Over the past year, Mustafa has slowly been preparing listeners for the release of his debut project. Now — after dropping amazing singles such as "Stay Alive," "Come Back," and "Air Forces" — the Toronto singer and poet has finally shared When Smoke Rises with the world. On the surface, Mustafa's debut project is one of the most gorgeous-sounding bodies of work to release this year, but its real beauty lies in Mustafa's sincere lyrics.
In light of When Smoke Rises' release, Mustafa recently shared an open letter to his Instagram which described the dark and harrowing inspiration behind the project's meaningful ballads. "When Smoke Rises is about losing someone you love and retracing what of you they left with," Mustafa explained. "it took years for me to find the strength to write these songs. It felt impossible to reimagine & beautify the violence of my friends' departures from this earth, still I tried."
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Mustafa deems each melody on When Smoke Rises as "a congregation for the dead," and it's a fitting description. The project is extraordinarily beautiful, but when listening, you can tell that the music is full of pain.
The eight-track project features a guest appearance from Sampha on the track "Capo" and some guest vocals from James Blake on "Come Back." Check out Mustafa's beautiful new project When Smoke Rises at any of the streaming services below.