Oklou & COLORSXSTUDIOS

I once read that Kurt Vonnegut believes that “virtually every writer I know would rather be a musician.” Truman Capote once remarked: “To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the music the words make.” Putting the two together, I, unsurprisingly, am a lover of both words and music.

This Sunday is my inaugural post about sharing one of my biggest loves in life—it is a post about both an emerging artist (one who caught my ear just a few days ago) and a wonderful music platform.

Electronic. Ethereal. Elegant.

French vocalist, composer, and producer Oklou has been categorized in the musical genres of electronic and pop. I am more in agreement with Pitchfork online music magazine’s description that Oklou’s music consists of “hazy R&B” which is “full of dewy vocal passages.” When I first heard “Fall,” it took me a split second to recognize that Oklou is singing in English, not so much because I expected her to sing in French, but because her voice enters so effortlessly. It took me some time to register that she is cooing lyrics to the audience in her soft voice . Then, her weightless voice soars over the M-Audio keyboard’s synth melody, keeping me entranced for the whole two plus minutes of the show.

Oklou, whose real name is Marylou Mayniel, was trained as a classical pianist and cellist. She grew up in the French countryside and it was not until she moved to Paris that she started producing electronic music. When researching Oklou, I found myself most drawn to her philosophy of finding inspirational sounds. Anything ranging from family members speaking to nature to video clippings all contribute to her music. Silence also has its own musicality—in short, “everything counts.”

One mic. One artist. One color.

COLORSXSTUDIOS has convinced me that music is as much a visual experience as it is an auditory one. I discovered this YouTube channel during quarantine and have since loved everything about the platform. COLORS calls each musical performance a show and it is indeed that. Singular, sleek, and minimalistic, the one color aesthetic helps me zone in on the artist, the fashion, and the choice of musical instruments. The aesthetics intentionally focus the spotlight on the individual artists, giving each of them the opportunity to showcase their music without any distractions.

The rhythms. The sounds. The vocals.

I am mesmerized by a lot of the artists on COLORS–the channel often introduces me to talents I have never heard of. Importantly, artists, especially female musicians and musicians of color, from all around the globe are frequently featured. As I listen, I feel that the artist is sitting in my very living room, performing a show for my sole enjoyment.

I will close by letting Oklou entertain you with her COLORS encore and leave you to your own musical thoughts.

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