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Cold Specks set to tap Somali roots on personal new record

Del Cowie

After the release of her albums I Predict a Graceful Expulsion and Neuroplasticity — both shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize — Cold Specks is giving some insight on what to expect on her next album.

Speaking with Okayafrica recently while on an African tour performing at several festivals for the first time on the continent, the Canadian singer-songwriter born Ladan Hussein discussed how the record will sound and the issues it will explore.

The new project will feature 'a lot of analogue synthesizer sounds and drum programming' and will, according to her, be more personal than her previous records.

"It’s the first time I’m touching on things lyrically and thematically that have to do directly with my Somali roots, and racism, colorism and things like that," Hussein says. "It’s a very personal record."

Delving deeper into her background, Cold Specks talks about her father's history as a musician in the band Iftin, a popular Somali band in the 1970s and her own inspiring effect on people in the Somali diaspora.

"There was a little bit of backlash when I first came out in my little community, only because I was a female who was doing something that wasn’t exactly something to be respected in my community," she says. "So I didn’t speak about it. Only because of this culture shame. I started to speak out more about it a couple of years ago, and noticed a lot more Somali kids at my shows. Young kids in their early, mid 20s. Which is pretty badass."

Cold Specks is due to play NXNE on June 17 in Toronto.