This week’s Friday Mixtape comes from creative polymath, Mahaneela. When not photographing bands or filming their music videos, Mahaneela also manages musicians too, dipping her toes in all the roles the music industry has to offer.
However, in an industry that is often full of egos, Mahaneela offers an alternative approach, a personality filled with pure joy that puts collaboration first. As a result, her long list of projects sees her paving out a path we’re certainly following her down.
Below, Mahaneela talks us through her choices track by track as well as the songs that fill her very busy working days.
It’s Nice That: Why have you picked these songs, what do they remind you of or make you feel?
Mahaneela: Does It Get Easier – Denai Moore: I added this song because Denai is a good friend of mine and she’s the reason I started directing music videos. The video to this track was my first ever music video, so it’s always got a special place in my heart!
Put You On – Amber Mark ft Dram: This song reminds me of New York and one of my favourite shoots ever. The energy was so high on set when I shot the visual for this, it’s one of my favourite memories so far of my career! We had such a blast shooting it.
Another Lover – VanJess: I love VanJess’ album Silk Canvas, so it was amazing to shoot a visual for this track which was produced by one of my favourite artists Kaytranada. The whole shoot was full of feminine energy and we shot it just down the road from my house too, so whenever I listen to this track it reminds me that.
Ultimaybe – Benja 1010SL: I love this track so much and this whole project. Benja is a good friend of mine and I’m just in awe of how he pulls in so many references to create such a complete, unique sound. This song makes me feel like I’m invincible, I can play it back to back and not get tired of it!
Nobody – Miraa May: This is the song for the most recent promo I worked on. It reminds me of family, because the video itself features many of my family and friends, so it was a really personal project for me. It was also the first time I ever shot on Super 8 and I thoroughly enjoyed learning the process from start to finish, so this song brings up all of those memories.
Consensual Seduction – Mick Jenkins ft Corinne Bailey Rae: I love this song!! And I was lucky enough to shoot a visual for this out in Jamaica (coming soon, watch this space!). This track was already a favourite of mine before having the chance to work on the music video, but now it reminds me of being back in Jamaica (it was my first time in nine years) and the camaraderie I had with our local crew there. This visual was pure vibes on set!
Tell Them – James Blake, Moses Sumney, Metro Boomin: I absolutely love this track and in fact, James Blake’s whole new album is incredible. I’ve been playing it on repeat recently while I work. I had the opportunity to meet and spend time with Moses Sumney on my recent trip to Ghana, and he truly is an amazing musician (and person)!
Make it out Alive – Nao ft Sir: I love Nao’s album Saturn, and I just shot her recently for Trench Magazine. She’s so bubbly, beautiful, and such a great representation of amazing British music. I hope I get the chance to work with her again!
On The Low– Burna Boy: I LOVE BURNA BOY. No other reason for this one, haha! I just came back from a trip to Ghana and I saw him perform there. He’s someone I would love to work with in the future.
Treasure – Sampha: Sampha will always be one of my favourite artists. I’ve been lucky enough to work with him many times now, and I actually got the chance to shoot him rehearsing this song with Kamasi Washington, Kelsey Lu, Robert Glasper and Serpentwithfeet. It was so amazing to watch, sometimes I really have to pinch myself!
INT: When or where should this mixtape be listened to?
Mahaneela: This mixtape should be listened to if you’re working or on the go!
INT: Are there certain albums you listen to during the different parts of your creative process?
Mahaneela: At the moment I have been listening to James Blake non stop. But no, not specifically. I just either listen to the track I’m working on for hours on repeat, or I listen to whatever I like that’s current or old.
INT: You additionally work with musicians as well as your more creative work, what is it about the industry that interests you?
Mahaneela: Yeah, I love music. And a lot of my work involves musicians – to be honest, almost all! I like that the industry is constantly changing and I think I also like that it needs a lot of work because that makes me passionate about changing it.
INT: What records did you listen to when you were a teenager?
Mahaneela: Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Destiny’s Child, Christina Aguilera, Ashanti, Chris Brown… those six were basically on rotation when I was younger. But, you’re so fickle at that age, and as a teen, I went through this “emo phase” and listened to non stop Paramore, Panic at the Disco, Bullet For My Valentine etc.
Some true classics though of my teenhood are Foolish by Ashanti, I Write Sins Not Tragedies by Panic at the Disco and Smash Mouth’s All Star. I think those three really highlight the kind of music I was into at the time haha.
INT: If a feature film about your life was to be made, what song would be on the trailer and why?
I can picture it being really epic and dramatic, with that kind of cheesy voice over on the top (think every DVD from the 2000s). I’d probably have Addicted by Truth Hurts playing on the trailer!
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