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What We Call Life is Jordan Rakei’s most vulnerable and intimate album to date. Its lyrics concern the lessons that the New Zealand-born, Australia-raised, and London-based artist learned about himself during therapy, a journey that began two years ago when he started reading about the ‘positive psychology’ movement. These themes manifest on songs like lead single “Family”, which Rakei says is “the most personal” he’s ever been with his lyrics. “I wanted to hit my vulnerability barrier and be really honest. It’s about my parents’ divorce in my mid-teens but still having love for them no matter what,” he explains.
With so many artists being influenced by his style, it would be very easy for Jordan to stay in the same musical lane; but, as in life, he is determined to move his music forward. Such introspective subjects are a departure from Rakei’s last album, 2019’s ‘Origin’. Raising big questions about the way that technology and social media interferes with our sense of humanity, ‘Origin’ received praise from The Observer, Mixmag, Complex, and GQ, earned an unexpected shout-out from Elton John, led to a collaboration with rap legend Common, and saw Rakei give a show-stopping performance for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series.
No stranger to collaboration, Rakei is closely associated with friends and collaborators like Loyle Carner (with whom he co-wrote, produced and performed on “Ottolenghi” and the Jorja Smith-featuring “Loose Ends”), Tom Misch and Alfa Mist. He has also joined Chic’s Nile Rodgers for a writing session and recorded with Terrace Martin, producer for Kendrick and Snoop Dogg, and Herbie Hancock. There’s also his tight relationship with the South London dance music scene orbiting Bradley Zero’s Rhythm Section clubnight and label, with Rakei adopting the alias Dan Kye, most recently to offer up an exclusive track for Bonobo’s ‘Fabric presents’ mix and to release his full-length, ‘Small Moments’ album in November 2020. He also recently covered Donald Byrd’s “Wind Parade” for the Blue Note Re:imagined compilation, and earlier this year showcased work from his creative community alongside some of his favourite tracks (including his own covers of Radiohead’s “Codex”, and Jeff Buckley’s “Lover, You Should've Come Over”) in his mix for the esteemed LateNightTales series. He continues to offer up production tutorials and behind-the-scenes insights into his creative process with his fan community on Patreon.
- Send My Love
- What We Call Life
- the Flood