Erthe St. James, Nola Ade
2033 W. North Ave
Chicago, IL, 60647
Doors 9:00 PM / Show 10:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
Mali Music is a man aware of his musical gift to the world, and that gift has no boundaries. Born in Arizona and raised in Savannah, GA, the prolific singer-songwriter and producer grew up in a strict, Christian household, with his first memories of music heavily influenced by religion. At only 12-years-old,
Mali created and arranged his own material as his church’s minister of music.
Despite exhibiting such talent at a young age, Mali faced challenges expanding and adjusting to music
beyond traditional gospel, the older he became. "It was hard because my gift was ready, but I wasn't," he
reflected. As a teenager he worked even harder to share his gift, posting music on his MySpace page and
experimenting with different ideas. Mali’s perseverance later resulted in being discovered by people he
still holds in high regard today, and intentionally transforming into a professional recording artist.
With his new album, The Transition of Mali releasing on Bystorm Entertainment/RCA Records on June
2nd, Mali Music demonstrates his evolution as an artist expanding outside of his gospel roots while
maintaining his R&B core.
Undeniably, Mali has managed to successfully bridge a gap between the secular and sanctified, a point
undeniably made with the success of his last album Mali Is… (Bystorm Entertainment/RCA Records). In
2015, the singer reached a major landmark in his career receiving GRAMMY nominations for Best Gospel
Performance/Song for “Beautiful,” the lead single from Mali Is…, and Urban Contemporary Album for the
album. "Beautiful" touched the Billboard charts in the top 10 and pushed Mali into the mainstream.
While Mali Music is renowned for his inspirational lyrics and uplifting themes, his latest project explores
everyday matters in life and love through a fresh sonic lens. The first track, Harmony Samuels-produced
“Bow Out,” comes in with powerful percussion and strong vocals. Mali notes, "It was the way I was feeling
at the time," getting his emotions across with lines like, "Whoever you want me to be is out there
somewhere. Whoever you're trying to see, you can probably find on Twitter. But I'm yours right now, we're
The lead single "Gonna Be Alright," lands as a solid motivational song to keep on pushing when life gets
rough, and the already-released fan favorite "Contradiction" featuring Jhene Aiko, got a spot on the album
as well. The two sing about lovers who have parted ways but leave space in their heart for reconciliation,
with lyrics saying, "If you say that it's over, I won't die."
Another standout piece on the album is the song "Loved by You" featuring the talented Jazmine Sullivan.
The sultry record finds Mali and Jazmine soulfully weaving in and out of each other’s romantic charm.
Detroit musician Maurice "Pirahnahead" Herd commissioned an orchestra to play strings on the record—
which in Mali's words, "took it to a whole different level."
The up-tempo “Dolla” is on the surface an easy going record about provocative behavior but inevitably a
commentary on reckless behavior and how the love of money can be the destruction of an individual.
Lines like, “You know she’s moving like a hoochie mama” and repeating “making money in this crazy,
shady world” drive home the dangers of living too “fast.” His signature rhymes at the end remind fans of
his lyrical prowess and depth of message.
Mali considers the sweet "Still" as a classic record based on "the format, the feel, the sentiment, and the
way that I'm singing it." On the song, he croons, "You hold a light to me. You say what's for my heart.
That's why I'll always be in love with you. Still, through it all.”
Mali gets real about his frustrations in “My Life” singing, “Sometimes I got nowhere to go. My days get
dark and my nights get cold.” Hip-hop production with hard percussion and cinematic instruments coupled
with raspy, almost angry vocals shed light on Mali’s versatility to push himself vocally beyond romance.
Erthe St. James
Erthe St. James (born Deron Lenell James, Jr.) is a soul-influenced singer-songwriter, musician, and actor. His works includes elements of Soul, Jazz, Funk, and R&B. The electrifying performer has opened for artist such as Erykah Badu, Nikki Giovanni, Dr. Henry Gates Jr., Tye Tribbet, Aaron Camper, & Jon Pierce.
The trendy thing in R&B/Soul is to be emo, with slickly overproduced songs heavy with dark, coarse, moody, and often, quite frankly, depressing lyrics over synthetic sounds. We’re informed that somehow this malnourishment is “keeping it real.” In truth, sometimes what’s keeping it the realest is a ray of un-ironic optimism, an unfaltering faith in love, a little bit of sun in an uninspiring day, the music of singer-songwriter Nola Adé. Adé is the antidote, the anti-drug to the melancholic bit of missed Prozac doses that now passes for depth. In the face of such self-congratulatory darkness, Adé dares to embrace her light. So, have Windy City audiences who’ve taken on her positivity challenge and encountered the shine of a full-bodied vocalist whose phrasing is Ella Fitzgerald, soulful timbre is Jazmine Sullivan, and eclectic style is all her own. This too is what Adé’s music and message to her eager fans is really all about: honoring the traditions of the past, being unafraid of the present, and unapologetically being oneself for a brighter future. No hipster posturing here, just the real.
And how could this musical natural not be real? The first generation of her Nigerian American family to be born in the States, the Chicago, Illinois native is the embodiment of an immigrant spirit of hope and optimism, eagerly embracing the fresh opportunities presented by each brand new day. The infectious confidence and disciplined work ethic she was reared under by devoted parents are emblazoned on her rollicking melodies and in the fearless approach with which Nola Adé tackles the juggernaut of soul. Of course, it helps that Adé was surrounded from birth with music, from family who sung throughout the day and in church to the Chicago streets that birthed the likes of Chaka Khan, Curtis Mayfield, The Chi-Lites, Donny Hathaway, Dave Hollister, Jennifer Hudson and Kanye West.