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Watch Mykki Blanco’s Evocative New Video Featuring Michael Stipe

"Family Ties" marks a creative turning point for the North Carolina rapper
Mykki Blanco

Singer-rapper Mykki Blanco teamed up with R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe for their latest single, “Family Ties.” “‘Family Ties’ is the first song where I sonically found my voice and I mean that in a very literal way,” Blanco said in a statement. “It’s the first song in my entire career where I am singing, I don’t rap.”




Blanco continued: “I wrote this song about the relationship between my ex-boyfriend and his father that has had bouts of mental illness. When the person you love is going through a situation that you can’t alter in any way, or help or be active in trying to correct it not only hurts them but it hurts you. I think the core meaning of this song is compassion in the face of helplessness.”

The saxophone-seared ballad was produced by Falty DL (Drew Lustman). Blanco wrote the song in Lisbon, Portugal, and New York City. Its Kit Monteith-directed video was shot in the north of England.

Blanco released their mini-album, Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep, last June. “Family Ties” is off an unannounced Blanco project, which is supposedly due to be announced as Blanco continues touring.

Fans can see Blanco perform this year on April 1 at the BBC 6 Music Festival.