After putting out the incredible mixtape Cut 4 Me late last year, Kelela’s had folks turning their heads and perking up their ears. Born in Washington, DC to Ethiopian immigrant parents, Kelela has described her sound as Brandy but weirder, which…how can you say no to that? Weird Brandy is everything I never knew I needed! But for real though, she’s that and so much more – I cannot recommend you listen to her mixtape enough if you haven’t yet.
One of the things I really love about Kelela is the way she’s talked about how coming from an immigrant family has influenced her art:
Pitchfork: On the mixtape, you’re constantly grappling with this challenging music—there’s this dual magnetic attraction and resistance to it. What was the precedent for that for you?
Kelela Mizanekristos: It makes me want to cry actually, because it’s the experience of being outside and inside simultaneously. But at this point, it’s working to my advantage; after growing up inside of a context that you are so familiar with but also feel outside of, you learn to sit on top of it.
This sentiment – the familiarity, the insider/outsider feelings – is something a lot of folks who grew up in immigrant families or who immigrated young can identify with, and I feel like I can hear the beauty that diaspora has brought to her music.
Kelela’s just announced a few dates, and has blessed us with another exquisite and super sexy new track with which to feast our ears as a teaser to the new material she’s planning to show us there.
Check it out!
Verónica is in love with the beauty and resilience of immigrants and the art we make.