Independent Artist of the Week: MALi JO$E

October 20th 2022

  • MALi JO$E :: Interview with Lill Scott

Energising hip hop beats and down to earth lyrics mirror the energy and honesty brimming from the unstoppable MALi JO$E. In conversation with Up For It!’s Lill Scott, the 20 year old reflected on choosing a career in music, while staying true to himself in the process, and life as a local of Fremantle. 

From Talib Kweli to Erykah Badu, Mali was immersed in a variety of genres from a young age.

“Dad is a really big hip hop head, my mum is big on RnB and soul… Reggae and world music were also big influences.” 

The breadth of Mali’s music reflects the influence he grew up with, including Tame Impala and Pond

“These are the type of guys that you see on the street… To dive into their essence and the heritage of the place I’m from really inspired and shaped the artist I am today. [Fremantle] is a melting pot of genres.”

Being open-minded and trusting the process are central components of Mali’s approach to his music career. When he was 17, Mali turned away from playing high level sport to focus on music. 

I think there was always something that made me want to pursue art and expression in general. The journey has led me here, I’m nothing short of grateful, it’s been amazing so far.” 

Although the decision to follow music was obvious to Mali, the route to success wasn’t as clear cut.

“There’s no formula, apart from free will and being yourself… a direct representation of who we are is embodied in the songs we make.”

While Mali sees authenticity as crucial to making music, producing songs that are a direct representation of his true self hasn’t always been effortless. 

“It was daunting at first but I really think my first EP was a step away from being scared anymore. The ripple effect from that EP changed me as an artist completely. I wasn’t scared anymore, I wasn’t trying to conform to anything, but just do what I wanted to do.”

It is this fearless commitment to being true to oneself that Mali recommends to upcoming artists.

“Don’t feel like you have to cater to a wave or a trend. As artists we should realise the power we have individually and in unison. Support other artists, but don’t forget to support yourself as well…back yourself to the fullest and be yourself truly and fully.”

Mali’s new five-track tape, Sunseeker will drops next week. Featuring a lead single produced in collaboration with London-based artist Len, the tape is sure to be fresh and full of energy. In the meantime, stream ‘CLOUDS’ below or listen back to MALi JO$E’s full interview with Lill Scott up top.