Interview by Marie-Pauline Cesari

Jamaican-American musician Masego, celebrated for his innovative fusion of R&B, jazz, and hip-hop, continues to captivate audiences worldwide with his electrifying performances and infectious energy. With a distinctive sound and charismatic stage presence, Masego stands as a trailblazer in the music industry, seamlessly blending genres and pushing creative boundaries. In 2023, he released his second album and is currently on a tour around Europe.

Can you share where your passion for music comes from and when you knew you would dedicate your life to it?

I first encountered music in church during my strict upbringing with a military Jamaican father. We weren’t allowed to listen to hip-hop, but at the age of eight, I was blown away by a church drummer and taught myself. YouTube taught me everything I know. I picked up the piano and saxophone too. My passion solidified in college when I started seeing traction on Soundcloud, realizing I could do this full-time. It was rough at first—couch-surfing and losing money doing free gigs—but I knew if I could get in front of an audience and perform, I would be giving myself a great chance to succeed.

Who are your biggest musical inspirations, and how have they influenced your approach to creating music?

I’m influenced by the greats like Andre3000, D’Angelo, Miles Davis, Jorge Ben Jor, MICHAEL JACKSON, James Brown. I could go on forever. Likewise, I would say yes; everything I grew up on, from gospel to reggae music, to R&B, has become a huge part of my sound today.

The saxophone plays a prominent role in your music. Can you share the story behind your passion for the saxophone and how it became an integral part of your artistic expression?

Because of a girl. I thought the saxophone was the best instrument to win her over. So I started learning songs that I knew she liked. “Naked” by Marques Houston was the first one. Written by Tank; shout out to him!

In your journey as an artist, is there a particular concert or performance that stands out as a defining moment for you?

My first show in Spain was one of those shows that made me realize I’m him.

What role does humor play in your music, particularly in balancing contemplation with extroversion? How do you inject your personality and wit into your work?

It really just comes from knowing who you are. Once you find the balance in yourself, you can find balance in anything you do, and it will be seen. I’m a huge fan of comedy; I have a lot of respect for stand-up comedians and people like Dave Chappelle. My bandmates and friends are always cracking jokes.

‘Mystery Lady’ and ‘Two Sides’ are standout tracks from your recent work. Can you share the inspiration behind these particular songs and the stories you aim to convey through them?

“Mystery Lady”—I” – I had another dream about a woman already living in my melody garden commune. So I used a Rose to draw her out. I’m searching for this woman. I speak of silhouettes; I say, “No, I couldn’t see her.”I’m making songs about her because I want her to guide me to melody garden.
“2 Sides” – I meet a woman who I believe is the woman from Melody Garden. Since I’m learning now that it might already exist, I’m trying to make sure I can get access to my dream place. I’m letting her know I’ll be whatever you like. This story is where she brought me, and I’m hoping she takes me to melody garden.

Collaborations have been a significant part of your musical journey. Looking back, what has been your favorite collaboration so far, and how did it shape your artistic direction?

My most recent collaboration has been the most impactful. I created it from an archive of voice notes I have and collaborated with another producer to bring them to life.

If you could dream up a collaboration with any artist, deceased or alive, who would be your dream collaborator?

Jorge Ben Jor is my dream collaboration.

With your tour covering various cities, each with its own unique vibe, how do you adapt your personal style to connect with diverse audiences while staying true to yourself as an artist?

With the tour, I try to be a part of that city as much as I can before I perform. If I don’t have enough time, I’ll come back another time as a true tourist so that I can see what really makes that city move. Through having real moments, connections, and conversations in these cities, you can tailor your performance to the audience and still remain true to yourself because these are things you’ve learned that are now a part of you.

Music and fashion often intertwine in the entertainment industry. What is the place of fashion in your life and career, and how would you describe your style?

I just try to keep my values in line with everything I do. Getting dressed is no different; I’m always making sure I’m staying true to myself, that I’m comfortable, and there’s some form of creativity or eccentricity going on.