MALI Music
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MALI Music

Fresno, California, United States | INDIE

Fresno, California, United States | INDIE
Band Christian Singer/Songwriter




"Mali Music"

Mali reaches the younger generation! -

"Who is Mali Music"

Who is Mali Music -

"Mali Music - Kingdom Fest"

Kingdom Fest -

"Mali Music Springfest Montreal Canada"

Mali Music at Springfest -

"BET Music Matters: Mali Music"

Mali Music on Creativity - BET

"Mali Music Dove Nomination"

E. Larry McDuffie thought he knew all the big names in urban black gospel today. So he was "flabbergasted" when an industry tracker asked him about an up-and-coming Savannah singer, Mali Music.

"I said, 'In Savannah? This person is in Savannah, Georgia?' " McDuffie said, chuckling. "How did he get past me?"

The reason may be because Mali Music, whose real name is Kortney Jamaal Pollard, has gathered more fans on the Internet than he has, so far, in his hometown.

Once McDuffie listened to the soulful singer's "The 2econd Coming" album, he was impressed.

"When I put the CD in to play, I thought I was listening to one of the giants already in gospel music," said McDuffie, program director at 1230 AM WSOK Radio. "He has an original sound all his own. That's what grabbed my ear."

Mali Music may grab more ears soon.

The Gospel Music Association recently nominated Mali Music for "best urban recorded song" of the year for "Avaylable."

The former Savannah resident plans to attend the 41st Annual GMA Dove Awards on April 21 at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tenn.

The program will be recorded and televised at 8 p.m. April 25 on the Gospel Music Channel.

The "Dove (Awards) is no small thing in the gospel community," McDuffie said. "That's almost like being honored by the Grammys."

Other nominees include Cece and Bebe Winans, Marvin Winans and Israel Houghton.

Overnight success

If it seems like Mali Music came out of nowhere, it could be because his first fans came through the Internet, McDuffie said.

Mali has long enjoyed writing his own songs and singing them with his friends, said his mother and manager, Kim Walker.

"A couple of his friends had the idea to record a song and post it on YouTube and it immediately became a hit," Walker said.

As of Wednesday, the video for "Avaylable" had nearly 216,000 page views.

Mali's family, including his sisters, Rae Ladson, 26, and Lakeisha Pollard, 21, and father, Larry Walker - all from Savannah - helped Mali put together his first CD of eight original songs, "The Coming.''

Within six months of its February 2008 release, the CD sold 10,000 copies through the independent online seller

"Then we started getting interest from other Christian record labels, and we decided to keep it home-grown, Savannah-based and local," Walker said. "We didn't sign him. We did it all ourselves."

The family started its own record label, Sound Walk Music Group, and signed a distribution agreement with the new Memphis-based Dedicated Music Group and Universal Records.

Mali's second CD, "The 2econd Coming," debuted at No. 15 on the Billboard Current Gospel Chart upon its release in July 2009. To date, it has sold 15,000 hard copies.

Since then, "Avaylable" has received air play on WSOK and other radio stations across the nation offering urban gospel.


Until now, Pollard was best known locally for his four years playing football for Benedictine Military School.

He said he turned down a full scholarship to Oklahoma State University, a decision that initially disappointed his friends and family.

Pollard said he felt he was "appointed" by God to be a gospel musician.

"There's no question right there. I wouldn't waste my time if there wasn't a promise with specific instruction," he said. "If there wasn't, I definitely wouldn't be doing it."

Pollard had cut his teeth in gospel music as a child, attending Faith on the Move Ministries with his family. He began playing piano at age 5 and wrote is first song at age 8, Walker said.

At the age of 16, Pollard was named the church's minister of music.

The job involved leading choir rehearsals, coordinating music with the pastor and organizing music performances for the congregation, which included more than 200 attendees a week.

"The level of accountability in my youth was heavy," he said. "I had to know God. All of that was preparation for now."

He cites musical influences in "neo soul" singers like Bilal, gospel singer Tye Tribbett and soul kings Sam Cooke and Otis Redding.

In January, Pollard's family moved to Fresno, Calif., where his father works as the director of transportation for a hospital.

