Video

Mirel Wagner Performs Haunting Ballads Live On KEXP

Ethiopian-born Finnish folk singer Mirel Wagner performs haunting ballads off 'When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day' live at KEXP.


While on tour in Seattle last month in support of her stunning new album When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day, Ethiopian-born Finnish folk singer Mirel Wagner stopped by KEXP to spin her haunting ballads live on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters. Wagner, who signed earlier this year with Seattle's iconic Sub Pop, performed four songs off the record, including album openers "1 2 3 4" and "The Dirt" plus "What Love Looks Like" and "Taller Than Tall Trees." Speaking on the role of sadness in her work, Wagner recently told us:

"There’s nothing sort of wrong with melancholy. Sadness is sort of like pathetic and sort of boring. But it’s all human emotion. I find wonderful the feedback that I get when I write and perform and record these kinds of songs. Some people come to me and tell me that they can relate to these songs, and first what you sort of think is, “Oh, these songs are sad,” and so on. But the amount of people who feel that they can connect and feel while listening to these songs tells that these songs and themes, this sort of discussion, is important and necessary for people."

When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day is out now on Sub Pop. Watch Mirel Wagner perform four songs off the album below. For more from KEXP catch Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers play live in studio.

>>>Read: ‘But It’s All Human Emotion,’ An Interview With Mirel Wagner

Interview

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Interview: JAE5 Is Crafting London's Distinct Diasporic Sound

We talk to the buzzing producer about his Grammy win alongside Burna Boy, his work with J Hus and the ever-looming influence of Ghana.