Island-punk artist Ms. Mohammed releases her debut EP, Alibi, this Autumn.
‘Stay in your lane’. It’s a familiar barb, a warning to would-be rebels to let the status quo stand. But what if defiance is your calling? What if there is no lane for a queer, Fender-commanding Trinidadian femme of south Asian descent? And what if, like MIA, Grace Jones and PJ Harvey before her, Ms. Mohammed means to blaze her own, unique path?
After a brief stint in side projects that saw her appearing at Reading Festival and on Later…with Jools Holland, the London-based artist released a self-titled LP of attitudinal alt-blues as Dana Jade in 2012, earning strong reviews and support slots with the likes of PJ Harvey collaborator, John Parish.
But major changes have occurred in the intervening years. With LGBTQ and feminist progress has come a conservative backlash: austerity, Brexit, Trump, the #MuslimBan and Far Right fukry across the globe. And as life for marginalised voices becomes increasingly fraught, it feels increasingly important to own and value our otherness. Hence the name-change:
“Continuing under my Dana Jade [middle name] moniker didn’t feel right anymore. That title was too Anglicised, too safe; it avoided the weight of my government surname, Mohammed. Many of my loved ones are facing a lot of hate right now and I want to stand with them, to be counted.”
That gritty, resolute sense of purpose can be felt throughout her debut EP, Alibi, as Ms. Mohammed. “Before I made these songs, I asked myself: what can I bring to the table? My only goal was to make music I hadn’t already heard. I think I managed that.” The sound she’s crafted is a sultry, blistering alt-fusion of indie guitars, south Asian percussion and tropical riddims: island-punk, or rock & dhol, if you will.
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