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Mali Music: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

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. –KIANA FITZGERALD

SET LIST
“Fight For You”
“Make It In”
“Beautiful”

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

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