Where music stars discuss how they make their music.
Where music stars discuss how they make their music.
Obsessed with production with Jehnny Beth and Kelly Lee Owens
Jehnny Beth, frontwoman of noise queens Savages and now a solo artist, leads the discussion with three thought-provoking and inspirational musicians.
Kelly Lee Owens is one of the most exciting DJs and electronic producers right now, a Welsh musician who’s collaborated with the likes of St. Vincent, Bjork, Jenny Hval, and Jon Hopkins. Jessy Lanza is an an electronic songwriter, producer, and vocalist from Ontario, Canada. A former music teacher, she grew up playing piano and clarinet, before going on to study jazz and eventually finding her feet in electronic music. And finally, Tei Shi is a Colombian-Canadian singer, songwriter, and record producer born in Buenos Aires, but now based in LA. She’s jokingly described her work as "mermaid music".
Together, they discuss the history of the studio gear they use, positions they record vocals in the studio, watching films to get inspiration, and the difficulties of recording animals.
Throwing away lyrics with Chali 2na, Omar, Skye Edwards and Rodney P
Jurassic 5 founder Chali 2na welcomes Rodney P, Skye Edwards from Morcheeba, and Omar to the show.
Ever wondered what the first step in the creative process is for musicians? What kind of obstacles do they face in achiveving success? These are just some of the questions that Chali will asking the group. Plus there’s some hilarious anecdotes and gentle ribbing along the way.
Chali 2na has one of the most distinguishable baritone voices in hip-hop. He’s an MC, graffiti artist and founding member of the collective Jurassic 5, and forms half of Ozomatli with DJ Cut Chemist. Rodney P is known as the Godfather of British hip-hop. An MC and broadcaster, he released what is widely regarded as the most important UK hip-hop album of all time with Gangsta Chronicle in 1990. Skye Edwards is known for being the lead vocalist of Morcheeba. She’s also worked with the likes of Nouvelle Vague, Grace Jones collaborator Ivor Guest, and our host, Mr Chali 2na. And finally, Omar is a soul singer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and actor, best known for the hit There’s Nothing Like This. He’s worked with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Kele Le Roc, Lamont Dozier, Common, Estelle and Angie Stone. His father was a studio musician and drummer with Bob Marley, Horace Andy and the Rolling Stones.
'Synths are my best friends' with Suzanne Ciani and Marie Davidson
Legendary electronic artist Suzanne Ciani welcomes Marie Davidson, Sui Zhen, and Lorenzo Senni.
Suzanne is based in San Francisco and has been nominated for five Grammy Awards. She was the first woman to score a major Hollywood film, and was the first female voice to be used on a computer game. Marie Davidson is a French-Canadian musician, and one of the world’s most exciting electronic producers. Her most recent record, Working Class Woman, considers “the stresses and strains of operating within the spheres of dance music and club culture”. Lorenzo Senni is a Milan-based electronic music producer, composer and visual artist, and has composed for cinema and theatre. He has even created an installation designed to comfort people in the intensive care unit of a hospital. And Sui Zhen is an experimental pop and performance artist from Melbourne, Australia, whose work focuses on the intersections between human life and technology.
Joining from different timezones across the planet, they’ll dicuss what it’s like to release an album, the importance of human interactions with machines, and how they first discovered their beloved synths.
'I get scared' with Azekel and Yukimi Nagano
Nigerian-born songwriter, producer, and musician Azekel welcomes Yukimi Nagano from Little Dragon, Kwesi Arthur, and Shab.
Together, they talk about why it’s tricky writing with people you don’t know, what it’s like working with big names, and how important it is to express identity in music.
Azekel has collaborated with the likes of Gorillaz, Massive Attack, GAIKA, and Grammy-winning producer Om’Mas Keith (who’s worked with Frank Ocean and Anderson .Paak). Prince also tweeted about one of his songs, and Grace Jones is a fan. The lead singer of Swedish band Little Dragon, Yukimi Nagano has a Swedish-American mother and a Japanese father. The band are back with a new record called New Me, Same Us. Kwesi Arthur is a 25-year-old rapper and musician from Tema, Ghana. He initially wanted to be a footballer but was inspired to pursue a career in music after listening to Drake’s album Thank Me Later. And Shab is an Iranian singer-songwriter who is one of 13 brothers and sisters, a refugee now based in America. Her debut album is due later this year and the first track from it, Spell On Me, is produced by Grammy-winning producer Damon Sharpe (Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez). She describes the track as a “disco ode to female wildness”.
The art of pop with Soweto Kinch, Charlotte Adigéry and Jordan Rakei
Saxophonist, MC and poet Soweto Kinch talks to Charlotte Adigéry and Jordan Rakei about pop music inspirations, writing to fit in a genre, and the role ego plays in their art.
Charlotte Adigéry is a Belgian-Caribbean musician, born and raised in Ghent to parents from Martinique and Guadeloupe, and she’s hard to define by genre. She also performs as electro-punk alter ego WWWater. When making music, Charlotte has said, “I try and make something without thinking about direction or genre or sound.”
Jordan Rakei is a New Zealand-Australian jazz, soul, R&B, and pop musician, singer, songwriter and producer. His breakthrough record came in 2017 with Wallflower, and he released the Origin LP earlier this year. He’s also worked with the likes of Disclosure, Jessie Ware, Loyle Carner and Anna Calvi.
The best of the guests
Music Life digs out some of the highlights of the series so far for its 50th episode.
The first musician to ever host an episode of Music Life was John Grant, and he’s back to guide us through some of the highlights that have happened on Music Life since the show began last year.
Through 50 unbelievable episodes we’ve heard from the likes of Billy Cobham on playing for Miles Davis, Souad Massi on being an artist from a country that frowns upon it, Iggy Pop on genre-crossing, Raye on surviving the lows, Chassol on hilarious creative rituals, Yuna on working with superstar Usher, Rhiannon Giddens on how music can be a tool for social justice, and Niarui from Les Amazone D’Afrique on when the best time to write is.
We’ve covered so many subjects with nearly 200 musicians, and no episode has ever been the same or covered the same ground. Here’s to the next 50.