Where music stars discuss how they make their music.
Where music stars discuss how they make their music.
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.
The words, the rhythm, the melody with Melissa Laveaux and Angelique Kidjo
Canadian guitarist Melissa Laveaux welcomes Flavia Coelho, Maya Kamaty, and Angelique Kidjo. Melissa gets to the bottom of issues within the industry, the importance of asking questions rather than finding answers, and themes in their music that they keep returning to. All of this while being completely in awe of the legendary Angelique.
Angelique Kidjo is a four-time Grammy award-winning Beninese singer-songwriter, actor, and activist of Nigerian descent. She’s fluent in five languages, and has worked with the likes of Alicia Keys, Philip Glass, Bono, Carlos Santana, John Legend, and Herbie Hancock. Flavia Coelho is a Brazillian singer-songwriter born in Rio De Janeiro, who mixes samba, bossa nova, Brazilian rap, reggae and ragga. Her latest release, DNA, explored themes of corruption, homophobia and racism; an echo of the political difficulties in Brazil. And finally, Maya Kamaty is pioneering a new generation of the Reunion Island’s traditional song form, maloya. She is also the daughter of legendary maloya musician Gilbert Pounia, leader of the band Ziskakan.
Fascinations with the future, hosted by Rvdical the Kid
This week, Music Life brings together four of the best West African young producers and trend setters for the first time.
Rvdical the Kid is from Nigeria and Ghana, raised in Benin, before moving to Accra. In 2015 he released the genre-defining album Carte Blanche, and is due to follow it up later this year.
Joining him is Gafacci, one of the most exciting Ghanaian music producers, DJs, and songwriters right now. Club nights and publications around the world are spreading his name, so keep your ears on him. He’s worked with homegrown and international artistes such as Sarkodie, Samini, Bryte, Mina, Famous Eno, and Fever Ray.
Ria Boss is a Ghanaian-Burkinabe singer songwriter, also based in Accra. Her debut EP, Find Your Free, is a compilation of healing songs she wrote to help get her through her rough battle with depression, identity issues, and quest for self-love. She also released the #THANKGODITSRIA series in which she released 11 EPs in 11 weeks.
And finally, Keyzuz is a DJ and producer who has shaped her creative identity around being a nonconformist, an artist who pushes the boundaries of her expression both aurally and visually. She’s originally from Ghana and is now based in America.
They’ll be discussing elements that repeat in the music process, how much of the artists’ work is intentional, and how they deal with imposter syndrome (a very common syndrome amongst musicians).
Dance and wash the dishes with Laetitia Sadier and Peter Zummo
Stereolab founder Laetitia Sadier chats to Mabe Fratti, Peter Zummo, and Zooey’s Marie Merlet.
French singer, keyboardist, percussionist and trombonist Laetitia Sadier has worked with the likes of Blur, Luna, Deerhoof, Common, Mouse on Mars, and Tyler, The Creator. She’s asking the guests how they overcome hurdles, how they define originality, expanding musical ideas, and what sparks the creative process.
Answering these tough questions is American composer, trombonist and producer Peter Zummo. He’s perhaps most famous for his years of work with cellist and producer Arthur Russell, plus the Love of Life orchestra, Flying Hearts, and Lounge Lizards, which saw him create a style that he wryly termed "minimalism plus a whole lot more". Guatemalan cellist, singer, and sound artist Mabe Fratti started playing the cello when she was just eight years old. She released her debut album Pies Sobre la Tierra earlier this year to critical acclaim. And French singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Marie Merlet completes the line-up. You might also know her as Iko Cherie; she also makes up one half of French duo Zooey with Matthieu Beck, and used to be in the French post-rock band Monade with host Laetitia.
Accidents, humour, and guilt with Joy Crookes and Georgia
On hosting duties is Olushola Ajose, a.k.a. Afrikan Boy, a London-born rapper and producer of Nigerian heritage whose music blends hip hop, grime and afrobeat. His track One Day I Went To Lidl caught the attention of MIA, who invited him to collaborate and tour with her. He’s since worked with the likes of Damon Albarn’s Africa Express, DJ Shadow, The Noisettes, Lady Leshurr and Nneka.
He’s joined by South London-based neo-soul singer and songwriter of Bangladeshi-Irish heritage, Joy Crookes. She has firmly established herself as one to watch with three critically acclaimed EPs and receiving a Rising Star Award nomination at the 2020 Brit Awards, just in time for the release of her debut album coming later this year.
Jaz Karis is a soulful RnB singer-songwriter who cites Erykah Badu, Frank Ocean and Amy Winehouse as some of her biggest influences. Since releasing her debut EP Into the Wilderness in 2017, she has signed to NAO’s record label Little Tokyo Recordings, and amassed nearly 10 million views for her performance of her track Petty Lover on music platform Colors.
Also joining the conversation is producer, singer and songwriter Georgia, who began her music career as a drummer for Kwes and Kate Tempest, and has gone on to collaborate with Africa Express, Honne, Mura Masa, Gorillaz and Peter Hook. She won the One to Watch Award at the AIM Independent Music Awards in 2019, and released her second record Seeking Thrills in January this year to critical acclaim.
They’ll be discussing what aspects of their personalities shine through the most when making music, what drives their creativity, and what life lessons they’ve learned so far from working in music.
Turning fear into excitement with Austra and Dan Deacon
Prepare to be inspired by this week as Canadian singer Katie Stelmanis, AKA Austra, sits down with Dan Deacon, Cosmo Sheldrake and Dry Cleaning’s Florence Shaw.
Dan Deacon is a singer-songwriter and film score composer from Baltimore, USA, who is known for his exhilarating live shows and is described by his record label Domino as an "alchemist of electro-acoustic recording tools". He released his latest record Mystic Familiar in January 2020, his first to display his natural singing voice.
Another artist known to surprise his audiences is Cosmo Sheldrake, who often brings sounds from the natural world into his records and live performances. A multi-instrumentalist, producer, singer and songwriter, Cosmo released his debut album in 2018, and his compositions have featured in theatre, film, and London's Natural History Museum.
They’re joined by Florence Shaw, who is a visual artist and university lecturer as well as being the lead vocalist and lyricist for London-based band Dry Cleaning. Her sources of lyrical inspiration include social anxiety, YouTube comments and even takeaway menus.
They’ll be discussing the odd places they find inspiration, how an album’s format can impact the music itself, and overcoming anxiety.