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Mykki Blanco teams up with Michael Stipe for 'Family Ties'

Mykki Blanco

Mykki Blanco is kicking off 2022 with new song Family Ties and it features a rare appearance from R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe.

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Blanco says the new tune was inspired by their ex-boyfriend’s relationship with their father.

Family Ties is the first song where I sonically found my voice and I mean that in a very literal way. It’s the first song in my entire career where I am singing, I don’t rap. I wrote this song about the relationship between my ex-boyfriend and his father that has had bouts of mental illness. When the person you love is going through a situation that you can’t alter in any way, or help or be active in trying to correct it not only hurts them but it hurts you. I think the core meaning of this song is compassion in the face of helplessness.”

Michael Stipe has also shared his excitement about the collaborationb, “Mykki has a gorgeous voice, resolute and strong. I’m thrilled to have worked on Family Ties— I love how the song turned out.”

Mykki Blanco said they have always been a massive fan of the R.E.M. singer.

“I have been a fan of Michael Stipe and R.E.M. forever. I had his email and ya know it’s one of those things when you acquire a living musical icon’s email and you think, ‘I have this now. but am I ever going to use it? Should I ever use it?’

“Falty DL and I took a shot at the moon – I sent him the song because it felt as if in some alternate universe Michael Stipe had already created it. His willingness to perform and be a part of this meant the world to me. I hope to just keep making good art and attracting meaningful circumstances and people that make this life and making music worthwhile. This on so many levels was one of those moments.”

The video for Family Ties was directed by Kit Monteith. Shot in the north of England, it also features a rare appearance from Stipe, who has largely stayed out of the public eye since his group called it quits more than a decade ago.

Family Ties is the first bit of new music from Mykki Blanco since last year’s critically acclaimed mini-album, Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep. The track sees Blanco continuing to work with producer Falty DL. The track is the first single from a brand new project, which is due to be announced shortly.

Who else has Michael Stipe collaborated with? 

During his long career Michael Stipe has collaborated with a wide range of musicians.

Rapper KRS One and the B52’s singer Kate Piersen both made appearances on R.E.M’s Out of Time album, the 1991 record saw the band’s career reach new stratospheric heights following the success of the song Losing My Religion.

Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore teamed up with the band for their song Crush With Eyeliner, while rapper Q-Tip appears on their 1994 album Around the Sun. The band’s final album Collapse Into Now, which came out in 2011, features contributions from Patti Smith, Eddie Vedder and Peaches.

Stipe has also collaborated with ex-girlfriend Natalie Merchant and her band 10,000 Maniacs, The Golden Palominos, Indigo Girls, Syd Straw, Robyn Hitchcock, Billy Bragg, Neneh Cherry, Vic Chesnutt, Krtistin Hirsch, Spacehog, Utah Saints, 1 Giant Leap, Placebo and New York Dolls.

Stipe also producer electro-clash band Fischerspooner’s 2018 album Sir. 

OIP Staff, Image : Will Creswick


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