Photo: Orlando Gil
Contemporary pop music is constantly evolving, and nowhere is this more evident than in the genre-bending approach of Mishaal. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia to a Saudi father and Ecuadorian mother, the multi-talented and multi-lingual artist is contributing to the genre's next form with an infectious blend of lo-fi hip-hop and emo pop.
Mishaal is a relatively new artist to the scene, with only a handful of tracks available on DSPs. Yet, this succinct discography is filled with glimpses at his star-studded potential. The Dragon Ball Z-referencing "Kid Goku" and wistful "Addicted" speak to a unique Gen Z mentality, one wrapped up in childhood nostalgia and persistently rainy day, evident by the over 10 million cumulative streams and subsequent signing to RCA Records.
Mishaal makes his major label debut with the veritable earworm that is "Friends," featuring none other than Powfu, an artist who has similarly been making waves in the last year with his cross-genre approach. On the surface, "Friends" seems like an upbeat and summery track, but beneath the idyllic sonics, Mishaal and Powfu grapple with deeper themes of distrust, uncertainty, and self-preservation.
"I don’t pretend, when I trust, it makes me nauseous
I love my friends but somedays I’m cautious
I don't pretend, when I’m mad, I make it obvious"
Mishaal is able to capture universal coming-of-age themes, from the seemingly endless search to pin down who you really are to dealing with trust issues, while still finding the space to deliver a track that is an effortless vibe.
"Friends" is a testament to MIshaal's relatable outlook and novel approach to pop. With just his first major label release, he's already pushing limits and establishing himself as a new act you need to keep your eyes on.
Listen to "Friends" below: