Planetary Group took some time to get to know Udoka Malachi…
Planetary Group: Tell us about your latest release. How did you come to create it?
Udoka: My self-produced debut Palace Lumumba is now streaming everywhere. Very excited about it.
I started working on Palace Lumumba in May of 2020, around the time the pandemic first hit. Prior to that, I actually had not been working on music for nine years. So when I started again in May of 2020, the first beat that I made off Palace Lumumba was the beat that eventually turned into Purple Sky Sunday – Purple Sky Sunday was the first single that we put out, so that was a really special moment for me.
PG: Share a bit about your musical journey, from when you first started making music until now.
Udoka: I had started working on music in high school as a rapper. And then decided I wanted to be a producer, because it was easier for me to have more control if I could make the beats. I started my own group called The Brotherhood; that was a group of nine MCs. That was something that was real special to us, cause it was something that we had done on our own: we burnt CDs and got shows without promoters all while in high school.
After that disbanded, I went to college and I continued doing production for local Seattle acts here and there. But unfortunately, I wasn’t progressing in the scene like I wanted to; I didn’t feel like I was getting the opportunities that I felt I had worked for. So I put music aside and decided to go back to school.
I finished school, moved to New York City, started a new career. Music just wasn’t on the forefront really until the pandemic started… but during some of that time, I picked up guitar and found free lessons on YouTube. So when I actually got back into music in May of 2020, I decided that I would have a new approach and try to have my music be more guitar-based.
PG: Let’s talk about the music that you love. Pick one album for each category below & tell us a bit about it!
- An album you grew up listening to:
Udoka: There were a lot of musical influences for me when I was a kid, but one that really stands out is Nas’s Illmatic. That album was pivotal for me because prior to that album, I actually didn’t even know that hip hop could sound like that. I really only consumed hip hop through MTV, (You know what I’m saying?), BET and songs that we downloaded on Kazaa and Limewire. I really didn’t know that there was this whole boom-bap underground scene – that album really exposed me to it. And I could really see New York through Nas’s storytelling. So that was huge for me and my songwriting.
- An album that inspires you as an artist (I’m sure there are many, but pick one of your choosing):
Udoka: An album that was influential for the creation of Palace Lumumba would definitely be Jimmy Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland – the fearlessness and the innovation in sound on that album really drove me to do the same thing with Palace Lumumba, and explore different ideas, sounds, rhythms and cadences.
- The album you currently have on repeat:
Udoka: Cleo Sol’s Mother album. The production on that album is phenomenal, her vocals are very raw and real, her songwriting is incredible… just a perfect album to me.
PG: What do you want people to take away from your music?
Udoka: What I want people to take away from Palace Lumumba and this process is that it doesn’t really matter what your circumstances are. If you have a passion, you can find time to make it happen. It may not happen overnight, but if you continue to put the work in every day, you’ll eventually get there. It’s just a state of mind. I feel like that’s cliche, but you know, it couldn’t be more true.
What’s next up for you?
Udoka: We have a show coming up in Seattle on June 8th, looking forward to that. But you know, more music production for local acts: I’m trying to make sure that I have an opportunity to work with some artists out here in New York.
I might drop an EP next, might drop an instrumental project next, I don’t really know. I’m kind of just taking it day by day and playing it by ear.