Tiny Desk

Mali Music

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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"

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

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