61- Mustafa


Age - 26
Los Angeles, United States
The Toronto-born musician is dissecting grief and violence through empathy, lyricism and ‘inner city folk’

Maybe you’re one of those people who hears the words ‘folk music’ and instantly flinches; picturing long-haired boomers strumming about flower power, or the kind of music forced on you by people who put up slacklines in the park. But hear us out, because Mustafa’s brand of folk music is worlds away from all that. Coined ‘inner city folk’, the Toronto born singer, who is Muslim, gently dissects the grief of losing friend after friend to violence, in moving poetry and gentle guitar. His songs are shot through with empathy and a genuine desire to understand what we have in common, and what differentiates us.

Mustafa cut his teeth writing for The Weeknd, Majid Jordan (and, er, the Jonas Brothers) and on his own incredible album When Smoke Rises, he worked with both Jamie xx and Sampha. The James Blake seal of approval (he plays piano on the haunting “Come Back”) should give you some idea of what to expect from Mustafa’s quietly strong vocals and heart-hurting melodies. “To what are we even destined?” he sings on “Air Forces”. Greatness, we reckon. 

Text Kate Solomon

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