Muslim poet and songwriter Mustafa details his debut project When Smoke Rises, due May 28th via his own Regent Park Songs / Remote Control Records. After revealing its title and speaking about the body of work in his recent GQ Middle East cover story, Mustafa is sharing one more offering from the new record, the powerful ‘Ali’, which arrives alongside a self-directed visual.
Mustafa’s two singles to date – ‘Stay Alive’ and ‘Air Forces’ – have been met with adoration from fellow artists, critics and fans and serve as a near-perfect introduction to an important new voice in music. Both songs will be included on When Smoke Rises alongside the aforementioned ‘Ali’. They exemplify a style Mustafa himself describes as “inner city folk music” that finds musical inspiration in the folk greats such as Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Richie Havens but channelled through the contemporary lens of Mustafa’s modern day Toronto.
Mustafa was moved to release his own music following the loss of close friends to gun violence. Much of his music is addressed to those departed friends and to his Toronto neighborhood, Regent Park; a vehicle to honor and affirm the concerns of his community while providing sonic solace for those looking to make sense of their own loss. The video for ‘Stay Alive’ prominently features footage of Regent Park, one of the first housing projects in North America and one of the biggest redevelopment projects on the continent. Mustafa‘s experience of seeing the blocks, community, and culture that raised him transform into something unrecognisable is a story that is playing out in neighbourhoods across the world – the inner city from which his folk songs are born.