Sound of the Week: Khazali

Known for his moody brand of soulful alternative-pop with indie-electro beats, West Londoner Khazali releases his new EP Going Home alongside a gripping clip for ‘Comfort’ via Kitsuné Musique. Khazali’s new EP was born out of his use of songwriting and poetry as a form of therapy to deal with an anxiety disorder that was diagnosed in his second year of graphic design courses at university. “With these tracks, I use my songwriting as a way to better understand my anxieties about life, use dream journals as a device for lyrics,” he remarks.

“Starting with You’ll Be the One, which documents a conversation I had in myself, a point where I stopped being fixated with the idea that someone else could ever complete me. It’s about remaining open to love, but knowing that you’re already complete and worthy. NYC to CDG is a story about a character trying to escape his small town for famous landmarks. That character isn’t me – I grew up in the big city. And I actually escaped to a small town when I was 19 – when the journey to this mini EP began. I really needed someone to tell me that what I had around me and inside me was enough, and I could never escape this anxiety. So I just said it to myself. It’s nice to have a love letter for me, by me. I close on Comfort, which is where I began to fall back into old habits, I was almost watching myself in third person around the time I was writing this song. I tried to put it into words. Brian sent me these beautiful broken piano chords, and I broke into tears. I had my notepad, and I just left myself a note, a half-poem saying; ‘I can’t comfort you right now / Let the water wash you down’. I usually know how to comfort myself, but this time I didn’t. The track is also the perfect place to leave the EP, as the second mini-EP begins at a point where I was just about to have a self revolution.”

With a soft touch that floats above indietronica-infused electronic beats, recent Kitsuné Musique signee Khazali creates a brand of alternative pop that exists in a space that subtly references teenage influences; SBTRKT, Sampha, Little Dragon, and HONNE. Raised in West London, Khazali recalls his earliest memory ‘in a hotel lobby watching Christmas movies’ whilst his Moroccan-born single mother worked as a cleaner. But it wasn’t his childhood dream to become a singer-songwriter. Although always keen on the arts in some form, Khazali’s journey to his debut EP, ‘Going Home’, was almost accidentally born out of using songwriting and poetry as a therapy for generalised anxiety disorder, diagnosed in his second year of graphic design studies at a small seaside-town university. After a suggestion from sixth-form school peer and Slow Dance Records founder Marco Pini (of indie band Sorry), Khazali – who has not been classically trained in singing – began exploring his vocal range, and has found comfort in that expression. With ‘a naturally sunny disposition’ (Notion), his voice makes you ‘feel careless’ (C-Heads), with a unique style that spans melancholy, euphoria, and dreaminess.

Go Home is out now: