Mekele is a Canadian artist whose unique music style has no room for labels. Believing in love and healing through sound, Mekele has been producing and writing material for his debut album for more than two years. Just a few weeks after the official release of Nocturne, we decided to talk to Mekele and find out more about his journey as a contemporary artist.
As an artist, if you could put your sound in a box and the label it, what would that be?
I think labelling it would be the toughest task, since I draw inspiration from many types of music; from pop to classical and rap to experimental noise. I believe in timelessness and being all encompassing and not putting a label on anything if it doesn’t need one.
It has only been a month that you released your first EP, Nocturne. Was it an easy process?
I’ve been working on Nocturne for almost two years now. Producing and writing was a huge experience cause at some point you find yourself second guessing every move you make, but it taught me how to deal with being over-controlling and indecisive. When I finally decided to launch it, I felt a sense of closure; an incredible and highly addictive feeling that makes me want to release something new very soon.
Your work is characterized by its distinctive use of soft operatic vocals. What are you trying to achieve through this technique?
I’m interested in healing through sound. I always feel the need to compose something that is meant to soothe. I used to be in a choir and I remember how all the voices in harmony would vibrate the air and instantly give me shivers. I always try to capture and share that feeling.
You recently lend your sound to the Spring 13 show of Rad Hourani. Is it within your intentions to continue having such collaborations?
My very close friend and art director Melissa Matos introduced us a while back and since then it has always been a pleasure working with him as I truly admire what he stands for. I really like his genderless approach to fashion and I feel it works well with my sound. I’d love to collaborate with Domir Doma or Junya Watanabe or keep working with more up and coming designers such as Christian L’Enfant Roi.
Being that your EP’s lead single is chemistry, what in your opinion, are the right ‘ingredients’ to a successful release?
I like to use all the things I’m attracted to. There are no right ingredients, I just take the sounds I enjoy hearing, I place them in order respecting the spectrum, give them love and assume eventually someone else will too.
You have remixed and covered the sound of several contemporary artists such as Rihanna and Jennifer Paige. If you could join forces with any artist for a special EP, who would you choose and why?
There are many I’d love to work with right now, but Kate Bush would be my first choice. From ‘The Kick Inside’ to ’50 Words For Snow’ I’ve always been inclined to having her luscious theatrical sound on my playlist where ever I would go. Anything I do day to day can turn into a huge production in my head while listening to her. I also think we would become really great friends! My other choice would have been Aaliyah.
The elements of light and darkness always seem to have a very important place in your music clips. Do you find them to be essential to the interpretation of your music?
Contrast and juxtapositions are definitely elements that play a very strong role in my music and the way I compose. Whether it’s heavy beats and delicate lyrics or wailing over reverberated soft synths, there is always a need for balance.
What should we expect from you in the near future?
I want to keep discovering other artists with a similar aesthetic to mine, so collaborations are sure to come in result to that. I would like to explore minimalism and play with subtle intricate sounds while keeping things classic yet modern. Touring and drawing inspirations from different cities is the next step on my journey.
Have an exclusive listen to Mekele’s brand new track below;