Five Favourites: Ci Majr

Having just released her debut EP Side Effects, upcoming Atlanta artist Ci Majr creates uplifting, emotion-filled pop anthems. A specially curated five track project, the EP sparkles with a heartfelt sense of hope alongside a scintillating energy and twinkling hooks.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Ci Majr to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have shaped her as a musician. Check out her choices below and scroll down to watch the recent video for ‘Guillotine’ at the end of the feature.

Daft Punk – Discovery
Discovery was such an important album in my evolution as a music lover and also as a future singer/songwriter/producer. This was one of six CDs in my dad’s car that I’d get to choose from on my morning rides to middle school. There was something incredibly infectious about this album from the beginning. At the root of it, it just felt so new and fresh. I hadn’t heard anything so purely “electronic”. Usually, I’d be able to pick out a multitude of instruments but with Daft Punk it was like a symphony of synths and my young brain was just infatuated. Plus, even reflecting now, the songwriting is so simple in a way but also so catchy, and now as a songwriter myself I can really appreciate how much harder it is to make a simple song that gets your point across. ‘Something About Us’ is a perfect example of that. A lot of repetition, very simple vocabulary, and it’s just so moving and catchy. It is something I aspire towards.


Yanni – Yanni Live At The Acropolis
Yanni is a Greek-American instrumental composer. I actually know this “album” as a live concert DVD (yay DVDs are old school now lol) that my parents had. I grew up playing classical music, so (as a kid) I only saw instrumental/orchestral music as being quite boring and old-fashioned. Yanni, on the other hand, was conducting an orchestra, while playing the bongos, piano and more, and the music was just so lively and contemporary. It was like listening to the soundtrack of a movie but the music is so good you don’t even need or want to see the movie. You can just imagine your own storylines. It was so filled with emotion and passion, and his charisma is just so palpable. I remember going through a phase where I was creating/producing incredibly intricate instrumental arrangements because of my obsession with this performance. Additionally, I loved this album/performance so much that when I was a gymnast as a child I made one of the songs ‘Nostalgia’ my floor routine music.


Christine and the Queens – La Vita Nuova
If you know anything about me, you should know that I’m a bit obsessed with Christine and the Queens. She’s like the queer pop queen I’ve needed for so long. This latest EP La Vita Nuova absolutely blew my mind and what makes it even better is the visual that goes along with it. I watch the visual for it at least monthly and it’s just as good each time. Christine is an artist across the board: musically, visually, her abilities as a dancer. She’s an icon aesthetically and in practice. She’s such an inspiration to me that when she used different configurations of colourful rhinestones on her face in the visual album, it was the inspiration for my use of colourful rhinestones in my music video for Guillotine.


Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience
So even before this album, I was a huge fan of Justin Timberlake, but what makes this album special for me is that it really feels like such an incredibly cohesive and intentional body of work. First off, each of the songs are between 4.5-8 minutes, which is unheard of for a pop album. So many of the songs start with the “radio edit” and then have an outro of sorts, and I was just so easily hooked to each of these songs despite the length. It was similar to hearing Discovery where I felt like the “style” that was captured in this album just felt so new and fresh that I was addicted to this album. I think what I loved most about this album is that it felt to me that Justin and everyone else involved weren’t trying to sound like anyone, it was just like whatever he created, whatever came out, he just went with it and that’s how I’d like to conduct myself as a creative. Not using others as guidelines but just trusting the art that emerges authentically.


Kanye – Life Of Pablo
What I love most about this album is that I wasn’t super into Kanye before this album (like I knew his popular stuff but probably never listened to an album from front to back). Kanye is a rapper but this album is so much more than a rap/hip hop album. It’s similar to The 20/20 Experience where you can just tell that there were just no creative guide-rails and the authenticity becomes the star of the show. It’s just a work of art.

Massive thanks to Ci Majr for sharing her Five Favourites!

Side Effects, the debut EP from Ci Majr, is out now. Watch the recent video for ‘Guillotine’ here:

PLAYLIST: Love & Solidarity

It’s safe to say that each and every one of us right now is going through a hard time; a scary, strange time filled with uncertainty and fear. A time when feelings of anxiety are heightened and we need to seek refuge in our favourite music more than ever. We wanted to put together a few tunes to soothe the soul; to calm and to motivate. Some music to aid positive thoughts and relaxation, as taking time for yourself to switch off and de-stress is so essential right now. Take a deep breath, unwind and let us send you all a big dose of love and solidarity as you hit play and follow this playlist. (link at the end of the page)

Le Tigre – ‘Eau D’Bedroom Dancing’
Because I need Kathleen’s voice more than ever right now. This chilled number from one of my favourite albums, Le Tigre’s Deceptacon, just oozes so much twinkling heartfelt emotion from Hanna that my heart bursts a little more on each listen. Also, we will all no doubt be doing plenty of ‘Bedroom Dancing’ over the next few weeks/months…(Mari Lane)

Noga Erez – ‘Global Fear’
I listened to this track at least once a day on my commute to work pre-pandemic because, despite its melancholy context, I find it really relaxing. I’m a big fan of Noga Erez anyway, but I find her music extra impressive at a time like this, because it makes me feel both alienated and connected at the same time. She’s set to release her second album at some point this year, and that’s a small thing I’m holding on to. (Kate Crudgington)

