“I would like to do Brandy but weirder… Something that would resonate with most people, but make them feel a little uncomfortable.” -Kelela
With plans of becoming a Jazz Musician, Los Angeles based singer, Kelela Mizanekristos or known just as Kelela looked to legends, Betty Carter and Sarah Vaughan as sources of inspiration…but as definite as some plans may be this was not one of them, diverging into an entirely different path that would lead Kelela to fuse the gap between R&B and electronica.
DC bred but of Ethiopian descent, Kelela’s formative years were heavily influenced by Amel Larrieux of Groove Theory, it wasn’t until the move from Washington Dc to LA where she discovered Swedish native, Yugimi Nagano of band, ‘Little Dragon‘; characterizing their sound as “mind-blowing”. With an beautifully throaty, hard to shake, addictive trance like sound, this DC native may not have predicted the direction of her music, describing the development of her sound as ” housing vocals that are familiar to me in an unfamiliar context”, but it was just that “unfamiliar context” that led DJ/Producer, Kingdom of label; ‘Fade to Mind’ in discovering her in LA’s underground music scene. Leading her to release late last year her acclaimed debut mixtape; ‘Cut 4 Me’ under the same label. The ‘Cut 4 Me’ mixtape not only boasted production from a multitude of Producers (Kingdom, Nguzunguzu, Girl Unit, Bok Bok, Jam City) linked with ‘Fade to Mind’ and London Label ‘Night Slugs’ but gained further traction when single ‘Go All Night’ off of the mixtape was featured on compilation album, ‘Saint Heron‘, the debut release from Solange’s label.
Collaborative synergies between notable producers aided in a successful turning point in 2013 as well as in the New Year, by rekindling the same magic with London based DJ/Producer/Director, ‘Bok Bok‘ in his just released single; ‘Melba’s Call’. Looking forward to seeing what unexpected sounds Kelela graces us with in the future, but for now, here is a look at ‘Melba’s Call’.
2 Previous Photos: Matt Fry
3 previous photos: Sequoia Ziff If you haven't had a chance to listen to the 'Cut 4 Me' mixtape...enjoy!