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Mykki Blanco links with MNEK and Saul Williams on new single "Steps"

09 August 2022, 14:52 | Written by Cerys Kenneally

Mykki Blanco has recruited MNEK and Saul Williams for their latest Stay Close To Music single "Steps".

"Steps" featuring MNEK and Saul Williams is the fourth taster of Mykki Blanco's Stay Close To Music album, following last month's Kelsey Lu collaboration "French Lessons", "Your Love Was a Gift" featuring Diana Gordon and Sam Buck and Michael Stipe collaboration "Family Ties".

"I think a song like "Steps" is a testament to what can happen when three very unique artists are given time to create a meditation together - to respond to one another when the moment is right - almost like the lines of a haiku - maybe "Steps" is a prayer unique in its ability to transcend and transform and provide peace without necessarily providing an answer," Mykki Blanco explains. "In many ways "Steps" symbolises a pointed progression in my songwriting. I think as a songwriter I was not always willing to be so vulnerable. I finally feel I have lived enough, lived long enough and lived through enough to speak simply, plainly and find in the zen-like simplicity something honest and true and pure. "Steps" is written as a diary entry to myself. It is naked in its delivery and it functions much more as a poem than a pop song."

They continue, "There are certain people I have waited to collaborate with my entire career and Saul Williams is one of those people. In many ways, there is a musical lineage that Saul is a part of, that he himself spearheaded, that I feel a very close connection with. I remember sitting in his beautiful home in Laurel Canyon California having lunch with him and his wife and thinking about how blessed their place felt, so much history on that land. I kept thinking about how the music of David Crosby was such a huge inspiration for so much of my own songwriting and sonic sensibilities on Stay Close To Music and here I was with someone I looked up to having a wonderful conversation, learning about everything Saul had going on, his new film, his first time working as a director, concerts he was doing with the LA philharmonic, just a creative polymath and he was so charming, and excited and at peace."

"MNEK is a musical powerhouse, composing some of the best dance music of the last decade not only for himself but a slew of other pop stars," Mykki Blanco adds. "The voice, the talent, the songwriting, MNEK is truly a force to be reckoned with and is such a stand out artist I was truly nervous when I reached out to him to collaborate. We met in his home in London. I think this was key to understanding if there was a vibe, if we felt the energy between us could coalesce in a natural way. So much of what has made Stay Close To Music so important is the time involved, the time that was natural and not forced and allowed for such peace and such organic collaborations. It is so rare that artists are allowed this time, it is so rare that artists are given this much space."

Stay Close To Music is made up of songs written in Lisbon, Paris, New York, Chicago and LA over the past few years. Other songs from the same sessions appeared on Mykki Blanco's 2021 mini-album Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep.

"Steps" featuring MNEK and Saul Williams is out now. Mykki Blanco's Stay Close To Music album will arrive 14 October via Transgressive, and is available to pre-order now.
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