Mali Music wants to connect with people in the same way people connect with seeing their new car for the first time.
  ďA faceless thing applicable to all lives,Ē he says. With his highly-anticipated album Mali IsÖ coming out in May, itís safe to assume the world is waiting for it like we wait for the right time to drive our new car off the lot. We also talk about the biggest obstacles of being signed to a major and stepping back to let the machine run.
  Jennifer Lopez brought the Savannah, GA native on to American Idol last month as a guest artist. After his performance of "Beautiful," his sales immediately increased by 1300% with the song showing up on six different charts. It jumped eleven spots to the #1 spot on Billboard's Gospel Music charts and still sits at #2.

  SoulTrain.com: Letís talk about your goal and purpose. What was your intention with becoming Mali Music, aside from making money?

  Mali Music: Well, making money is just a side effect. Picture me as an athlete: I donít think that at the core of a six-year-old thinks that playing basketball will get them a million dollar contract. But the more he gives his heart to the craft, the more people he inspires, the more people are willing to take care of him. And heíll see that.
  The money, opportunities, mainstream labels, all have come because a person has taken a microphone and did something inspiring with it. I just wanted to be clear, ya know? I remember being young and being so quiet. I would have to fight to finish a sentence! Music made me have something to say. Iím grateful to God for the opportunity and have the capacity to be a musician, play piano, drums and engineer music. I give those gifts back to Him by putting everything out, being able to touch lives and giving something to the world.

  Q: When did you start singing and playing music? Was it at six years old?

  Mali: Yeah, either five or six years old. I started really creating music when I was eight.

  Q: Getting into your upcoming album Mali IsÖ coming out later this year, how long did it take to create this project?

  Mali: This is my first time being signed, having major perks and being plugged into the machine with big names on your team, and itís a blessing. But at the same time, a lot of people added mostly have individual interests. A lot of the desires people have for you, and the expectations from them and fans, itís just been a bumpy ride as far as what to say and what not to say.
  Being a successful independent artist and being underground made it very hard to adjust to the critique and suggestions coming from the outside as opposed to what I was free to say before. As you build a relationship and begin to trust each other, everyone is beginning to learn each other and the label is beginning to see that Iím sent here and not just plugged in here. So yeah, the album is ready now.
  It doesnít take long for me to create songs. We had hundreds of songs, which has been a big problem. There was a lot of great music that everyone was attached to in different ways, but itís all been sewed up together and I canít wait for the release!

  Q: So what has been the biggest obstacle for you going from being independent to major, especially from a creative standpoint?

  Mali: The challenges are based on the trust. I have label mates like Justin Timberlake, J. Cole and Miguel. They are in the same building as me, and they have the same team that I have. Iím having a lot of fun coming up the totem pole, and I want to earn my keep. Iím here to make a statement from where Iím from, the heart and soul of where people listen to your music and read your lyrics.
  The obstacles come from patience because I donít have the output that Timberlake does. Itís great to know that the label feels like itís not a matter of ďif,Ē but a matter of ďwhen.Ē