Masie Blu | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
The Key Studio Sessions: Masie Blu
Philly’s Masie Blu was vying for an unsigned artist spot at the 2017 Firefly Music Festival when she first grabbed The Key’s attention with the gauzey, cirrocumulus soundscape of “Kundalini.”
Masie wound up not winning that competition (called the “Big Break Contest” or something of a similar nature), and in a way, she’s probably all the better for it. For sure, she would have played a striking set at the Delaware megafestival, and while she isn’t averse to traditional venue gigs, her meditative style is much more at home in art spaces and open mics, in yoga studios and living rooms, in community centers with ital food simmering very nearby.
Masie Blu’s music circles around themes of love, creativity, and personal transcendence, and with the release of last year’s uplifting Transform EP, she brought her skills as a producer and songwriter to new heights, delivering soaring, Erykah Badu-esque melodies to imaginative tapestries of bright horns and buoyant beats. The set she played for The Key Studio Sessions touches on all of that, with the aid of two backing musicians: Antonio Robinson on electric upright bass, and Nathaniel Savoth on electric guitar.
The instrumental arrangements added light and texture to songs like the dancefloor groover “Mocha,” and the atmospheric zen koan “Warm Reflection of Cool Hues.” Their collective playing also transformed Masie’s music further, with the cosmic spoken word bounce of set closer “Balance,” where Masie folded up her laptop and riffed along to reflective instrumental licks as she accompanied her bandmates on kalimba.
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This winter, Masie Blu releases Hindsight, her debut LP recorded in part at MilkBoy Studio in Philly. She’s released a couple teasers from it — “Gye Nyame” on Instagram, “Aloe Vera” on YouTube — and the themes of the project so far seems to circle around recovery and resilience in the wake of trauma. There’s no fixed release date at the moment, nor does Masie have any Philly performances on the horizon; she’s currently focused on her schooling at Hampton University in Virginia. But you can expect more as spring blooms into summer, and for now you can keep tabs by following Masie Blu’s Facebook page, or get a taste by streaming her entire Key Studio Sessions performance below.