Neo-soul singer Magi Merlin shares thought-provoking music video
Image credit: Feng Jiang
After courting a cult following with her underground EPs Drug Music, On My Way to the Listening Party, and subsequent singles, the ever-mysterious Canadian artist, Magi Merlin (pronounced MADGE-eye) is following up the FADER, Line of Best, COLORS, NME, Complex, CBC and CLASH-tipped single, “Free Grillz” with her new track “Pissed Black Girl”. Alongside the new music, Magi is sharing details of her new EP, Gone Girl which is out via Bonsound / AWAL on May 27, 2022. She will be opening for Noga Erez in the UK/EU next month while also ticking off dates as part of The Great Escape before returning to Canada to open for Sudan Archives.
Merlin grew up in Saint-Lazare, Canada. It’s a place that may sound unfamiliar to most, but rest assured it is a lot closer to home than you realize. A wet dream created by people like Nixon in the ‘70s, a place for white folks, by white folks. The suburbs are the epitome of “normal” unless, of course, you replace white with Black, straight with Queer, that is when normalcy is challenged. This, amongst other subjects — such as the impact of capitalism on art, nepotism, and the duality of the relationship one has in taking pleasure to belong to those things while rejecting them all. That is what drives and inspires the creative universe behind Gone Girl – Merlin’s latest and most audacious effort to date.
The EP draws on influences from ‘90s house, drum and bass, Motown, to acid-flecked hip hop. Merlin’s voice, alongside longtime collaborator, Funkywhat’s recognizable production style, reminds you of a smoky after-hours club – if the windows were shattered by bass lines, the walls leveled by 808s. The self-described “cheeky nihilist” combines jazzy scats, raps, and breakbeats together in her musical cauldron to address issues like generational angst, fake friends and casual racism.
“Pissed Black Girl” pushes that high-energy fever dream even further. The song channels pent-up frustration from years of dealing with faux white progressives and transforms it into an ecstatic, cathartic, life-affirming dance floor anthem — one that subverts the tired trope of the angry Black woman.
Speaking about the new single, Magi says: “I wrote this song summer 2020. I was made to really look at my identity as a Black woman and what that identity means to the people I surround myself with. I didn’t realize a lot of the people I had around me at the time that identified as progressive, leftist, and “allies” were not as supportive as they made themselves out to be. Talking with them just resulted in arguments instead of compassion and understanding. This made me very angry and the only thing I was able to do to vent my frustrations and arrive at some form of catharsis was by singing about it.
The title of the track references a story an ex-friend recounted to me as well as what I and many other black women who speak their minds are reduced to an “angry black woman”. This ex-friend told me about a time they went to a predominantly white party in the suburbs and one of the party-goers, while staring out onto the front lawn of the house, said: “wow, there’s a N***er on the lawn” – one of many atrocious acts that go unchecked in white suburbia and various other white spaces. If there is anything I’ve learned from my experiences with ignorant and bigoted people, it is how unapologetic I need to be about my existence. I’m a girl; I am pissed and I’m Black. What about it?”
Merlin began releasing last year earning early support from the likes of CRACK Magazine. Since those days, her music has developed building from neo-soul into something harder hitting touching at times on rap, dance and electronica. We’ll have more tour dates to announce from Magi shortly.
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