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Mustafa - Air Forces

2021-09-08 | 🔗

Mustafa is a singer, songwriter, and poet from Toronto. He gained national recognition in Canada for his poetry. in 2016, he served on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Youth Advisory Council. Later, as a songwriter, he contributed to the Grammy award-winning album Starboy by The Weeknd, and he’s written songs for Usher, Camila Cabello, and others. In May 2021, he released his own debut album, called When Smoke Rises, inspired by his experiences losing friends to inner-city violence. His album’s been critically acclaimed, and it was shortlisted for the Polaris Prize. I spoke to Mustafa about his song "Air Forces," a track he made with his longtime collaborator, Grammy-winning producer Frank Dukes, plus Swedish artist Simon on the Moon, and Jamie xx.

For more visit, songexploder.net/mustafa.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
You're, listening to song exploder, where musicians take apart their songs and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. My name is case. Your way song exploder is brought to you by progressive. the thinking more about how to tighten up your budget. These days, drivers who save by switching, you progressive, save for seven hundred dollars on average and customers can qualify for an average of six discounts when they sign up a little off your rate. Each month goes a long way get a quote today at progressive dot com. Progressive casualty Prince Company and affiliates national annual average insurance savings by new customers surveyed who saved with progressive between June two thousand and twenty and may two thousand and twenty one potential savings will vary discounts and are not available in all states in situations This episode is sponsored by indeed, indeed, makes it easy to hire great talent, and you can do it all in one place. Which is why more than three million businesses worldwide use, indeed to hire great talent fast
start hiring. Now, with a seventy five dollars sponsor job credit to upgrade your job post at indeed dot com song song exploder. Offer is valid through March thirty, first good, indeed, dot com, slash song, exploder too, I am your seventy five dollar credit before March thirty, first, indeed, dot com, slash song, exploiter terms and conditions apply, need to hire you need. Indeed, Mustafa is a singer songwriter and poet from Toronto he gained national recognition in Canada. For his poetry in two thousand and sixteen he served on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Youth Advisory Council. As a songwriter, he contributed the Grammy award, winning album Starboy by the Weeknd, and it's written songs for Usher, Camila, Cabello and others in May.
Two thousand and twenty one. He released his own debut album called when smoke rises. Inspired by his experiences losing friends to inner city violence, his albums been critically acclaimed and it was shortlisted for the Polaris prize. I spoke to miss. about a song air, its track. He made with his longtime collaborator, Grammy winning producer, Frank Dukes, plus we d shortest Simon on the moon and Jamie accents. Here's Mustapha on song exploded the my name. Is it. I was raised in Regent park, it's the first. Enlarge housing project in Canada. It's
right at the center of downtown Toronto, a short walk. away from the busiest intersection in Canada yet commute Like any conventional hood. You know there's like systemic barriers, education, There is not a lot of open roads, but that made for the closeness of community that, like you, just didn't, get elsewhere. My life, for the record, was incredibly immersed in how I was going to preserve the stories of my community and I remember when air forces came to me. I was editing this short film on violence in the city and I m viewed people from communities that we have been at war with four years and communities that are like pray. The clean mirrors of mine people, just like me that are experiencing the same kind of grief that I'm experiencing, but it was
hard for me to familiarize with them at all. You know because of this territorial warfare, but up and was when I was working on the shore from my interviewed people, and I was a to ask him a simple question of how they want to be remembered when they're no longer here and how they want their friends to be remembered I just want them to remember me by, like I, my brother's keeper, like you know what I mean, I'm always somebody that is going to be there for her for the next matter and be there for my sister, be there for my mother, you like me, I want to be remembered as somebody that that's a good mark on them, not just the negative vibe, just something that they can take from to you know what I mean see if she needs something that we can have and it's longer than him, I was looking at like the faces and interviews of people. Communities like mine? Looking their softness and their sensitivity. Coming out as the answer the question of how they want to be remembered and in
I found a kind of empathy. You know that I think I was bereft of and a lot of the rage that I felt and the frustrations I felt about the system and about other people, Do that, if inflicted harm on my community when that rage started to dissipate. That's when I was able to approach that song. I actually have the original air Airforces vocal, recording that court on my phone, the more you prefer. Alone I remember, sat in the studio. a friend, Simon husband, we were, listening to a Nick Drake just try, Take a merce myself in force, I'm I loved after that, it just started like writing, chords, the I came to me was don't crease your air forces just stay inside tonight.
Dog ufos. I stay home. This time you know those are the worst. I can. to me, and then I knew that I was like exploring some being honest. You know It's a Simon he just as like a beautiful human being in the south to like the open, I human to make mistakes before him. I was with manager in London and I played him this song and he was like whoa we have to bring Simon to London and we just wrote songs together every day and slowly. The project came together,
donkeys, you just stay inside tonight. You know it's happening. I just took part perspective of like the caregiver, and it is a thought that comes to me all the time, but I was really thinking about the mothers in the community and the kind of like on. manageable weight that they feel when their son step out into a world that they know was not built or are designed to protect them, and then I was I think we have to take it further. Emigrants continued described this person described the narrative by way of, like maybe even material things, and so that was described a chain of like you know it it's okay, but you tuck your chain, you say it's okay, but you touch your back if they take it alone It was almost like. I was choosing four chords
