Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Allipha – Malibu by Anderson Paak
To Dear Malibu,
You know that “first love” you have when you’re around 14 years old, and you’re convinced it’s the real thing until someone comes along and blows all your preconceived ideas of love out of the water? Well Malibu, you’re that someone for me.
At the start of 2017 I had a whole EP ready to be released, until the full weight of you hit me. I’ll admit, it wasn’t love at first sight. My friend had been telling me to listen to you for about a year and I stubbornly didn’t until a GRAMMYs video of Anderson .Paak playing ‘The Comedown’ with a gospel choir came up on my Facebook feed. From that moment, I then spent the rest of my day watching every YouTube clip and listening to every Paak song I could find.
This was how I stumbled across you, Malibu.
The drum beat of ‘The Bird’ that opens the album gripped my heart right away, and by the clean guitar riff I was hooked. I could not believe how one album could have such interesting and organic grooves AND such a sincere and soulful voice. As a vocalist, I identified most with Paak’s raw and playful lyrics, and was amazed by his ability to communicate story through such varied vocal tones.
It was not long after this discovery, that I decided to scrap my entire EP and start again. Songs came pouring out of me. They came screaming into my head as their own beings and not ones that I had forced out for the sake of writing. I had never experienced this before. You also soon became the soundtrack to every road trip, the remedy to my anxiety attacks, the beat to every one of my dorky dance sessions, an my album for every mood and my first go-to when I need inspiration.
After having the love affair going strong for over a year, I jumped at the opportunity to hear you live. I spent more money than I could afford, buying a ticket to the 2018 Laneway Festival that Anderson .Paak was due to headline, and was a nervous wreck for at least a week in the lead up to the event. I was so stressed about being right at the front, because I wanted to soak up every minute of the Malibu bliss. At the event, I waited for hours to make sure that was exactly where I was. It was, irrefutably, one of the best days of my life. His arrangements live were so much more than I could have hoped for.
Malibu, you lit the fire in my belly that I thought had long been burning, and I cannot thank you enough for steering me into a direction of passion, soul and groove. You’ve taught me more than I ever expected an album to be capable of.