Mykki Blanco has released a new single, "Family Ties," and it's a collaboration with R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe. It's a minimal electronic pop song with production from FaltyDL, and Mykki, who's often known for in-your-face rapping, tones it down and sings this one.

"'Family Ties' is the first song where I sonically found my voice and I mean that in a very literal way," Mykki says. "It's the first song in my entire career where I am singing, I don't rap. I wrote this song about the relationship between my ex-boyfriend and his father that has had bouts of mental illness. When the person you love is going through a situation that you can't alter in any way, or help or be active in trying to correct it not only hurts them but it hurts you. I think the core meaning of this song is compassion in the face of helplessness."

About working with Michael Stipe, Mykki added, "I have been a fan of Michael Stipe and R.E.M forever. I had his email and ya know it’s one of those things when you acquire a living musical icon’s email and you think, ‘I have this now. but am I ever going to use it? Should I ever use it?’ FaltyDL and I took a shot at the moon - I sent him the song because it felt as if in some alternate universe Michael Stipe had already created it. His willingness to perform and be a part of this meant the world to me. I hope to just keep making good art and attracting meaningful circumstances and people that make this life and making music worthwhile. This on so many levels was one of those moments."

Michael added, "Mykki has a gorgeous voice, resolute and strong. I'm thrilled to have worked on ‘Family Ties’— I love how the song turned out."

FaltyDL also weighed in: "Looking for a fresh sound I returned to the abandoned instruments of my youth, guitar and bass. Mykki and I always talked about no more sampling and let’s hire studio musicians. With this song I got to scratch that itch and play my heart out. My voice can also be heard throughout the background of the song. Furthermore bringing in Matt Blanchard on saxophone was the moment the song became three dimensional."

According to a press release, "Family Ties is the first single from an upcoming project, details TBA. It also comes with a Kit Monteith-directed video that stars both Mykki Blanco and Michael Stipe. Check it out below.

Mykki's playing the BBC 6 Music Festival in the UK on April 1 and has more dates TBA.

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