The Key Studio Sessions: Khari Mateen

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All photos by Abi Reimold | abireimoldphoto.com

Philly renaissance man Khari Mateen is finally coming into his own. After nearly a decade working as a producer and multi-instrumentalist (whose resume includes a few Grammy-nominated Roots offerings), the classically-trained musician began showcasing his own songwriting through his digital outlet The Lunchroom last year, beginning with the sublime Wait for Sunrise EP. It’s easy to align certain songs to certain styles – the EP garnered the old “neo-soul” tag, and it feels somewhat right to brand more recent singles like “Doing Things” funk. Mateen himself, though, is not so easily pigeonholed. He’s pop, he’s experimental, he’s dance, he’s cinematic; in short, he’s a visionary. And meeting him and working in the studio with him – both to record his solo Key Session we bring you this week, and a session with The Roots’ Dice Raw which we’ll showcase next week – he remains above all a remarkably humble and easygoing guy, even though he crafts stunning compositions like “Day By Day” which carries the listener to stratospheric emotional highs, or “Move”, a pure body-shaking bolt of energy. Stream Mateen’s Key Studio Session performance below, download it here, and be on the lookout for his two upcoming live appearances: August 14th at Silk City, and August 26th at Chris’ Jazz Cafe.

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