During August of 2010; Chase & Status released the first single from their extremely well received 2nd album (No More Idols), which features 18 year old soul singer Mali. Not being a huge fan of reality shows I had very little idea as to who he was, but for those of you that are, you may recognise him from the 2008 series of X-Factor, which saw him get through to Simon Cowell’s boot camp. He must have seen something special in him then, and Will & Saul obviously saw something special in him last year to get him on board for such a huge release. His voice is simply breathtaking for someone of such a tender age, and having met and seen him perform live on a couple of occasions, I think it’s safe to say that this guy has quite the career ahead of him. After the jump you can hear more about his music taste, what we can expect from the debut album and an interesting alternative career choice. Follow him on twitter HERE.
1. For those people that don’t know who Mali is, can you please give a brief introduction as to who you are and what you do?
Born and bred in London. I live, eat and sleep music. I’m a bit of a perfectionist. Been singing since I could open my mouth. Recently signed to Warner Music Group (December 2010), so I’m now hard at work penning the album.
2. Most people will know you from the Chase & Status track ‘Let You Go’, but many don’t know that you were on X-Factor back in 2008. What happened on the journey between 2008 and last year, when you hooked up with Will & Saul, and how did that all come about?
I’m not gonna lie, all I did was play the guitar and xBox!
3. As you know, we met at Boardmasters last year, but neither of us knew each other and it was only when you bounced out on stage that I found out I was speaking to the voice behind one of my favourite tracks of the year. The first time I heard the track I thought Mali must have been a 40 year old veteran, but then went on to find that you’re only 17. Have you found this something that happens regularly, and do you think it has worked in your favour? Your stage presence makes it look like you’ve been performing in front of arena crowds/festivals for years.
The voice comes from about 40 fags a day and a whisky at night. Most people that hear my voice for the first time find it hard to believe - always a good thing I suppose.
4. I remember you saying that your Dad left school at 15 to pursue a music career, and has been singing all his life. Ever since leaving school is that the path you have always wanted to go down, or was there anything else you could have seen yourself doing?
Wouldn’t mind being a mime artist.
5. You clearly have a lot of natural Soul within you that comes through in both your voice and personality, but what music were you brought up on, and what do you listen to in your spare time now (both genres & artists)?
I’m a big fan of all types of music; there is so much to learn from every genre. I was mainly brought up listening to soul; the likes of Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Sly and The Family Stone, Prince, Miles Davis (the list goes on forever…)
6. How has it been touring with Will & Saul, as I’ve heard it can be a bit crazy, and do you think being in their company has helped you develop and both a person and an artist?
I have so much respect for Will and Saul; they have helped me find my feet in so many aspects. I find my live performances improving with every show. It has been an amazing, yet crazy touring experience - what happens on the tour bus, stays on the tour bus!
7. Thinking about the album you’re currently working on, what sound are you going for? Will it be Dubstep influenced with stuff along the same lines as ‘Let You Go’, or will you be going with something completely different? And, when can we expect to hear something from it?
When it comes down to my album I’m trying to do something completely different and unique… I like to call it ‘Future Soul’, Will be all about finding the beauty and unmistakeable feel from old soul/motown records and mixing it with a new cutting edge production.
8. Also; will you be writing all of the stuff for the album yourself, or have there/will there be people brought in to help assist you with this?
I feel really strongly about writing my own material; my music comes from the heart and soul, so I need that connection to reach perfection. Saying that though, I live working with other people as it opens up so many opportunities for something I might now personally think of myself (haha). So to answer your question… a bit of both.
9. On the whole, what can we expect from Mali in 2011, with regards to music, touring, etc…?
2011 is gonna bring endless amounts of late nights in the studio, and possibly more live dates with Will & Saul.
10. Finally; where do you see music going in the next 5-10 years and do you thinking it’s changing for better, or worse?
It’s a great time for British music; within the last few years so much raw talent and new styles of music have been introduced, and it can only keep getting better… I hope!