MUSIC: Mal Devisa – You Are My Sunshine

 

Mal Devisa (also known as Deja Carr) has one of those stage names that just slips off your tongue, like a magical incantation invoking a legendary jazz enigma.

Devisa’s music has a similarly enchanting effect on the ears. Her 2016 debut, Kiid, was a spare and intimate lo-fi affair showcasing her lyrical yin-yang of feisty and soulful poetry. In April of this year, Devisa was hospitalized with an undisclosed illness, as revealed on a GoFundMe page created by her mother. While her Facebook and other social media presence have been relatively silent since then, her Bandcamp page released a new single on June 28th: the gorgeous “You Are My Sunshine”.

Music-making is evidently providing some good medicine for Devisa: On “You Are My Sunshine”, she sings, raps, and plays like the love child of Lauryn Hill and Merrill Garbus. Despite her current circumstances, the song is fixated not on Devisa but on praising her mother: “Momma’s on the throne; her baby’s singing.”

Yet the most striking feature of the song is a repeated vocal phrase—sampled from “Every Day is Just An Extension of Yesterday” by French electronica band The Troublemakers—that implores you (or maybe it’s Mal imploring herself?) to “be without pain for one second.” You’ll be in her corner by the time the song’s through.

Mal Devisa