While Pollard and his family expect to visit family and friends in Savannah often, he hopes the move makes it easier to promote his burgeoning music career.

"I'm a songwriter at heart. It's my job," Pollard said. "It's my profession to write the things (God) wants me to say."

"I Hate You"


“I HATE YOU!” Don’t take it personally. This harsh declaration is the opening statement of Mali Music’s The Coming, and after listening, I find myself in more agreement than offense. I suppose I would liken this project to a movie that opens with a brutal fight scene. The brawl is so intense that you can’t look, yet you can’t look away. Before you know it, you’ve become emotionally involved. So many questions: Who’s fighting? Why?! Whose side am I on? Who do I root for?

Well, as I journey through the CD, Mali answers these questions and more. Tracks like “Impulses” and “All I Have to Give” bare his soul, leaving him utterly transparent. He reveals a level of self truth that has seemingly become rare in Christian culture. Though he is sure to suffer some ridicule in presentation, I believe that ultimately, he has created a well for those thirsty for relativity. Each song relays another chapter in the story that is The Coming. Beyond simple storytelling, Mali gives account to real situations, and tracks like “More Than a Conqueror”, “Avaylable”, and “Forward” offer both encouragement and solutions.

Even for a debut, this project is surprisingly short, only 8 tracks. Nevertheless, I don’t feel at all deprived; Mali Music effectively shows his music making ability. As individual accounts, these songs don’t quite seem to belong on the same CD (a testament to his artistry and originality). But as I allow him to lead me through the project, a connection is made. I see the whole picture. And in his transparency, I see myself, and I am compelled to listen and journey again . . . and again.

I still wonder how “Get Right” made the cut, being that its predecessor, “Forward”, seemed a befitting benediction. I just attribute it to a display of versatility, as is the entire project. (I don’t doubt that it will be a favorite for some.) If this album is the introduction, I can’t wait to see what else is “coming”.

- Raine

"The Coming- CD Review"



It’s late afternoon. You’ve worked. All of your errands are complete, phone calls returned, loose ends tied up. For the rest of the day, your time is yours. So, you join your friends who, like you, have met the obligations and demands of the day. As the group mulls over what to do, the obvious and usual activity prevails: Eating. But what to eat? Everyone wants something different. You want foreign cuisine, another wants southern style, yet another wants fast food. Only two things are unanimous; you all want to eat and you want to eat together. Suddenly, someone suggests a buffet. Without hesitation, everyone agrees (wondering why they didn’t think of it first). It’s decided. A buffet. Everyone’s tastes satisfied.

If good Kingdom music is what you crave, then Mali Music has just the buffet for you. On a Saturday evening, February 23, 2008, 20-year old Jamaal “Mali Music” Pollard very grandly opened his doors and invited the world to dine with him as he released his musical menu, The Coming.

The live concert was undoubtedly an affair to remember. From introduction to curtain call, each morsel was delivered in the form and style true and unique to only Mr. Mali Music. Like a multi-course meal, each new set built upon the last. The distinct flavors of the background singers, who included his label-mate E. Hall and baby sister Keisha Janay, blended expertly throughout each course. The musicians were flawless and full of energy; Mali would have it no other way! Whether you wanted to “rock out” or worship, praise or party, get crunk or get delivered, this was certainly the place for you.

If you missed the concert, don’t worry! (And don’t be misled by the modest CD cover.) Like no other artist I’ve heard, Mali Music’s long awaited CD, The Coming, captures the same energy and spirit of his shows. Tracks like “Forward”, “I Hate You”, and “No Muzick” give a very accurate recap of the event. However, those who were in attendance felt the power of God Himself as we declared the enemy defeated in “Fear” and “spoke life into dead situations”. Being sure to cover all ground and bridge any generational gaps, Mali even called on the help of his uncle, Apostle Keith Ladson as they shared a compelling rendition of “I Won’t Complain”.

