“You are limitless”: these three words are the ones that have driven music into revolution and evolution for years, and they are the ones that have made Mysie who she is now. Although just 23 years of age, the artist’s creative journey has come leaps and bounds already, as she seeks to reach new levels with every song, and new spaces with every message. “You learn from your songs, like writing poems, it’s cathartic”, Mysie tells us, and now she’s ready to share her discovery with the world.
Heading into the spotlight back when she was 16, Mysie (my-zee) began her journey as Lizbet Sempa, a singer-songwriter and pianist creating music that was powerful and rich, but as the creations were formed the personal pieces didn’t seem to fit together. “I’m not that anymore”, Mysie explains, “I was put into a box: a young, black, soulful singer-songwriter…There are elements of that identity I’m bringing to Mysie, but it’s much more freeing than that. Now, it’s about expression.” By blending her otherworldly voice with sharp new sounds, the freedom her new character has found has enabled the talent to reach new heights.
Whether it be searching for new musical structures and not following the basic formula – reordering verses and choruses, mixing up hooks and intros – or creating experiential visuals, Mysie is all about progress.
Focused on the freedom music provides, and rejecting the genres and stereotypes its industry seeks to enforce, her new project emphasises that this is one without limits. Full of hope, understanding and authenticity, Mysie’s debut EP entitled Chapter 11 was a step into the abyss. Taking on lust, love, life and the complexities that come with them in four vital tracks: ‘Doves’, ‘Fall Away’, ‘Rocking Chair’ and ‘Take Your Love’.
Whether experimenting with unorthodox keyboard combinations in ‘Take Your Love’ or immersing us into the deeply consuming synths of ‘Doves’, Mysie’s sonic intensity is unparalleled: the heart wrenching integrity of her voice is succinctly mirrored in bone shattering beats, as well as poignant piano moments.
Drawing inspiration from one track in particular when developing her own project – ‘On the Level’ by Mac DeMarco – Mysie was moved by the experimental nature that even popular music can have, and sought to channel this integral creativity into her own work. Honing in on her own diverse influences, from the daring psychedelic innovation of Thundercat to the vibrant fervency of N.E.R.D, Mysie’s evocatively playful style seamlessly draws together her inspirations and her distinctive individuality.
From the get-go, music has run through Mysie’s blood: brought up the granddaughter of a renowned Ugandan jazz musician, creativity has surrounded and become a part of her. Growing up as a second-generation immigrant in London, Mysie was immersed in the powerful history of her culture as the African scores pumped themselves into her work and her life alike, from the sounds of the Congolese singer, producer and composer Koffi Olomide to the inheritance of her grandfather’s dynamic cadence. “It’s a part of me naturally”, she describes, “that underlying African rhythm and that untouchable sensation”.
Mysie’s profile has grown at a pace since the release of her Chaper 11 only a few months ago, and she continues to be as purposeful and as authentic as can be in a world ever full of fake news and censored views. Though her music has evolved as a healing process, it emerges for the masses: it’s as interpretative as it is succinct, and she’s already seeing the fruits of that creativity. Paramount to building her platform is taking control of her image and no longer sitting in the shadows. This new project places Mysie centre stage.
Chapter 11 is a debut EP where what you see is as significant as what you hear, with each of the four captivating tracks accompanied by an equally thought provoking visual. Working with director Dorothy Kay, the rising star found her character and her vision through the evocative creativity of film: “I was surrounded by these incredible women, who had come together to be with me to create something, it was very emotional…I really realised who Mysie was after that shoot”. As ethereal as her presence is, the artist found a way to consolidate herself into a sensation she could share with the world, “the things that come into my head when I create my songs are almost otherworldly…It is quite bizarre to share those things, but I really want to do that, we’re telling a story here, I want people to see who I am.”
This new stage is an awakening. Whilst it is Mysie’s coming into our world, it is also her cathartic end to an era, and it’s been a long time coming. Working through problems both personal and universal through the power of music, the subjects touched in the artist’s moving debut allowed it to be as overwhelmingly intimate as it feels to take in, as well as presenting itself to be devastatingly relatable for its listener. The three tracks released from Chapter 11 have already seen the national media enthralled by Mysie, with the likes of BBC 6 Music, NME, Hunger Magazine, The 405, Clash, London In Stereo, Line of Best Fit and many, many more heralding her as one of the most unique and captivating new artists of 2019.
With an intimate live version of Take Your Love – again accompanied another stunning video – just released to yet more acclaim, and brand new music imminent, Mysie is proving herself to be as much a unique character as she is a kindred sentiment: she is all of us, she is freedom, she is limitless.
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