Every generation, an artist of astounding talent comes around, bringing an exhilarating and exceptional sound that shakes up the industry. Mali Music is that artist. His dynamic musical genius and undeniable creativity proves he is blessed with a gift that is hard to duplicate. Mali Music is more than a contemporary gospel artist with an R&B foundation, he is an anointed force of nature, and his expressive, soulful, and beautifully rich body of work is a testament to that.
With his latest album The Book Mali, slated for release later this summer, the GRAMMY®-nominated singer/songwriter/musician/producer is poised for even more success. The 12-track compilation (the first project under the partnership between Mali's imprint K Approved Enterprises and RCA Inspiration) is a breathtaking collection of Mali's most candid, soul-stirring work to date. Full of bold, hypnotic beats, and compelling, emotive lyrics, The Book of Mali not only showcases Mali's growth as an artist, but also as a man of profound faith and reflection.
The album's first single, "Let Go," is a thought-provoking track, written by Mali and produced by David "D1" Grant, Jr., that tackles the everyday temptations people face and how the power of God can help overcome them. Grant also lends his production prowess to "All Nite," a high-energy, soul clapping track, that has the ability to transport any listener to the front pews of a church during a lengthy, vivacious praise session, as well as the "Lord's Will," another banger on which Mali croons, "I get it done 'cause it's the Lord's will/Told me He would come, I trust the Lord still/Any other spitting, it's the Lord's will/Quick to say you won't, I know the Lord will."
There are so many gems on The Book of Mali and each song, all penned by Mali, is an expressive chapter into his brilliant artistry. "World Record," (also produced by Mason) is an enchanting, introspective drill-inspired track where Mali sings, "World record, record for the world, quick to take the wrongs and correct it." The ballad "Cry," in which Mali shows his incredible guitar skills, is one of the most riveting, visceral songs on the album. "I am led by the spirit of God, and it was just me on the guitar in the studio and the lyrics were there," he says. "When I got to chorus, and the adlibs began to come and the tears began to fall, I could just see the world really forming."
Mali says The Book of Mali is a cool story with songs so full of depth that you just can't breeze past them, but actually, his entire catalog is comprised of songs you can't just breeze past. With rousing, uplifting lyrics over gritty, raw beats, Mali's remarkable vocal range and his unique and versatile mix of gospel, R&B, and hip-hop, takes each listener on a transcendent, spiritual ride that is powerful and unforgettable. In 2008, as an underground artist, he released his independent debut album, The Coming, followed by his valiant sophomore effort, 2econd Coming, a year later. In 2014, Mali dropped the powerfully moving and critically acclaimed Mali Is..., his first mainstream album after inking a deal with ByStorm Entertainment/RCA Records. The album peaked at number 2 on the Billboard and R&B chart and earned Mali a GRAMMY® nod for Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Gospel Performance/Song for "Beautiful," the stirring and affective lead single. Mali Is helped Mali successfully bridge the gap between the secular and sanctified, followed by the Transition of Mali in 2017, which exhibited his evolution as an artist expanding outside of his gospel background.
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, to a military mother, Kortney Jamaal "Mali Music" Pollard moved around a lot as a child before settling in Savannah, Georgia, and establishing his roots at a local church, where his love for gospel music and performing were born. He longed to play the keyboard in the church's band and the fact that he didn't know how to, did not stop him. "I didn't even have the ability to play the piano, but I knew that I had a gift and a level of excellence set in me by the spirit of God," he says. "I was one of the kids waiting in line to play the keyboard and drums with six guys in front of me. I just had this urge to serve the Lord with my music."
At the age of 11, a pastor finally gave him the opportunity he yearned for. "He gave me the chance to play although I knew nothing," Mali remembers. "I live for the Lord, so I didn't even care if learning to play was difficult or not." He became part of the band, taught himself to play the keyboards and drums, and by 12 years old, Mali was creating and arranging his own material as his church's minister of music, never missing a single rehearsal or church service. It was that drive, resolve, and focus that would eventually help open doors for Mali.
He began writing his own material with aspirations of his songs one day hitting the radio waves. Once he received Pro Tools digital audio software for his 16th birthday, he produced CDs containing his original songs and gave them out to family and friends. Soon after, he began uploading his songs to MySpace, where he developed a large following, as well as Facebook. With the help of his mother, who became his manager, Mali began performing at various venues and showcases, determined to familiarize the world with his eclectic, refreshing sound. He took a courageous step and released his first two albums independently, but it was his momentous performance at the 2011 BET Awards on the Music Matters stage that captured national buzz and helped him land meetings with Akon and other music executives impressed by Mali's indisputable talent. Two years later, all the hard work paid off when he signed with ByStorm Entertainment/RCA, headed by the illustrious producer/manager Mark Pitts, who helped bring Mali into the mainstream with the release of Mali Is.... That also led to collaborations with artists such as Snoop Dogg, Jazmine Sullivan, Tye Tribbett, Lecrae, Kim Burrell, and Jhene Aiko on the track "Contradiction," for the soundtrack of Spike Lee's 2015 film, Chi-Raq.
Mali is now on his way to becoming a household name, if he isn't already. With his new album and his exciting partnership with RCI Inspiration, Mali Music is enthusiastic and ready to take his career to the next level. "RCAI told me, 'Mali if you're going to create content, we're going to put a bow on it and release.' That is so beautiful and powerful to me because it says I don't have to prove myself to them. And that made the partnership worth doing," he says.
According to Mali, The Book of Mali is much different than his previous albums. "I made it differently and I wrote the hell out of it. I spent a lot of time with the words and I believe all of the songs are going to invoke the response, 'He is different, Mali is growing,'" he says. "I am encouraging people to go through the album like a book. It has one title, one thesis, but several strands to the story. It's like healing, in the form of a book."
Mali Music, who hopes to one day preach and oversee a facility where there is constant worship, is a gospel artist first and foremost, but he will not be put in a box. He loves the freedom of creating amazing music, no matter if it has a gospel, R&B, hip-hop, or rock feel to it. As long as it lifts the soul, that's all that matters. "What I love the most about my career overall, is the fact that I've had the opportunity to deliver sentiments that I am OK with living on forever," says Mali. "I'm so happy with my work and so pleased with the music I've been able to release. I have the chance to continue the work and that is a blessing from God."
Mali's the best| Posted December 10, 2012
I have so many questions to ask Mali and the answer to just one of them would be the best and most perfect birthday gift for me. Mali Music Feels divine and he has so much Music in him, that when he sings I could almost visualize live notes. He has the Truth in its purest form.God Bless Mali.
AMAZING| Posted November 17, 2009
AMAZING is all I can say about Mali Music. I've had this CD for about a week and it's all I listen to. I have it on my computer, phone and IPOD. I sleep, eat and breath Mali Music. This CD literally speaks to my mind and soul. I LOVE YAHWEH and I Hate You. "The 2econd Coming" has a neosoul feel to it, but it's all Christian based music. I even let my 6yr old niece listen to the CD. It's a must have!!!! Everyone should get a copy or two of this CD.