Anyone who came with expectations left fulfilled; any skeptics were convinced. Mali is truth in music. Whether people walked away from the table completely stuffed or simply satisfied was a matter of personal discretion, but an eclectic feast was prepared and presented. (Though any loyal Mali Music fan knows that is was just an appetizer!) My compliments to the chef!
- Raine

"Mali Music Heed Magazine"

Mali Music: Indhee Artist
Story by Saoul Vanderpool
photography by Chris Wharton

A far cry from many contemporary Christian tracks spun on today’s airwaves, Jamaal “Mali Music” Pollard pushes the boundaries of the gospel genre while maintaining a concise and clear spiritual message to a pop-culture driven generation. Where most would expect a musical hook likened to “God is Love” Mali’s single “I Hate You” demands attention and ignites curiosity with fiery lyrics and a hype, base-heavy R&B track.
With humble beginnings as a minister of music at the age of 11 for Faith on the Move Ministries in Savannah, Georgia, Mali built the foundations of his faith and musical ability. Support from Pastor Eric S. Jackson led Mali and a congregation of believers into a consistent state of “raw” worship experiences. Mali reminisced aloud of hearing songs in his head and performing them on the spot. These instant musical inspirations sometimes led his church’s membership into periods of worship for three hours straight, breaking the schedule of a normal Sunday Morning service. Enlightened by a very personal relationship with God and unconfined by religiosity, Mali set to offer our world the same sound he heard during those Sunday services.

Mali never wanted to become another Holy Hip Hop or Rhythm & Praise artist who promoted the carnality of his past as much as the promise of his future. Sprinting away from this musical trap he found himself at the five-yard line of a full-scholarship to play collegiate football as a laudable SEC Division-One prospect. Heavily scouted by recruiters from schools such as Oklahoma State and Notre Dame seemingly pointed Mali’s future in one direction but the fate of the Father abruptly turned the tables post his high school graduation. Before a knee injury and sixty pounds of weight loss, Mali’s eyes to his true calling in life had already been opened. Grinding his teeth on bricks, Mali approached his parents with the news of not choosing the athletic route and instead obeying what he knew to be the “Voice of God”. With the support of his parents in allowance of his pursuit of music he noticed a period of stagnancy where nothing seemed to happen upon making such a bold move. After unveiling his work to his parents which included an online following rivaling that of Jazmine Sullivan’s pre-Grammy nominations days, Mali’s ministry began to take off benefiting the entire family.

While Mali’s listening audience may limit their musical palette to iTunes’ Genius bar matching, his tastes crosses unexpected genres with inspirations such as D’angelo, Fionn Regan, Bob Marley, Damien Rice, Natasha Beddingfield, Feist and Frank Sinatra. At the top of Mali’s dream collaboration list lies the controversial and witty musician Bilal.
“Music is Pure…all of it isn’t edifying to God but its what we choose to do with it that makes it bad. I love Bilal…he will sing exactly what his soul wants to sing.”

Mali continued to explain that the sound of their gift was not something he would deprive himself of based off of that particular artists’ lifestyle.
“If it’s about what you do that defines your music then, my God we are going to be some messed up people”.

How does Mali stay grounded with a jam-packed schedule and major opportunities within the music industry?
“You got to be smart and don’t stay alone”…”I keep people that hold me accountable around me”.

He admits that nobody is without a personal struggle and defines holiness as a heart to do right versus a self-righteous and judgmental stance towards others. Mali briefly shared a period of depression in his life in which he was doing the right things but yielding the results of one who was not doing that which was right. During this time of discouragement he resolved not to do what was right. At that point he began to lose track of who he was. After a self-evaluation and fervent pray the God-inspired musical track “Conqueror” was written, self-encouraging Mali to continue on his track of “right living”.

With a full-fledged independent record label, (Sound Walk Music) and a major distribution deal, Mali’s musical future seems headed in a course bound for success. Sound Walk Music plans include the release of a compilation album debuting various label-mates and a re-release of the “The Coming” entitled, "The 2ECOND COMING" featuring a host of new tracks coupled with the prior song-list available on his debut release. Flinging spiritual swag that kicks the music industry to another level, Mali Music is and will always be the artist to heed.

- Heed Magazine

"Mali Music- God's Next Big Thing"

From Savannah, GA, Jamaal, known as Mali Music, has been getting ever so popular with the people. With such colorful musical compositions and artistry, he conveys the heart of God and hasn’t lost sight of the mission. From producing and writing his own music, to composing scores for Christian plays, this multi-faceted individual seeks to be real, and brings “Truth Music.” May the world see the artistry that God brings from His people, but also may His people bring God’s truth in all they do.

