- 13 Nov 20
The new Malaki single has been gaining airplay in all sorts of interesting places – including the Jack Saunders show on BBC – and appearing on influential playlists. As it gathers momentum, the feeling is increasingly that it could provide the stepping stone to international recognition for the hot young Dublin rapper.
Jack Saunders, the highly influential BBC Radio One DJ, has hailed Dublin breakout hip hop star Malaki as “An amazing talent.”
Selected for the Next Wave slot on the Saunders show – considered by many in the music industry to be the benchmark for hip credibility in the UK – Malaki’s 'Someone Like You 2' was played for the first time earlier this week. And the DJ was unstinting in his praise for the Dubliner. “I think you should fall in love with him,” he said.
The high praise comes as Malaki (pictured) – tipped for the top by an increasing number of influential commentators – scored his first chart hit in Ireland with ‘Someone Like You 2’. The track, released via Hot Press Records, has entered the Irish Home Grown charts at No.19, and more frequent radio play and growing streams since suggest that it is on course to continue climbing over the coming weeks.
The track was originally recorded as part of Rave On, Van Morrison – organised by Hot Press as a celebration of the legendary singer’s 75th birthday, at the end of August. The decision was made to release it as a single following interest from the UK.
The song has already been play-listed by RTÉ 2fm – debuting on the Tracy Clifford show – and is increasingly being embraced not just by 2fm DJs but on stations across Ireland, with Galway Bay FM, among others, kicking in from next week. It is also being supported across RTÉ Radio One shows, with Arena and Fiachna Ó Braonáin (sitting in for John Creedon at the moment) among those championing the single this week, along with Ed Smith on Today FM and Tom Dunne on Newstalk. Dave Fanning has also been featuring the track on his weekend 2fm show.
Today FM’s Ed Smith was among the early advocates, describing the track as “a showstopper” on his programme. Meanwhile, Jack Saunders was effusive in his praise on BBC.
"If there is going to be just one song you add to your playlist tonight, please promise me you make it my Next Wave,” he told listeners across the UK – and indeed the world – referring to ’Someone Like You 2'. “It's the most important piece of brand new music you are going to hear tonight on the show and this evening I'm going to introduce you to a guy out of Dublin... For Malaki, words are considered a delicacy. Every single word pondered over to make sure it hits just as hard as the last.
"I think we have an amazing talent on our hands,” he added," and I think you should fall in love with him."
Which is what happened when Malaki encountered Van's 'Someone Like You' as a teenager.
“When I first heard the Van Morrison song 'Someone Like You', I was 16 years old and in the car with my mother,” Malaki said. “I turned on the radio and these beautiful piano chords seeped through the speakers. I was taken by it straight away. Ever since then, it’s been a favourite song of mine.”
In recording the new track with his producer and collaborator Matthew Harris, Malaki has put a fresh spin on an age-old theme. His rapped verses are balanced with a beautiful, soulful chorus, which is sung by Matthew – who also plays piano on the track.
“Myself and Matthew spent quite a while deciding the best route to take,” Malaki added. "I made the decision to write my own verses to allow for change. The song is over 30 years old, so I wanted to put my own modern-day-love-story spin on it, while incorporating samples of Van Morrison’s voice alongside Matthew’s vocals."
What’s clear is that the resulting soul and hip hop melange – titled ’Someone Like You 2’ – has begun to capture the imagination, in a very big way.
“It is really great to see Malaki getting this initial hugely enthusiastic recognition for what is a marvellous piece of music,” Hot Press editor Niall Stokes said. “ From a radio perspective, it is the kind of track that works at any time of the day or night.
"It's fantastic to hear Jack Saunders singing his praises, because that is such an influential show in what is one of the world’s biggest music markets. And the thing is that Jack is right in everything he said.
"Malaki is a brilliant lyricist and a wonderfully original talent – and you can always see that he is fully committed to and immersed in his music. He also has the ideal collaborator in Matthew Harris. They have worked a special kind of magic with 'Someone Like You 2’. I think it deserves to be heard and, as Jack Saunders put it, to be loved by millions. Either way, it's a huge leap forward for Malaki. I’d love to see it go all the way now."
Check out Malaki's take on Van Morrison with 'Someone Like You 2' below: