Mopiano’s latest video takes RnB to new dimensions with a Pan-African touch.
Mopiano’s early music inspiration comes from the family. His uncle recorded reggae in The Gambia and collaborated on Dr. Alban’s Hello Africa – a song that launched Alban’s musical career and saw him rise to godlike status among 1990s euro-dance fans. His journey started around 12 or 13, when his Dad bought him a synth to fool around with. “I taught myself to cover Akon’s tracks and whatever American hip-hop or RnB my siblings were into.” That’s also how he got his name. Young Muhamad – Mo for short – was always playing piano. Mopiano.
“My first real breakthrough was in 2015 with my brother. We had this band called DEZYxMO and did this Project X song that broke 1 million Spotify streams in less than a year. That was huge for us.” Fast forward a few years and Mopiano’s ready to drop his first EP with Majestic Casual Records in May. Ahead of this he’s releasing “With U”, a deeply intimate and emotional song he wrote, produced, and performed. But this far from being a solo project. In fact, the video brought together a super talented team of creatives, many of whom come from the African diaspora.
Congolese director Jean-Luc Mwepu was an obvious choice. “Not because he is African, just because I love his movies, they’re super dope, and I wanted this video to be more of a movie than a clip.” The chemistry was felt instantly and Jean-Luc brought his sister Desiree, a costume designer with him, as well as the lead actress Linda Ndikumana, who comes from Burundi. Also there from day one is Sulekha Dar (from Somalia) who’s been working with Mopiano for a couple years now. This kind of Pan-African reunion wasn’t planned. It’s more something that came together naturally and involves many gifted folks from Europe as well.
The result is a stunning short film about protecting that which we value most. In this tale of unexpected betrayal, the scenery and pace of a Hollywood espionage thriller collide with abstract images of the human spirit. And while the song deals with universal topics such as love and heartbreak, “I also wanted this to be a good representation for people of color, you know, something beautiful we can be proud of.” Mission accomplished.
“With U” is out now via Majestic Casual Records.