Lamar: Well first I just want to say that we at appreciate the opportunity to be able to have this interview with you, it’s a pleasure.

Jamaal aka Mali Music (MM): No thang my dude! It’s an honor.

Lamar: So first, I just want to start off with what many would like to know. Who is Mali Music and what made you use that name?

MM: Well, I been makin’ noise since I was a youngin’, and Moms would call me "MALI" based off of my name Jamaal, and it stuck, but lil’ Mali grew up and got big thangs to say bout a Big God!!!

Lamar: Amen! We all should proclaim who Christ is wherever we go, and whatever we do!


Lamar: That’s great to hear though, because it’s great to not be ashamed, I'm glad I'm able to say I'm not, because God changed me from being more timid, and is continuing to work.

MM: And he ain’t done!!!! (Laughs) Glory!!!

Lamar: (Laughs) Definitely. So how was your childhood growing up, where you from?

MM: From Savannah GA.! Childhood was musical! Disney, The Wiz, music, music, broadways!!! all the time! And don’t forget church! A lot of that! (Laughs)

Lamar: (Laughs) Amen, people be trying to play church music, you can't front on the artistry there. It just needs to be presented right.

MM: That’s right.

Mali Music singing "Avaylable" to acoustic Guitar

Watch Mali Music sing "Avaylable" UNPLUGGED

Lamar: I have kind of a musical family, my brother is a producer, and my father was a praise and worship leader at my church, so it’s cool to know music from them.

MM: Yeah man, it gave me an outlet. I was mad full of stuff but couldn't get it out! Got that board and it was over!

Lamar: Wow, praise God for that man! God is good and knows how to showcase talents for His glory.

MM: Yes. Thank God for "good parents!” A lot of parents miss it or don’t pay much attention and a genius walks around not even knowing who he is till its too late! 40 years old droppin’ their first album asking, why haven't I been doin’ this?! (laughs). I’m grateful.

Lamar: Word, it’s so important to have the right atmosphere so that people can grow in God, and grow in their art, it’s so important!

MM: Yes!

Lamar: So with the influences of the church, and music from Broadway, do you have any other artistic influences?

MM: I learn so much from all of the genres. My fave and one of the first was new aged soul music. It gripped me. Bilal. D'Angelo. It was a wrap. It was pure emotion! [It] didn't matter how it came out, but whatever made it felt it in a deep place and you could identify with whatever it was. D'Angelo barely said words but the noises made perfect sense. You know?

Lamar: Yeah, definitely. Music should be something you can definitely feel! I am often interested in artists who have a wide range of influences because all of them probably aren't Christian, and I had an interesting discussion with someone about that before. Should Christians be concerned with artists who have artistic influence from non-Christians or no?

MM: Heck yeah! You shouldn't be "concerned" like not with every move but on the real, all things are pure. The simple concept of music as an art and an act of expression is beautiful! It is totally of God! [It] just got perverted, but there still is good music out there that doesn't edify God, but blesses and refreshes His temple…so yeah. Music is a tool; it’s not our fault that some use it as a weapon. You can kill with a screwdriver yeah, but you can screw the heck out of a screw though! Its original use is wonderful!! (Laughs).

Lamar: Mmm! What an interesting point to make right there. Definitely tools can be misused, I mean even the word of God can be misused as Peter said of Paul's letters, which were inspired by God.

MM: Come on suh! Preach!!!!

Lamar: (Laugh) Amen brother, it’s true, we have to be patient regardless of the issues we make of His words.

MM: Yes.

Lamar: Man, I was at Nyack, when you came for the “Jesus Rocks!” concert and you did this song "Jesus and John" and it really blessed me, because there are so many people that reject God because of misuse of His word and His tools. How has dealing with shortcomings of Christians strengthened your walk with God, by overcoming these things and looking towards Christ?

MM: It forced me to seek Him "alone" giving Him opportunity to prove Himself to me personally—allowing me to let go of everyone else’s testimony and hold to my own!

