At the intersection of Photoshop, Africa and electro-pop, the creative forces of music artist Taali M and art director Pierre-Christophe Gam have birthed a sound-visual kingdom: www.taali-m.com. The layers stretch far deeper than the art files themselves, as both artists with unique stories bring forth much more than a band page on this 6-month project, released last week. After their meeting in early November last year, during Taali M’s performance in Paris, London-based visual designer Pierre-Christophe was asked to join the team for their music launch. And putting art to the Taali M music maze (from Afro-beats and chanting to ska and electro-pop) was as adventurous as the music itself.
“I started to hang out with Taali M and her team, following her in studio, in rehearsal before shows etc. The point for me was to familiarize myself with her philosophy. I discovered an artist passionate about art, history and culture, and with a strong sense of responsibility in regards to the message in her lyrics. What pleased me even further was to discover how receptive and daring she was. ” – Pierre-Christophe
French-native and travel-raised (Congo, Burkina-Faso), Taali M is no stranger to the social and political complexities of the African diaspora and her heritage rooted in rhythm and ritual. Together with active lyrics and unrivaled beats, the identity of Taali M finds a home in the virtual real estate of Pierre-Christophe’s creativity.
“I decided to create something unique and emotional, which will convey a sense of modernity, while reflecting on her African heritage. A place that will feel like home, where she will be able to share with her audience, her hopes, dreams and aspirations.” – Pierre-Christophe
Aligned with the richness and the rawness of Taali M’s music approach, Pierre-Christophe shares a similar outlook when asked about his thoughts on design and visual culture of today,
“I think that things are moving back toward a kind of expression more emotional and spontaneous than before. I guess the public now understands that everything can be made to look perfect, with the right computer software in hand. The issue with this computer generated absolute perfection is that it lacks in emotion and authenticity. My belief is that we will see more and more artists and designers returning to a more spontaneous and craft based approach. Life is perfect in its imperfection and I believe design is slowly moving in order to reflect the same vulnerability.” (Gam also mentions having taken subtle inspiration from his childhood memories playing the original Mario Bros., look closely.)”
“The electro pop funk scene compared to before is taking less risks; in the past artists such as Fela Kuti, Curtis Mayfield and Yusuf Islam did bring a new breath to music and had a strong message to share. But this touch is hardly found in music nowadays as artists are more cautious and avoid bringing a change that might not be well received.
I grew up in a very musical environment, where music was a federative tool. I see music as something that can reunite people and allow them to mentally free themselves and travel throughout this beautiful world. I would like to send a message of hope, love and on spirituality to my listeners. I want them to find strength within themselves and feel less oppressed by the society we live in; to become the only rulers of their lives.
I see myself as a storyteller; who looks at the way the world evolve and shares personal thoughts on many important sensitive subjects. I am always interested in the regeneration of music, as it shows how we grow as humans and change with time. Music is part of my everyday life, it brings joy and colour to it.”
When asked about how being in Paris has been inspirational in developing music with cultural reflections so distant from her root continent of Africa, Taali M responds,
Paris is a multifaceted artistic city, which inspires my music. From one corner to another I enter the hive of art and philosophy heritage, and allow myself to absorb that knowledge and use it wisely. Africa remains my main source of inspiration, I take many rhythms, sounds, quotes etc.. from there and always come back enriched as a person thanks to diverse experiences and people I come across on my journey.
However being in Paris also enables me to have a broader and outside perspective view of the way Africa thrives and is playing a role on the international scene. My root continent lives inside me and exist in everything I do. I see myself as the daughter of the Africa and sister of the world!
A warrior with eternal sound and wizard for visual aesthetic, these artists are well on their way to reaching a global audience. Check out Taali M’s debut track, Mirage, and follow her progress at www.taali-m.com.
* Original post for Trendland