Poignant Folk Pop from Toronto’s Regent Park. - Mustafa: Stay Alive
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posted 08 Jun 2020 by Krister Axel
Modern life was not meant to be a never-ending fight for survival. Yet, here we are.

Mustafa was first moved to make music after he lost several close friends. The young Muslim poet grew up in Toronto’s Regent Park, which unfortunately sees its fair share of gun violence.

This debut single from an all-but-unknown, 23-year-old musician already has 2 million spins on Spotify alone, in only 1 month. Just as we enter a long-awaited, heightened phase of the #BLM movement, and we protest around the world over a problem that has been brewing for generations, "Stay Alive" emerges precisely at the moment that it needs to. Mustafa brings us a story that deserves to be told, and he does it with a command of his art that is both breathtaking and utterly visceral. He sings to the departed and to his hood, left with no choice but to carry on. As a quiet slice of inner-city folk, "Stay Alive" brings a fragile sense of beauty to the process of healing, saying more with a simple hook on acoustic guitar and an intimate vocal performance than a thousand distorted guitars ever could. This stunning debut from Mustafa exposes the vast spiritual injuries of an entire generation, while also showcasing a poignant sense of restraint. Modern life was not meant to be a never-ending fight for survival. Yet, here we are.

And if they take it all away
Our freedom and our hearts and that glow in your face
I'll remind you who were before it changed

This track was produced by Grammy-nominated Frank Dukes and co-produced by Grammy-winner James Blake. This song is featured on our Roots Collection playlist.

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About the Author

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Krister Bjornson Axel

Ashland, Oregon

Paris, France. Madison, Wisconsin. Los Angeles. Ashland, Oregon. Ottawa. I write music, I write about music, and I write code. See also: photography, prose, podcasting. I have 1 gorgeous wife, 2 amazing kids, and many interests.


Recent Awards: 2020 ND (Photo) Honorable Mention, 2020 Accenti Writing Contest Finalist


Read my poetry here.