By HAZEL REID
Singer-songwriter Muroki has been carving it up on the local music scene over the past few months after becoming the first signee to Benee’s new record label Olive and joining her on the sold-out nationwide tour. He’s also recently been named as a featured artist in Live Nation’s Ones to Watch program, we caught up with Muroki to talk about new music, performing and getting creative.
Muroki told us that the groove in his recent tune Wavy was “inspired by Brazilian samba rhythms. The idea was to grasp the vibe of a ‘Fiesta’ and mash it up with funk and new school sounds. Djasian Suskov and I wrote it about a time I had at a music festival – the song describes some of the crazy visuals and feelings I was having there.” Muroki’s new single, Crossroads featuring Rhys Rich, had just released when we talked, and he described Crossroads as having a darker mood. “The song was written about me getting anxious and confused about relationships.”
Muroki’s musical talents lead back to his younger years, which started with playing the guitar at age 8, he tells us that this was sparked by his first teacher, Nicky Keys who was blind. Going into his teen years, Muroki said “it wasn’t until I was 14, when I got into producing and singing. I started my first band Cloak Bay with my friend Lennox Reynolds. From there it has just been a wild ride of constantly playing shows and meeting tons of awesome people.”
Muroki shared that anywhere could be a creative space, “as long as there’s not too many people around. I love to jam with my band or other musicians, but if I’m writing, I prefer writing by myself or writing with no more than three people in the room.” Talking inspirations, Muroki grew up listening to the likes of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Lauren Hill and lots of kiwi reggae, including House of Shem and Fat Freddy’s Drop. “Their music has definitely influenced a ton of my own sound, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve got inspired by people like Nick Hakim, D-Angelo, Kendrick Lamar, Damian Marley… the list goes on” [laughs].
Muroki joined Benee on her nationwide tour last October – the first big arena show I’d been to post lockdown 2.0 in Auckland, check out our coverage here. It allowed so many people to be introduced to his music live (his set was awesome by the way). Muroki says, “it’s the best feeling to watch people dance, smile and connect with my music and it’s the cherry on top when everyone is singing along too, that’s something I still can’t get used to!” Speaking about his shows coming up Muroki mentioned that while he doesn’t have a favourite song to perform as such, “I’m definitely excited to share all the stuff I’ve been working on for the past year!”.
I asked Muroki one of my favourite interview questions (as the answer is always interesting!), to pinpoint a song that he wished he’d produced or created – he said it would be Frank Ocean’s Nights. Kofi Stone’s album Nobody Cares Till Everybody Does has been on his listening rotation as has Get Sun by Hiatus Kaiyote. He’s also been tuning in to the likes of Kanye West, Jay Z and Madlib.
It’s been a pretty crazy year (understatement I know!) but Muroki has his sights set on playing some shows overseas, “hopefully that’s possible soon. I’m definitely working on some new content though, that’s always exciting.”
If you’re in Wellington or Raglan this weekend you’re in for a treat – catch Muroki at Wellington’s Parrotdog on Friday (9th) for a free show and the Raglan Club on Saturday (All Ages & R18) – details here. For now, you can add Wavy & Crossroads to your playlists and get excited about new Muroki music soon.
From tour managing boybands to working massive events and interviewing international talent, HAZEL REID is in love with the craziness that is the entertainment industry.
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