with Tayla Parx

Songbyrd and Union Stage Presents
All Ages

DOORS: 6:30 PM // SHOW: 7:30 PM

$17 / $19 / $35



Songbyrd and Union Stage Present

Wednesday February 20, 2019


In the first track of MNEK's debut album Language, titled “Background,” the London-based singer, songwriter and producer explicitly explains the current transition of his career: “For too long I been in the background, baby,” he sings. “It’s time to step up to the front now so you can hear me out.”

For years, the 23-year-old has worked in the background for other massive artists: Madonna, Christina Aguilera (he wrote “Deserve” initially while he was in studio sessions for Beyonce’s Lemonade), Dua Lipa and even mega-successful K-pop group BTS.

“I actually worked on that the same day I worked on ‘Phone’ on my album,” MNEK said of their collaborative effort which became '낙원' -- which translates to "Paradise" -- on the phenom group's new album Love Yourself: Tear. “All of a sudden we heard a Korean version of it and were like ‘Whoa, this is a completely different song,' which was really the first time that had happened for me. That whole group is super talented and really nice and I really didn’t realize how big they were -- [their fan base] is massive.

Now, the 23-year-old artist is hoping to build up and connect with his own fan base through the personal and relatable stories off of his new 16-track project.

Having started in the industry at 14, it’s no surprise that Language comes with the polish of a seasoned pop star. On “Correct,” MNEK turns cocky, demanding respect for the work he’s put in, and on “Phone” he spins the tale of a clingy ex into a sickly sweet bop. For “Girlfriend,” he channels classics from the late '90s and early 2000s over a sample of Quincy Jones’s “Ai No Corrida,” with quotable lyrics like “neither you nor your story’s straight.” The track is a definite stand out, as well as “Honey Phaze,” which skews more R&B, name-checking Brandy and Monica. Even the sequencing and transitions of the song are done with the finesse and panache of a consummate professional while the album itself cements the artist as a vocalist.