Kae Tempest is a songwriter, rapper, an award-winning poet, and best-selling novelist. They’ve been nominated for the UK’s Mercury Prize and Brit Award. Their most recent album is The Line is a Curve, which came out earlier this year. It was executive produced by legendary producer Rick Rubin. Kae made the album alongside their longtime collaborator, producer Dan Carey. I talked to Kae and Dan about the song “Move.” You’ll hear the first demo they made, which sounds basically nothing like the final version. In this episode, they talk about how it evolved. Kae’s own life changed a lot during that period. They came out as trans and non-binary in 2020, and this song, in part, helps tell the story of what they were going through.
Sudan Archives is a singer, songwriter, producer, and violinist. She grew up in Cincinnati before moving to LA. Her music has been called “viscerally gorgeous” by The Guardian, and “stunning” by Pitchfork, who gave her in ‘Best New Music.’ This year, she’s releasing her second album, and one of the tracks on it is “Selfish Soul.” She told me the idea for this song started when she asked her boyfriend, James (who is the rapper Nocando) to shave her head. Cutting off her hair made her reflect on her whole hair story, from experiences she had as a kid, to the cultural and racial issues that have historically surrounded Black women’s hair.
Maia from mxmtoon released her first EP in 2018. She was 18 and recorded it in her bedroom, and self-released it. It went on to be streamed over 100 million times. This year, she put out her second album, Rising. And in this episode, she breaks down her song “Mona Lisa.” She told me about how different it is from the songs she used to write when she was teenager. And how she found something authentic and honest by connecting with a part of herself from even earlier in her life.