Mykki Blanco – “Steps” (Feat. MNEK & Saul Williams)

Irakli Gabelaia

Mykki Blanco – “Steps” (Feat. MNEK & Saul Williams)

Irakli Gabelaia

Last month, Mykki Blanco announced a new album, Stay Close To Music, a companion piece to last year’s Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep that was recorded around the same time. It features previously released collaborations with Kelsey Lu, Michael Stipe, Diana Gordon, and Devendra Banhart. Today, Mykki is sharing another new song that appears on it, “Steps,” and it features MNEK and Saul Williams. Mykki said the following in statement:

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.

In many ways “Steps” symbolizes 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 – throughout “Stay Close To Music” I play with this tension. Are these poems masquerading as pop songs?  Is it the tension itself that makes the spiritual dimension in these moments shine through prismatic and lingering through the air, lingering through the ethers of sound, wrapping around you unafraid to be contemplative while tapping your foot to the ground?  When I first became comfortable with the production on “Steps” the synths, the bells, the electronic harp like moments reminded me of a scene from a Spike Lee film which are always so orchestral and “Steps” felt profoundly cinematic. 

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 an sonic sensibilities on “Stay Close To Music” and here I was with someone I looked up to having 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. 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.

Listen below.

Stay Close To Music is out 10/14 via Transgressive.

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