My first question is as an African musician, do you find it difficult to reach a mainstream audience? Do you ever get frustrated by being categorized into an "exotic other" category such as "world music"?
I GUESS I HAVE BEEN PRETTY LUCKY BECAUSE THE KIND OF MUSIC I AM DOING SEEMS TO BE REACHING A PRETTY WIDE AUDIENCE – AT LEAST FROM WHAT I CAN SEE FROM THE STAGE ! LAST WEEKEND I PLAYED ON THE ROCK STAGE AT THE
Growing up and now, who are some of your greatest musical influences outside of
MY FAVORITE MUSICIAN GROWING UP WAS PHIL COLLINS. I ALSO REALLY LOVE
You've traveled all over the world playing music, how has what you've seen and experienced in your travels shaped and stretched your perspective on your music and life as a whole?
IT’S TOTALLY CHANGED ME. YOU CAN’T TRAVEL THE WORLD, SEE OTHER CULTURES. EAT OTHER FOODS, MEET OTHER PEOPLE ALL THE TIME AND NOT HAVE THAT AFFECT YOUR WAY OF SEEING THE WORLD, AND OF COURSE THAT FILTERS INTO THE MUSIC. BUT OF COURSE IT ALSO MAKES ME VALUE EVEN MORE MY HOME, MY COUNTRY . WHEN I GET BACK TO
Since your father was such a legendarily famous Malian musician, do you ever feel burdened by having to always be compared to him? Do you ever feel like people don't give you enough respect on your own merits as a musician because of your name?
IT’S A GOOD THING AND A HARD THING TO HAVE A FATHER LIKE ALI. HE’ S A LEGEND WORLDWIDE AND I CAN’T COMPETE WITH THAT...ALL I CAN DO IS MY BEST AND HOPE THAT PEOPLE WILL SOMEDAY RECOGNIZE MY TALENT AS SOMETHING ELSE, SOMETHING DIFFERENT. B-U-T I ALSO KNOW THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE LISTENED TO MY FIRST ALBUM, PAID ATTENTION TO IT BECAUSE I AM ALI’S SON AND THAT’S A GOOD THING. THERE ARE HUNDREDS, MAYBE EVEN 000’S OF TALENTED ARTISTS OUT THERE, MAYBE WHO HAVE MORE TALENT THAN ME. BUT I HAVE BEEN LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE A FAMOUS FATHER AND SO MY FIRST RECORD WAS OF INTEREST TO PEOPLE. NOW I HAVE THE CHALLENGE OF MAKING THE SECOND ONE EVEN BETTER !
You've released two albums with Modiba records so far, do you have plans to go back into the studio anytime in the near future to record a third?
YES, I HAVE BEEN RECORDING FOR THE PAST COUPLE OF MONTHS IN
Your second album was a collaboration with various dj's that fused your traditional African sound with a more modern electric sound, who are some musicians you're interested in collaborating with on future projects both from West Africa and the rest of the world?
OH WOW, THAT’S A HARD QUESTION. WE’VE BEEN TALKING WITH DIRTY PROJECTORS ABOUT DOING SOME SHOWS TOGETHER. I JUST DISCOVERED WILCO ON OUR
My last question, your record label, Modiba productions, has repeatedly in the past donated parts of its sales profits to different charitable causes in Africa such as the ASAP album and buying malaria nets. Do you feel that enough African musicians use their financial success to instigate positive change in their home countries?
I THNK THERE ARE LOTS OF GOOD THINGS BEING DONE BY MANY AFRICAN MUSICIANS BUT I ALSO BELIEVE WE CAN – AND SHOULD – ALWAYS DO MORE. WE ARE LUCKY – WE OFTEN HAVE INFLUENCE, AND WE CAN HELP DIRECTLY. I AM SENDING MOSQUITO NETS DIRECTLY TO MY VILLAGE – AS MY FATHER USED TO SAY, WHEN THE WIOND BLOWS EVERYONE GRABS HIS OWN HAT.SO WHATEVER I CAN DO TO HELP MY OWN VILLAGE, I MUST DO.