Lamar: Hmm yea, that’s interesting. I remember I first went to Nyack, and as I learned more I had to battle with doubt, yet God's grace was sufficient.

MM: That’s it!

Artist: Mali Music
Production: Mali Music
Album: The 2nd Coming
Release Date: In Stores June 2009
Label: SWMG/DMG/Universal Christian Music Group
Hometown: Savvanah, GA
Bio/Notes: From Mali Music's upcoming sophomore album "The 2nd Coming"

Lamar: God is too good to let go because we fall short of His goodness.

MM: Constantly!

Lamar: Amen! So I noticed that some of your songs deal with these things that take place with Christians who can fall short sometimes. But do you think there is a fine line between doing a Godly rebuke, or just continue to engage in "church bashing,” which gives the opportunity for gossip and division?

MM: Oooh...yummy. (Laughs) [I] love this topic!

Lamar: Yessir!!

MM: Well everything that is happening has been foretold by the Savior, and we have to prophesy against the prophet! Keeping our ear to truth and our face to the floor and speak as a mouthpiece of God. Church bashin’ is so strongly stated, but I target religion...and what is believed to be the "look" of holiness, is fake! Pure and simple! We've mastered church and souls are being lost. Man there’s a million things runnin’ through my head but that’s how u get it in! Every movement that rose and ruled, waged war against the previous champ by "bashing." That’s what I did and then introduced the "new" way, that’s what I’m doing. Bashing the look of God and introducing "lifestyle.”

Lamar: Wow, now that's an interesting way to put it. As the Bible says, a form of godliness but no power.

MM: Yessir!

Lamar: I definitely don't see anything wrong with what you have said whenever mentioning the failings of the church. I've just seen some talk about it, just to talk about it, and that's as vain as the traditions they speak against, if they just keep complaining without moving forward.

MM: People don’t wanna touch it though, because they have nothing better to offer if someone is convinced and begins to ask questions of what to do now if what I’ve been doing is wrong. Oooh but that’s when I step in and without whoopin’ and spittin’ and carryin’ on simply speak on the little foolish things that my baby eyes have seen, and how he's sustained silly. So as small as you think you are He chose ME, so he can really get it in with you! Then people begin to believe and even if they don’t, a seed was sown and a reaping comes!

Lamar: Amen!

MM: People want so much Glory!!!! If u not rollin’ on the floor after they touched your head in the mall, you don’t believe! It’s stupid! We want to see the results of our witness right then and there!! Forget that!!! That ain’t God! Christ saves!!!!! Not man!!! All we do is refer...Glory!!!!

Lamar: Wow, amen! People won't admit they want to see the results of their witness but it’s true.

MM: Yea man.

Lamar: So yea, your first album was “The Coming,” what were you intending on doing with this album?

MM: Telegraph the 2nd Coming.

Lamar: So it would seem that "The Coming" was done to address similar things in which Jesus did with His first coming? Since the 2nd Coming of Jesus will be A LOT different. (Laughs)

MM: Exactly! I wanna be just like Christ no lie!

Lamar: Yea, that should be the aim! So I found out that you're also an actor and was involved with plays, like doing the scores for two plays. How is the experience of creating a score for plays from producing and writing songs for your albums?

MM: It’s amazing! The music has to tell the story. Not the voice, which is a lot more of a challenge. Anybody can stumble upon a dope track, but can u "intentionally" relate a message without saying a word?

Lamar: Wow, that’s a great way to put that. It's so true. Without music, things in plays and in the movies we watch wouldn't come with such a force as it does when music is placed in the right place

MM: Uh huh.

Lamar: Yeha man. So lately I've been seeing some Georgia love with the songs you have on the Gumbo Red album, and Mr. Del's new song "Spread the Gospel,” as well as with Zion, and the new music video. How did you get into contact with both of these guys?

MM: I don’t know, just kinda happened, honestly.

Lamar: Wow, well God tends to do those things, and we just end up being grateful for the opportunity! (Laughs) Do you see yourself working with other Christian rap artists in the future?

MM: Oh yea!!!!

Lamar: Alright!! Well I'll be on the lookout for this! Do you have any rap artists in particular you would like to work with that you know?

MM: Not really. Anybody spittin’ that’s spittin’ dat Jesus!

