The Retrospective

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FEISTY LITTLE BROWN GIRL – MPHO

July 20th, 2009 by

Last month, my good friend Charlie shared a link on my Facebook wall. That link was to the music video for, “Box ‘n Locks”, by singer- songwriter, MPHO (pron. mm-poh). By the time the clip was over, I was left mesmerized and had become an instant fan. MPHO is a London based artist who has been involved in the music industry for more than a decade, and is now blasting to the forefront and displaying to the world her immense talent for verse and vocal. Born in apartheid South Africa to a white mother and black father, Mpho’s very birth was illegal due to the nation’s then restrictive laws on interracial relationships. She immigrated to Britain at the age of four and grew up in bustling South London. Mpho comes from a musical family and her upbringing in the multicultural Brixton neighborhood has greatly influenced her artistry. She attended the renowned BRIT School for Music and spent many years providing backing vocals for artists like Natasha Bedingfield and Ms. Dynamite.

Joined by the likes of Santigold, Janelle Monáe, and VV Brown – MPHO is a member of an emerging cadre of young, black female artists here in the United States & abroad who are refusing to adhere to antiquated labels, and are choosing to make music on their own terms. In her debut single, “Box ‘n Locks”, MPHO takes on her doubters and confidently shoves the preconceptions back into their faces (supposed to be some ghetto chick/ making all this urban music… bet you never knew that I could do this too). She effortlessly navigates between soul ballads, electro-pop numbers, and rock infused tracks. Many new wave fans may instantly notice her sampling of the hit 1980 song ,“Echo Beach” by Martha & The Muffins. With the help of noted producer Switch, MPHO successfully takes this classic melody and transforms it into something uniquely new millennial.

“Box ‘n Locks” is now available for download in the United Kingdom and those of us outside Britannia can also indulge in MPHO’s music by downloading her album sampler and irresistible “Art of Pop” mixtape. Her debut album “Pop Art” is set to be unleashed this fall.

Photo Credit: 5500

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