Nilüfer Yanya – ‘Tears’
One of my favourite tracks from Nilüfer Yanya, and a slight move away from her guitar heavy tunes, ‘Tears’ captures you and takes you along with its bouncing beats and sad reflective lyrics. It’s been great to watch this artist reach the acclaim she so rightly deserves, and it reminds me of a personal highlight seeing her play at Primavera 2019. It was the definition of sun-drenched guitars. (Tash Walker)

Sink Ya Teeth – ‘Breathe’
Taken from their latest album Two, here our favourite Norwich duo create a soothing, sparkling majesty; oozing the soaring, calming vibes that we all need right now, it’s a truly exquisite offering, highlighting that it’s more important than ever now to make time each day to switch off, to simply breathe. And if you do that whilst listening to this euphoric soundscape, I guarantee it’ll make you feel a little better. (ML)

Massive Attack – ‘Safe From Harm’
This Massive Attack tune never fails to calm me down. The snaking bass lines and Shara Nelson’s mesmerising vocals override the threats being explored in the lyrics, making it an oddly soothing listen. (KC)

Portishead – ‘Roads’
Taken from my most listened to album of all time, ‘Roads’ is one of those tracks that never fails to calm me. With a cathartic raw emotion and whirring energy that builds with each throbbing beat, I find something deeply therapeutic about it. It’s the same with the whole of Dummy, but this song is probably just a notch above the rest. Listen, close your eyes and let the impassioned grace of Beth Gibbons’ heartfelt vocals take you down a road of healing. (ML)

Elsa Hewitt – ‘Tiny Dancer’
Whatever your mood, electronic artist & producer Elsa Hewitt has a tune to accompany it. I was so caught up in her live set when she played for us at Notting Hill Arts Club in 2018, I could’ve listened to her mixing and triggering her ambient tunes all night. A perfect distraction in these strange times. (KC)

Amahla – ‘Old Soul’
Hackney-Native Amahla blew us away ‘Old Soul’ at the beginning of 2019 and has just kept getting better. It was a complete pleasure to see her perform for our IWD x Sofar Sounds gig a couple of weeks back. Listening to this song now, it leaves me reflecting on the older generations of our society, who we must all rally around as a community to help support through this uncertain time. (TW)

Babeheaven – ‘Seabird’
A perfectly dreamy accompaniment to gazing out the window at the beautiful blossom and budding dafs swaying in the breeze; a reminder that nature carries on, birds will continue to sing, flowers continue to grow, even when everything else is in disarray. I’ve found it really grounding over the last couple of weeks to focus on this, to seek solace in nature. And the luscious, soulful energy and beautifully rich vocals of ‘Seabird’ couldn’t be more welcome right now. (ML)

Connie Constance – ‘English Rose’
I first heard this cover about a year ago, but it’s really resonating with me at the moment, especially with the moments I go outside. Originally by The Jam, for me Connie Constance’s cover is the soundtrack to my daily stroll, enjoying every second I can of being outside at a time when we really value the things we used to take for granted. (TW)

Christine and the Queens – ‘Mountains (We Met)’
This track has been playing on repeat in my flat over the last couple of weeks, loved so much by my girlfriend who it brings a real sense of calm to. It reminds me of how lucky I am to be in lockdown with my loved ones, and the importance of staying connected week to week. Connected, we are a community, and communities can survive anything with love and solidarity. (TW)

Sharon Van Etten – ‘Beaten Down’
A poignant reflection on “love, patience and empathy”, Sharon Van Etten’s voice smoulders across dark synths, atmospheric keys and sparse echoing beats on this track. “‘Beaten Down’ is about making life-changing choices and remaining strong enough to see them through”, Etten explains. I think it’s okay to admit that the current situation has beaten most of us down, but I think you’ll be surprised how resilient you can be in the face of adversity too.
(KC)

Rilo Kiley – ‘A Better Son/Daughter’
With its twinkling emotion strewn splendour and heartbreakingly raw honesty, this is my go-to cathartic motivational soundtrack in life generally, but in the last couple of weeks I’ve pretty much been listening to Rilo Kiley on a loop. And I feel like this song in particular, with its impassioned and relatable lyricism, is a pretty spot on mantra of hope for getting through these strange times: “… You’ll fight it, and you’ll make it through… You’ll be awake, you’ll be alert // You’ll be positive though it hurts // And you’ll laugh and embrace all your friends…” (ML)

Mazzy Star – ‘Fade Into You’
One of the most beautiful and touching songs, from ’90s slow-core band Mazzy Star. ‘Fade Into You’ is so slow, considered and full of emotion, it’s hard not to get completely mesmerised by it. Escapism at its best. (TW)

Wolf Alice – ‘Blush’
I can’t listen to a Wolf Alice track without experiencing a flood of emotion. Most of the time it’s a giddy feeling that makes me want to stomp about and sing Ellie Rowsell’s lyrics really loudly; but with ‘Blush’, I always get a bit choked. It’s such a soft, romantic, sentimental tune. I’m looking forward to singing “Punch drunk, dumb struck, pot luck, happy happy” into my sisters’ faces again when all this blows over. (KC)

Kate Tempest – ‘People’s Faces’
There is so much that is so perfectly poignant in this song – the glaringly honest and completely relevant social commentary showcases Tempest’s unique poetic skill at creating relevant and hugely emotive social narratives. But a subtle glimmer of hope also shines through; the comfort we gain from those we love, and the comfort we can offer them just by being there (even over a Zoom or Skype meet!). So, even when it feels like the world is ending, we can still find happiness in each other: “… then we smile at all our friends… Even when I’m weak and I’m breaking… I can see your faces. There is so much peace to be found in people’s faces.” (ML)