Few people can say that their musical career was fated. But for Mysie, it certainly seems that cosmic intervention had some part to play in her forging her way. She may well be something of a triple threat as musician, dancer, and actor – “all of those three elements are deeply, deeply important to me as an artist” – but it is music that is nestled in her bones. Her artistry is special: rich, thoughtful vocals, a keenness to explore different avenues, a need to offer insight into her fascinating worldview with every line. As she approaches the release of her new EP, ‘Joyride’, it seems necessary to thank the divine powers that set Mysie on this path.
With an abundance of incredible singers and producers in her family, plus a grandfather harbouring an extensive, impressive musical history, it’s difficult to imagine how Mysie might have even considered veering in another direction. Yet, it was only when she was already in the midst of her career that the inevitability of it really occurred to her. “I discovered more about my grandad and his origins and his musical DNA,” Mysie explains. “He was one of the pioneers of jazz blues in Uganda – he learnt from jazz blues bands in Congo and brought that over. He was an absolute legend. Uganda was quite dangerous in the 50s because of the civil war, so not many people wanted to go to the club and listened to his music. So he learnt samba, and dancing, and salsa. Learning that just solidified more and made me realise that this is what I’m meant to be doing. I’m meant to be carrying on this legacy that my grandad has left behind.”
Her next single to be released, ‘birthstones’, sparkles like the rubies and emeralds for which it was named. Born from a frustrated vent around a dissolving relationship, the track rests on foundational piano but plays with sun-drenched beats that add a signature warmth. Torn from the fabric of who she is, much of the EP follows a similar pattern – meditating on her own situation, in real time, and navigating those feelings through hopeful, ardent tracks. “It’s super connected,” she reflects. “I’m obsessed with love; I’ve always been obsessed with the psychology of it and how it makes you feel. I love to talk about relationships, it’s my sense of healing and it is cathartic to me.”
‘Joyride’ relishes in the turmoil of that love and possesses a self-awareness of love’s impact that resides in every corner of the EP. ‘birthstones’ and its slick reflections on bowing to pressure is only one half of it: elsewhere, the EP works through other, disparate stages in a relationship. It’s a journey, in every sense – almost linear in the way it unfolds, but a journey of understanding too. Pulling on influences from the likes of Sampha’s left-field use of the piano to Steve Lacy’s decompressed guitars, the sonic efforts do justice to the weight of Mysie’s lyrics. “Every single thing in this EP was thought about to the tee. Every single element, every kick drum, every guitar choice, it was a matter of is this necessary? That’s always the question in the studio.”
In her pursuit of creating some purposeful and personal, Mysie has crafted an EP that glows under her touch. A therapeutic means of drawing closer to both herself and her listeners, Mysie has mastered the art of connection and resonance. She’s no longer bottling up those difficult feelings. Instead, she’s bottling pure, contemplative joy and showering her every release with it. Thank the lucky stars for that.
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Catch Mysie at London's Courtyard Theatre on June 16th.
Words: Neive McCarthy
Photo Credit: Laura Zepp
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