivational messages strung throughout — he demonstrates his readiness and capability to take on the industry, as he charges forward with an electrifying message of hope.

Set List
  • "Fight For You"
  • "Make It In"
  • "Beautiful"
Credits

Producers: Denise DeBelius, Kiana Fitzgerald; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Colin Marshall; photo by Sarah Tilotta/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Tiny Desk Concert with Christopher Paul Stelling. Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

Christopher Paul Stelling

Best witnessed live, Stelling's music is steeped in tradition yet filled with vitality and soul.

Tiny Desk Concert with And The Kids. Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

And The Kids

The trio's music is full of life, with dissonant sounds that still feel suited for singalongs.

Tiny Desk Concert with Oddisee Colin Marshall/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Colin Marshall/NPR

Tiny Desk

Oddisee

The charismatic Brooklyn-via-D.C.-area rapper creates just the right amount of space in his music.

Tiny Desk Concert with Hop Along. Maggie Starbard/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Maggie Starbard/NPR

Tiny Desk

Hop Along

Frances Quinlan's raspy voice whispers one moment, then lets loose a gut-punching howl the next.

Tiny Desk Concert with Timothy Showalter, songwriter and producer of Strand of Oaks. Maggie Starbard /NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Maggie Starbard /NPR

Tiny Desk

Strand Of Oaks

Timothy Showalter's music is filled with bite and sometimes regret, but also a good deal of warmth.

Tiny Desk Concert with The Prettiots. Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

The Prettiots

The clever trio shares its love of everything from Law & Order to old-school girl groups.

Tiny Desk Concert with Anna & Elizabeth. Emily Jan/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Emily Jan/NPR

Tiny Desk

Anna & Elizabeth

If you've never thought your tastes would lean to mountain music, breathe deep and soak it all in.

TK Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

Genevieve

See a singer with a powerful voice and extremely encouraging message.

Tiny Desk Concert with Zac Sokolow (left), Frank Fairfield and Tom Marion. Emily Jan/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Emily Jan/NPR

Tiny Desk

Frank Fairfield

A young man with an old musical soul has a spellbinding voice and fluid fiddle playing.

Back To Top