Lamar: Aiight that’s what’s up! Man I’m excited for that, it would be great to see you work with some hot Christian rap artists, they makin' noise for the kingdom!

MM: Mos def.

"Trouble" by ZION feat. Mali Music

Lamar: So, what should we look forward to with "The 2econd Coming"? Are you looking to stretch the qualities that came from your first album?

MM: Yep! More genres, more lifestyle, more music, more inspiration equals better living.

Lamar: Yeah man, that’s so great. I really love to hear music from an artist that grows from his last album, because it involves a relationship with God that is real and continuing to thrive and not relying on their time-tested formula for success in the industry

MM: u right! Can’t wait4 ya'll 2 get it!

Lamar: YES! People have really been lovin’ the leak you sent, the song "Higher.” I loved what you did when you kept raising your voice when you said “Higher” in the chorus.

MM: Yeah man, that song means a lot!!! Symbolizing the perpetual ascension into God.

Lamar: Yeah, we definitely need to press towards the higher calling in Christ Jesus. So, have you been able to check out the website, if so, what do you think of it?

MM: Oh yes man!! Good stuff! I’m like look at the kingdom!!

Lamar: Yeah man, I remember the older site; I was barely checking them out. But when they fixed this site up and I saw all the things they were doing, all I could do is smile man!

MM: Yeah.

Lamar: So before we end this great interview, is there something you would like to tell the people, maybe some encouragement or just share your heart.

MM: Let’s get focused. Let’s stop chasing prosperity, blessings, and greed, and get back on the street team! Pushing Christ like he's the hottest thing poppin’, cuz he is! I also want everybody to know when to look for the new projects as I make my attempts to rep that Jesus! Def check your boy out on! The mixtape drops May 30th—bananas! And the 2econd coming hits July 14th! Hit up the pre-sales and get it today from Thanks so much 4 the love and support and lets get it!

Lamar: Amen bro!! It was a pleasure to hear your heart and to get it in about things that needs to be discussed. I can speak for and say that we support what your doing and pray the grace of God continues to follow you and order your steps as you show how artistic God is, but most importantly show that there is only life in Christ Jesus!!


You can check out what’s up with Mali Music at , his Myspace, which is , and also CD Baby:

- Da South Magazine

"Check'Out Mali Music- The 2econd Coming"

Mali Music’s name has been spreading like wildfire throughout the industry for a good minute now, so I’m assuming that this is not an “introduction” for most of you. But for the few of you that have not heard his refreshing sound, you’re gonna wanna read on…

Use your auditory imaginations to combine the soulful voice of soul/funk artist Bilal (or maybe, a throwback to Sam Cooke) with the musical freedom of someone like Tye Tribbett… Mali Music is what might result. Combine that with his passion for Christ and the new sound he brings to the industry, though, and it becomes clear that he’s an artist without comparison.

This dude’s creativity is at first impressive, then kinda staggering. His message (the Gospel) isn’t ”new,” but it’s packaged SO well that it’s refreshing. Judging by his tour calendar, he’s in high demand with gigs galore booked through the summer and beyond.

The industry and a bunch of consumers are practically drooling for his upcoming album, The 2econd Coming, available on July 14th. I predict that he is going to do VERY well in this industry.


"Mali's First Coming"

Mali's First Coming"

- Bill Hildebrande

"Mali Music Exclusive" - Urban Music Biz


o LP Debut Project: “The Coming” I Hate you/Avaylable (Feb 2008)
o Compilation: “HBH Radio Worldwide” No Muzick (Jan 2009)
o Compilation: “The Gumbo Red Project” Cry Aloud/Foolish (Jan 2009)
o LP : “The 2nd Coming” (National Release July 2009)
o LP: “The Come Up” SWMG /Mali Music Note Productions (March 2010)
o Single: “Deep Blood Red” SWMG /Mali Music Note Productions (Jan 2011)
o Single: “Mercy Lord” SWMG /Mali Music Note Productions (Jan 2011)
o Single: “The Job Experience” SWMG /Mali Music Note Productions (Oct 2011)



“Music is my weapon of choice.”

One listen. That’s all it takes to become captivated by Mali Music.