and doing what my friends were wrappers rappers do when they hear B beat because I've been in was wrapped sessions for so many years of my life. I was just doing the same exact thing except I was taking a different good form- and I was just like ok cool like let me describe my life like. Let me describe what's going on. Let me describe loss Are you how few gives us? Unless you don't? You know the flows sober? you go where just know that I care lot. who was killed. Britain idea had when those just those guitar parts in my voice. That's how It's already. The song I kind of resisted the idea of like producing the song out, but then I'm, like you know, after Having some conversations
I knew that I had a responsibility to take it to apple. Sonically that also felt progressive. Then we just cannot filtered, they get tars and then added like you. No kind of this rhythm. Frank Dukes was the executive producer of the record. He's like closest collaborator, Frank, dukes, I met when I was eighteen years old. It's just a minute city of MECCA. I really admire the work that you do and, and he said to come and me with me, and he was nervous that I was going to come and want to do poetry, and I was nervous that he thought that I wanted to come and do poetry we start to explore. Songs together, you know, that's when I
the young. I learned a lot from him throughout the years of just making music. with him and we we want a lot of songs for other people together and I was Frank that I wanted to tap into what the sonnets of my nubian culture was, because I think it was. Something that informed a lot of what the communities look like and feel like, and I hear my mother singing these melodies and these words as she's washing dishes and a one told onto that, and I wanted it to be a part of the narrative So we were listening to like the sudanese songs of burial and war. I love the and I was like oh. This is amazing because it's like these are like that That would be shared when the men would return from war and then here, I am taking out a perspective of like what it feels like When the young, boys and girls are stepping out into the war.
Autos parallels were incredible, and so, when that project came to me by way of Frank, it was like kind of inevitable that it was going to be a. of the song The. Jamie XX found a Mickey Newbury sample I didn't even know it was Mickey Newbury when he first played it and Mickey Newbury being like such a beautiful folk singer, I was happy that we were able to leave him into the song the in the second verse. I was just flooring. What
our lives and our more well in survival, can look like in a community like Regent Park. What are we even Dustin, where we have love children who raised a battery? It truthfully It's like it doesn't matter. we're putting on the chain or if you have the gunners, you don't it's like we're all vulnerable. state violence, we're to the poison of poverty. You know that a poison of I'd blackness in so many other things exploring I was so necessary for me in the second verse, these into intersections, where we been captain I want keeps us when I was writing the background vocals on air forces. I just wanted to be subtle and I wanted to be gentle, and I just wanted to feel almost like I'd suggest, lifting
technically more than anything else, and so I wonder why God keeps us alive. I wanted that to lift even in the slightest as that's why I chose to like find like or subtle harmony there. A word throughout the song. I wanted it to feel that it was, of course, about this deep care that I have ended. It's a love letter that I'm writing for my brothers in the hood, but also this letter I wrote as a reminder to myself of, like the condition of this community, just know that I care a los Que Na Leo Oh boo, boo I've got it forgotten seeping sleeping for years after the debate. with each friend, you know
Insomnia continually got the best of me. And for so many people it is that way you can get. on any given moment in the night. You just don't know. That's going to be. The final call you received from someone Frank Dukes is singing on that part of air forces. Of course she filtered it put a lot of things on his voice an instrument and when he did- and I decided that I was going to just find a harmony over what he did. We wanted to
song to feel like it was at a climax. You mean that now, like all the voices of kind of joint together, you know the voices of newbie my own voice I this song ends with my friends voice, her close friend and empathy, and I called him- and I said I need you to describe what the walk home feels like a couple of kids running around playing games that don't mind riding around if you step outside of your household in the hood most times, it's like you're walking quickly. You have to be alert and you get an opportunity to like to appreciate- the existence of your home community. You know I can, Amber faintly what it was like when we were younger, because when near a younger, we freer
and so that's when he's to describe seems to me like when I walk out. You know, like I see the Green Box, she put children right of baked in Europe. We must have an hour at Green Box. Yeah. It was like an entire universe in this open circle, like a backyard and swear a lot of my first experience This is took place, it was like, a first time using a water gun. My first time watching my cat, the outside of the home, is little things, but I was thinking that I couldn't focus on later on it, and so I just one They are to be an account of what that was from someone that lived there. After experiencing the kind of traumas,
did the community in my idea of the community, my relationship with the community transformed completely, and I think that in the effort of even having puppies voice the end, it was to try to return to what it felt like in the beginning, cracking up I do feel like I'm incredibly bitter at sometimes bitter I could have to write the songs. I will never forgive them the commission's, who announced to death. So my friends using day mugshots. I will never forgive them for that. The fact that, people. My community about people I myself couldn't even grieve, is: something that I'm going to have to try and make peace,
with for the rest of my life, I'm just trying to chase as quickly and as purposefully as I can humanity. if I can, and when sauce Unindicted Psych I made myself and the people around me a little more humane than than me
it wasn't all in vain and now here's air forces stuff in its entirety.
don't you just saw tonight, you know what's happening You, ok, the kids won't see. I know the the the the kid
where we can do so. the we have the The They think I knew
I just know that running around like a normal running around right. It makes much much running up to learn more visit song.
loader dot net, Slash, Mustapha, you'll find links to buy or stream air forces, and you can watch the music video song. Exploder is sponsored by Dave's killer, bread. I actually love Dave's killer bread, but they gave me a script reads: oh period is attention shoppers we now have taste in the bread, Aisle Dave's bread, that's right and organic bread, that's no longer a sedative for your taste buds days killer. Bread is on a mission to make the most of the loaf. to rid the world of Gmos, high fructose corn syrup and artificial ingredients and plant the seeds of good and all the they killer, taste killer, texture. Always organic Dave's killer, bread, bread!
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-27.