Mali Music’s positive energy is contagious, and his brand of gospel/inspirational/R&B always makes you feel good, like you can conquer anything. The two-time Grammy-nominated artist released his fourth studio album The Transition of Mali on June 2nd (which follows his breakout 2014 album Mali Is…). While the title suggests changes, the set still provides more of those feel-good vibes!
He recently chatted with Singersroom about his new opus, evolving as an artist, and reaching the youth.
Check it out below!
You introduced is to Mali when you released ‘Mali Is…’ Why do you feel the need for a transition?
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 incredible. I thought that it would elevate my life in a way but it just kind of stayed still. I was met with transition; I feel everybody is. It’s like you’re a young kid and now you gotta learn how to be a teenager. You gotta transition from a teenager to a young adult and the rules keep changing. For me, it’s like you’re trying to make music, you’re being true, and you get Grammy nominations, and then it’s all these other expectations on who you are. Transitions meets everybody through everything, and this project is me singing the songs as mine met me.
What does ‘The Transition of Mali’ mean to you?
Man, it means everything. It’s that energy, that presence that pushes you to that place that you need to be, but you don’t wanna go. Transition is like a trainer, breaking me down and getting all the fat off — Maturing me. I just think that it was necessary to put those things out there and remain vulnerable, open and transparent like I was in “Mali Is” and “The 2econd Coming,” and make sure it’s right up to date to where I actually am.
What song is the most meaningful to you?
I care about all my babies, but the song “Still” is extremely refreshing for me. The song just resonates, it feels like something that we’ve been waiting for for a long time. It’s a mixture of a whole lot of sounds; It feels so Gospel, but it’s a beautiful ballad. People who hear it say, “Mali, you were singing on that one.”
What can we expect next from you?
I’m really excited about presenting these songs live. The project is like a ticket for everybody to hear the songs, listen to it and feel what I’m on, but it’s also so that they could get acclimated, so when they come to a show, they can get the full experience.
In your song “Beautiful,” you mention in the first verse, “It’s a blessing to see people with your heads up to the sky still.” In saying that, how do you feel about the current state of our country due to the administration we have now?
It’s tough! I’m sitting in the airport with my son, and we see a clip on the TV of all these people getting blown up at the Ariana Grande concert. That’s the world that we’re in now. It is a blessing to see people with their heads up to the sky still. I’m grateful, and it is relevant because that song was from three years ago. What took the place of that song is “Gonna Be Alright,” which is more humble. It’s just saying, you might get hit, you might get scratched, but don’t waver, continue the course.
Explain in detail the inspiration behind “Gonna Be Alright?”
It was a mixture of things from frustration to love to excitement. I was able to produce it with Salaam Remi. It was the first time we worked together, and I think I just came in with some type of expectation of what it would be to work with this producer. Instead of just playing me tracks, he wanted me to play something, and from there, he put the beat on, and it came together like crazy. It was a mixture of just trust and us being comfortable working together. It was an encouraging collaboration, and the song became the first single.
How does the song relate to young people who experience struggle today?
There was a point in our lives as young people that they don’t have in their lives as young people today. Remember Thursday and Friday night TV; what it used to feel like. When you had to get home to watch Family Matters, Fresh Prince, or Martin – Something about that 30-minute set that made everything alright for a while. There were certain songs that made everything alright for a while. And church on Sunday to let you know that nobody was going to hurt you. I feel like that is a nostalgic feeling because the world lives in chaos, every day non-stop. Now, they can watch everything online; everything is digital, so the attention span is shorter, and the appreciation is low. So, “Gonna Be Alright” is just a cry out to anybody who remember and the ones that don’t know what it was, who are interested, we give them a chance to learn how it was, how it could be, and how simple life was.
Whether he's crooning in English or Spanish, songwriter AJ Hernz hits every note with heartfelt perfection, and his latest single…