Already an underground fave for his arresting mash-up of contemporary pop, hip-hop, soul, alternative rock and inspirational storytelling, the singer/songwriter/musician surfaced to mainstream raves at the 2011 BET Awards. In fact, Grammy Award winner Akon was so taken by Mali Music’s performance and talent that he asked the newcomer to collaborate on a song—“New Life”—for Akon’s upcoming 2012 album.

As Akon declared to, “This kid is incredible; the world needs to hear him.” And as BET’s newest Music Matters artist the world is getting that chance now.

Mali Music’s new single is the song he performed on the BET Awards: “The Job Experience.” The compelling track—available exclusively on iTunes—and its equally mesmerizing video recently made their world premiere on BET’s “106 & Park.”

It’s a modern revamp of the parable about biblical figure Job who, despite personal and physical setbacks, refuses to renounce his faith. It’s a fitting message given today’s roller coaster economic climate, social issues and world concerns. “It’s a smart way to bring people to the text,” explains Mali Music, a prolific writer who pens two-three songs a day. “Everyone is affected by this story.”

Both the single and its cliff-hanging video provide a powerful introduction to Mali Music’s third album, “Mali Is.” The SoundWalk Music Group/Releve Entertainment release is slated for first quarter 2012.

“It’s very difficult to define me,” says Mali Music, who was the first inspirational artist to participate in BET’s critically acclaimed Music Matters series. “With this album, I want people to just feel and experience my work. Then they can define their own perspective of Mali Music.”

Mali’s style smoothly veers from rock to worship proclamations and back through intriguing blends of hip-hop, reggae, pop and more as he sings—and sometimes raps—about life … which for him will always include God.

“I listen to all types of music. My work embodies what I call lifestyle music,” states the 23 year-old. “So when you listen, you can expect an experience with someone who loves God and loves life. It’s inspirational and nurturing to who you are and what you do in life. You will find yourself in this ministry.”

As have more than 1.6 million combined YouTube viewers of three popular Mail Music performances: “Yahweh,” the acoustic “Avaylable,” “Glory to the Lamb—Unplugged” and his 2011 BET Awards performance. Those three tracks appear on Mali Music’s first two independent releases— 2008’s The Coming and 2009’s The 2econd Coming. The newcomer is also featured prominently on another SoundWalk Music Group release, 2010’s The Come Up.

His growing popularity on the internet caused requests for him to perform to begin to pour in. Those mounting requests led his mother, Kim Walker, to quit her job and become his booking agent/manager. From there the family-launched SoundWalk Music Group was born. At that point, Holly Carter, Releve Entertainment, was brought in to help take Mali’s career to the next level. It was Holly’s introduction of Mali’s music to Akon that added him as a collaborator on the managerial front.

A native of Savannah, Georgia, Kortney Jamaal “Mali” Pollard hails from a musical family. He began playing a keyboard his father bought him at age seven and wrote his first song soon thereafter for a church anniversary celebration. Growing up, he discovered his love of soul, show standards and other music through exposure to musicals (“The Wizard of Oz,” “The Wiz”), James
Brown and later D’Angelo and Bilal. In middle school, a chorus teacher opened the door to music theory, harmony and additional creative elements.

Then life took a full left turn when Mali opted out of Savannah Arts Academy to attend neighboring Benedictine High School on a full scholarship after finding a talent and passion for football. But while there, music still shadowed him through Catholic masses at the private school (“Me and my black church-influenced self was singing ‘Ave Maria,’” he recalls) as well as battle of the bands competitions—three of which the keyboardist/guitarist/drummer won.

When it came time to consider college, however, music ultimately towered over football. “The coach was jacking me up, saying, ‘You’re going to waste this God-given talent to do rap beats?,’” says Mali. “But I’d heard a voice and songs like ‘Yahweh’ were coming. I was posting music on MySpace; more and more people were sharing comments. In deciding not to attend college, there were a lot of times when it was only I who believed. My parents were supportive, but it wasn’t easy.”

While working for Savannah’s water department, Mali eventually made true believers of his parents when they saw close to 15,000 postings from fans anticipating more new music as a result of Mali’s regular “New Music Thursdays.”

In additio