No matter your predilection for his balmy brand of music, it’s difficult to dislike Muroki. The 21-year-old Kiwi/Kenyan artist makes the sort of sweet and breezy indie pop that feels like it was lab-made to brighten up the greyest of days (something Auckland has unfortunately experienced plenty of in recent weeks).
His newly released single, “Sweet Lime”, is a driving-on-a-summer-day song (unsurprising given his Raglan background), recalling the likes of Still Woozy, Cosmo Pyke, and, from closer to home, Summer Thieves.
“”Sweet Lime” is about myself exploring the bitter sweet nature of a long distant relationship,” Muroki explains. “I’m really excited for this release because it’s different to anything I have shared in the past and for the first time, I’ve dipped my toes into rap music.” Combining hip hop, funk, and indie pop flourishes, the song is, in his own words, a “soul burrito.”
There’s also another reason that “Sweet Lime” sounds so infectious: it was produced by Justyn Pilbrow, well-known for working on memorable songs like The Neighbourhood’s “Sweater Weather”, with Pilbrow letting Muroki use his Brooklyn studio.
“”Sweet Lime” was birthed when I was half dead on the couch in Justyn’s studio in Brooklyn, New York,” Muroki adds. “After New York, I was kicking around with my girl in Berlin for three weeks, where the song pretty much finished itself off.”
Muroki’s first release of the year feels like the start of big things for the young artist. He was the first signing to Olive, the record label launched by BENEE – not a bad mentor to have – in 2020. She fell in love with Muroki’s melodic sound, in particular his song “For Better or Worse”.
And this weekend Muroki will head to Christchurch to showcase his music at the city’s Electric Avenue Festival alongside superstars like Flume and Lorde. Expect to hear a lot more from the genre-hopping artist in 2023 and beyond.
Muroki’s “Sweet Lime” is out now via Universal Music New Zealand.