CMU Approved

Approved: Kelela – A Message

By | Published on Wednesday 4 March 2015


I guess we could be accused of ‘banging on’ about Kelela, this being her fifth appearance in the Approved column, either solo or as a collaborator, in less than a year and half. She really is very good though. And this is the first time I’ve personally written about her, so let’s call it a clean slate. Actually no, shut up, you just try getting to the end of all this and tell me ‘A Message’ wasn’t worthy of approval. You won’t be able to do it.

The track is a collaboration with Arca, of whom Kelela says: “I met Arca on a boat. For about ten minutes I stood afar trying to think of what to say… and then finally walked up to him. With zero cool I go, ‘Oh my God, you’re Arca’. To which he replied, ‘Oh my God, I’ve been trying not to stare at you for the past fifteen minutes! Wanna work together?'”

She continues: “[We] made an appt for 12pm the next day but I got impatient on my way home and texted, ‘Do you think you could do 11am? I’m too excited’. And then he said, ‘I was gonna suggest 10am but I thought it was too early!’ This is the energy ‘A Message’ was born out of”.

And that energy is absolutely apparent. ‘A Message’ may be slow in tempo, downbeat of lyric, and filled with a dark atmosphere, but that excitement the duo had in creating it still comes through. It leaps out of the speakers and then dances slowly for four wonderful minutes.

The video for ‘A Message’ was premiered by i-D yesterday, and the track is taken from Kelela’s new EP, ‘Hallucinogen’, which is out on 5 May. You’ll be able to catch Kelela at various live dates in the coming months, including The Great Escape on 14 May and at XOYO in London on 26 May. Cool.