Words by:

Welcome back to Selections, a series of artist-curated playlists from those in the know.

For today’s Selections, Kamal. comes through with a playlist delving into personal themes prevalent within his own work. Particularly exploring feelings of alienation, detachment and loneliness amongst the 20-year old’s generation interlinked with a constant sensory overload from social media.

Having appeared on Dave’s 2021-released track Mercury, this year the London-based musician co-produced the rapper’s link-up with Central Cee on Our 25th Birthday, a track which Kamal. also featured on. Plus his debut EP war outside earned him a Ivor Novello ‘Rising Star’ nomination. All of which is a pretty impressive and prolific string of accolades, not least for someone so young.

More recently, Kamal. has shared a new mixtape so here you are, drowning, along with pensive, introspective new single Kerosene. This latest work taps into the theme he explores in the playlist below. “This is a collection of songs that well represent both the tension and soothing sadness that I tried to encapsulate in my own song, Kerosene,” Kamal. begins. A wide-ranging collection of tracks, he adds that “all of them evoke in me either a sense of existentialism, loneliness, or melancholia, but some are more immediately beautiful than others, or at least easier to digest.”

Detailing some of these selections further, he describes Mitski’s I’m Your Man as “a crushing and somewhat philosophical expression of a power dynamic in a relationship, one which I can relate to both sides of. It’s emotional despair has parallels to my latest song, and they both build in a subtle way throughout, until they explode in a sort of sonic catharsis.”

Elsewhere, there’s tracks from Björk, Mica Levi and King Krule’s Flimsier; “it’s both painful and beautiful, lonely and expressive,” Kamal. adds on the latter. Speaking on another of the tracks, Born Too Late by Waterbaby, he describes it as “a more modern sounding expression of emotional exhaustion, a theme which is imperative to my own Kerosene. I would love to work with Waterbaby at some point,” he continues, “I feel like we have similar pens. The mesh of abstract lines and super specific ones paint an achingly familiar and provocative picture of her life, one which I relate to.”

“Essentially, all fifteen of these tracks carry potently vulnerable emotions which I empathise with,” Kamal. concludes, “both in my general life and in my own music.” Listen to Kamal.’s Selections below.


Kamal. plays a piano show at Trinity Centre (Fyfe Hall), Bristol, on 29 January.