Deva Mahal presents powerful new ballad “Stand In”
August 28, 2020
The wisdom of Mahal’s Mother graces this beautiful track – a lesson for us all in replacing fear with love.
Out 28 August, “Stand In” is heavily rooted in Mahal’s upbringing between Hawaii and New Zealand, as well as her Afro-Caribbean heritage and background in American Folk Music. This gentle track with its powerful message was co-produced by Marika Hodgson who describes Mahal as ‘one of the most amazing performers in the world’. Hodgson enhances Deva’s raw emotion, words and performance while delivering the song’s powerful message of self-love.
Mahal was born with blues in her blood. She shares, “I come from a long line of storytellers and musical conjurers”. Her touring includes performances such as a solo show at Carnegie Hall, performing on Later with Jools Holland, and at the Hollywood Bowl, North Sea Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival and Byron Bay Blues Festival. She’s also performed alongside; The Roots, Ceelo Green, Bjork, Etta James, Ledisi, Sharon Jones and the Dap King, TV on the Radio, Living Color, Tedeschi Trucks, Mavis Staples, Meshell Deogeocello and Lizz Wright.
Mahal returned to New Zealand from the States early 2020 on the back of a successful release of her debut studio record Run Deep. However she was struck with devastating medical news which challenged her identity as a woman. Then the pandemic hit which led to her rediscovering her roots and reimagining her future. What emerged was a time of deep healing emotionally and physically and the inspiration to write “Stand In”. This song is an important work because the message is an empowering one that many people can connect with.
In Mahal’s words, “They say that art should reflect the times. “Stand In” comes at a time of increased awareness of the problem of systemic racism and inequality. I am often moved to tears unable to remember a time in my life where race and inequality have been more at the forefront of every news station, social media outlet, blog, television shows etc. In my life, I’ve never known what it feels like to not be aware of my skin colour.”
Mahal shows up for herself and inspires us to join her, in being nobody’s “Stand In”. Watch her video here, courtesy of NZ On Air and directed by Petra Cibilich.