The room was filled with many of those who had been with Mali from the beginning when he burst onto the scene with "2nd Coming." There were also new fans who discovered what many had known for a long time: Mali Music is something special.
Before the show began, the atmosphere was set. Mali's signature scarf was draped across the microphone stand. The crowd erupted as he hit the stage. Mali kicked things off with one of his new songs "No Fun Alone." The set included the hard-charging, pulsating "Fight For You," and the Jamaican-flavored "One." The singer set the stage ablaze as he pulled the audience in as he came to the edge of the stage many times giving fans the most intimate of experience as he displayed his vocal dexterity. Observing Mali Music is also an invigorating visual experience as his facial expressions convey the passion behind each song.
He went back in his catalogue and pulled out several songs from "2nd Coming" including "Glory to the Lamb" and one of his most popular songs "I Hate You" pleasing die-hard fans. "Heavy Love' from the new album is a catchy, upbeat song that Mali dedicated to all the married folk in audience, which also included his parents who drove in to watch their son perform. With his dynamic blend of sounds, Mali told the crowd that he didn't want there to be any reason for anyone not to be listen to the record.
Sharing his testimony, Mali chronicled his ascent in the music world, including the loss of friends when he signed with Akon and subsequently mainstream juggernaut RCA. He acknowledged that he had gotten "stoned the most" from some in the church community, but said he knew it was a "sifting of the remnant" and the friends that remained were the ones that "God had blessed." His testimony was met with affirmation from the crowd. That was followed by an on-fire delivery of "Ready, Aim, Fire," the song he wrote in response to the tempest that swirled around his career move.
Mali gave fans a double treat with his acoustic version of his big hit, "Beautiful" and then dived into the radio version as the crowd sang along, some waving their cells phones on the lyrics "I put my lighter in the air for you."
Mali Music has successfully created his own genre. Unlike some who use the phrase "reaching outside the four walls" to merely assimilate into the secular genre with ambiguous lyrics, Mali Music remains true to his faith in a uplifting cornucopia of songs that also include "Make It To Heaven," "I Believe" and "Royalty" a song that unashamedly asserts his Christianity and one that he joked has "swag" and is "covered in anointing."
Indeed, Mali has not morphed into the culture nor compromised his faith, but has planted his feet squarely on the landscape with songs that retain its gospel sensibilities and offers messages of inspiration while "trying to take water to the dry place," as he proclaims in "Ready Aim."
"Mali Is" debuted No. 7 on the iTunes overall chart and seems destined to land in the top tier of the Billboard charts if the enthusiasm of critics and fans is any indication. To learn more about Mali Music and his upcoming tour dates visit www.malimusicofficial.com
© 2014 Sarah Hearn All rights reserved. Reproduction of this article in part or in its entirety on websites, newsletters, magazines, etc. without permission is expressly prohibited. DCMA rules will be applied.