Kele has announced details of his fifth solo album ‘The Waves Pt. 1’ and shared a new single in the form of ‘Smalltown Boy’.
The track is a cover of Bronski Beat’s 1984 song and follows the March release of ‘The Heart Of The Wave’, which also features on the new album.
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‘The Waves Pt. 1’ will be released on May 28 via Kele’s own label KOLA Records and !K7. It was written and recorded over the last year as the musician became a stay-at-home dad and saw his other projects be cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic.
“In the rare moments of down time I would go up to my music room and play the guitar, looping myself, making this wall of sound,” he said in a press release. “It became a type of therapy for me, something to calm me down as it seemed like the whole world was losing its head.”
The record was also inspired by Kele’s long walks around London, which became a nocturnal habit for him during lockdown, and was originally planned to be instrumental. “After [2019 album] ’2042’ I knew that I wanted a break from writing words,” he explained.
“Although making that record had been rewarding it had also at times been quite traumatic for me, as I was forced to examine a lot of my own personal fears and anxieties about race relations in this country and the US. I made ‘2042’ in 2019, so when those same discussions about race came into sharp focus after the death of George Floyd in 2020 I personally felt that I needed a break from the heaviness, I knew that whatever I did next musically would need to cleanse me.”
Listen to ‘Smalltown Boy’ above and see the tracklist for ‘The Waves Pt. 1’ below.
‘Message From The Spirit World’
‘They Didn’t See It Coming’
‘The Way We Live Now’
‘How To Beat The Lie Detector’
‘The One Who Held You Up’
‘From A Place Of Love’
‘The Heart Of The Wave’
‘Cradle You (Bonus Track)’
Last year, Kele shared a new song called ‘Melanin’, which “questions the idea of race and education in Britain”. At the time of the song’s release, the musician spoke about the need to use education to “dismantle the racial division” in the UK.
“We all need to study a syllabus that tells the truth about the reality of Britain’s colonial past, that isn’t just a celebration of the ‘glory days’ but that looks unflinchingly at the horrors this country has perpetrated in the name of empire,” he said. “For if we are to learn anything from Britain’s past, we need to have an honest and open dialogue with it.”