Nene H launches label UMAY, shares first release from BASHKKA

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Nene H has launched her own label, UMAY, aimed at representing South, Western Asian and African and QTBIPOC artists.

Kicking things off is BASHKKA with five-track debut EP ‘Maktub’ (“it’s written”). It operates as a deeply personal project for the artist, modelling as a love letter towards her Turkish heritage and the queer community, coined her two most “defining influences”. Expect a genre-melding affair, shifting from uptempo dancefloor ready melodies with Kurdish vocal samples to Chicago-influenced house.

“My sound hasn’t been as much of a thought through process and rather an echo of feelings passing through different margins, styles and all underrepresented communities,” she explains.

Read this next: “More intimacy”: How Nene H is powering connections through techno

“‘Maktub’ is an idiosyncratic love letter to myself, my heritage and my community. My songs reflect the expedition of the past year and a half up until now and all the emotions that I gave myself space and fortitude to deal with and also to relish in.”

The EP artwork is curated by Copenhagen’s Noah Umur Kanber, complementing BASHKKA’s influences and taking inspiration from Sumerian mythology, tying the first body of work on UMAY together succinctly.

“My ambition is to build a fair ecosystem within the modern music industry, while serving you a super fresh sound and incredible artists,” Nene H explained on Instagram upon the announcement of the label. It starts as a non-profit imprint, sharing revenues with its artists and an open dialogue of critique against industry standards, label politics and the dominant music business model that the founder herself has encountered in recent years.

Read this next: What are perpetuity deals in record contracts? And why they’re a problem

Nene H has contributed to trans-activist, DJ and producer BASHKKA’s debut release – who is a close friend of the labelhead – by sharing a remix which will form the fifth track on the record, set to be released on February 15.

The release will be followed by a vinyl edition and music video in the summertime. Dedicated merchandise is also available now (alongside the preorder), with merchandise profits going towards The Association for Support for Transgender Children (FSTB).

Niamh Ingram is Mixmag’s Weekend Editor, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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