When you’ve worked with all the greats in the music industry, you probably know a thing or two on how to make great music.

Insert Grammy-nominated producer and industry executive Mali Wilson, who’s worked with icons such as Whitney Houston, Chris Brown, Drake, Lenny Kravitz, Usher, Carly Simon, and Missy Elliott. Now, Wilson is stepping into the limelight as her own recording artist, debuting her first single titled  “No Place Like Home.”

As a contemporary blues singer, Wilson blends soulful verses with powerful choruses, all while showcasing her vocal talents. This song is a journey of rediscovery for both Wilson and listeners alike, celebrating the beauty and positive impact that music has on the world. “No Place Like Home” also pays homage to the blues legends and rich musical heritage that has immensely influenced Wilson’s own professional career.

Sheen Magazine spoke with Wilson about her background, transitioning into the front of the mic, the new single, and more!


For those who are not familiar, talk about going from Grammy-nominated producer and industry executive to blues singer. What inspired this transition?

It’s funny, I first transitioned from starving artist to the business side as I saw too many creatives being taken advantage of. Frankly speaking, after seeing the exploitation and the stress that came from fame, it made me not want to sing as much or be out front. 

Aside from my family and the folks back home, most didn’t know that it was actually my voice that took me all over the world, meeting people that would later in life help me succeed. 

I attribute a lot of my success to my mentor, the late great award-winning producer, Alan Moore. He opened doors for me,  put me in writing sessions and allowed me to learn from his experience.  With his help I was able to cut my teeth in Chicago, Nashville, and LA sessions in my early twenties.  Then there were record deal offers that came after performing to sold out shows in NYC in the early 2000’s. 


What inspired the transition back into singing?

At my lowest point during Covid I fell in love with Eric Wilson aka @TheBlackBanker,
my writing partner and now husband. This man was like me, a community leader, and a legacy builder, but on the banking and business side.

Eric and I did business for years without knowing anything personal about one another. I had butterflies for the first time in my life, it was like something out of a fairytale. His love and kindness had me singing all over the house, and now I’m in Paris and all over the world. It’s such a beautiful blessing and a true gift from God that I did not see coming and I wasn’t looking for.

What was the creative process behind debut single “No Place Like Home”? 

Because I hadn’t focused on my art in so long it was a major process!!! It did not happen overnight lol. When I started on this journey back to sharing my voice about 3 years ago, I had imposter syndrome. My focus was helping others create, not creating my own music.

My husband said, “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket” and then he set up my first creative session with famed jazz producer and musician Kim Waters. I was so happy and relieved the songs were amazing. It was like riding a bike so natural and I just thought thank goodness it’s all coming back.

I then reconnected with my award-winning creative partner Craig Snider in Chicago tapping back into where it all started. We wrote over 50 songs in a year, and it was then I knew something special was happening. 

A pivotal point in getting here was spending the last year working in LA with multiple Grammy-award winning producers and dear friend, Mark Batson. He’s known for his work with Alicia Keys, Dave Mathews, India Arie, Anthony Hamilton, Leanne Rhymes, and Beyonce. Mark said, “Your voice is Jazzy like the old-time singers, but your soul is the Blues, and the genre needs you!” Mark also said, “You and Eric are like Ashford and Simpson and the records we are creating together will inspire the world.”

The last part of the process was when I intentionally decided to call my creative partner Ashilee Ashilee to our StoneWood studios in Atlanta where she produced this track. I sent her a blues tune by Little Walter as I knew that old soul feeling was what I needed. She got the assignment and sent me the track which became my first single “No Place Like Home.” Eric and I wrote the song together and it was mixed and mastered by my longtime friend and business associate, Grammy-winning producer and mixer Miguel “Maguever” Scott. 


Why is this record significant in your musical career?

I wanted my first record to mean more than just a song, it’s about remembering your roots, paying homage to those who have helped and come before you, giving back, and woman empowerment!

“NO PLACE LIKE HOME” is not about a place or city. It’s about the people and places that made you and that gives you that homey feel. For me, that place is all the cities and folks that helped to groom Mali Wilson. We also released the song during National Women’s Month giving Ashilee Ashilee her flowers and some shine for the dope track she created!! The proceeds were donated to our EarthAngel nonprofit to help creative women in need and elderly musicians in the blues. While working on these records almost every chance I get to visit, play with, and pay homage to the rich blues heritage and musicians that influence me I take. 


What’s your connection to the blues? 

My grandmother Beatrice is one of my greatest influences and is my spiritual advisor. She’s 94 with her guitar in hand, playing blues chords, and singing gospel songs to the Lord. She has been praying for years that I sing again but I’m like a bird I can only sing when the sun is shining. That’s why I call what I do the sunshine blues which was birthed from my healed heart! Also, Chicago is known for the blues and so it’s in me growing up there with all that rich blues history. Back home in North Chicago/Waukegan is where it all started, as a child watching and singing along with my family. At the backyard juke joints with my grandpa at my uncle Brutts house where my dad, aunts, and uncles played blues and soul music.  My whole family sang, played instruments, and made music. I believe the blues is the most looked past and left behind genre and so that’s why I am choosing to shine my light — as to not forget the left behinds. 

Will there be a video for “No Place Like Home? 

There will be a video. I’ve been really enjoying playing out live, but am super excited about creating some visuals to connect with my listeners. 


3 things you need in the studio when you’re creating your music? 

Candles or chill lighting creates a peaceful atmosphere, a great microphone and fun upscale libations. 


You’ve worked with everyone: Whitney Houston, Chris Brown, Drake, Lenny Kravitz, Usher, Carly Simon, and Missy Elliot.  Who’s your favorite and why?

It’s interesting when you say “worked with so many,” it makes me really grateful and happy to look back on my last chapter. My gift of getting in where I fit in and only working with artists that I respect and love is the key. I believe my most important role outside of producer, A&R, marketing agency, and manager, was creating safe and peaceful recording spaces for others.

There are way too many to call any one of them my favorite, but I will say the one-on-one talks in my office with (Nippy) Whitney Houston were life changing. Also being able to manage Carly Simon with our incredible team helping her finish her memoir and getting a New York Times best-seller have to be on the top of my list. 


How do you integrate your values of sustainability into your music and overall creative process, showcasing the intersection of music, activism and social responsibility?

Honestly, everything I do is to bring awareness and to give through our EarthAngel nonprofit. My dreams are to use the platform of the music and be like Jane Goodall and Jane Fonda in my golden years. I want to dedicate my life to making a difference for the planet. So daily, I try to always reduce my carbon footprint whether in studio or out on the road. StoneWood Ranch, my new creative space is on the road to being fully sustainable. We’re partnering with major Fortune 500 companies and our team to keep the Ecco creative camps going along with the greening of our studio. From our bees making organic honey to clean eating/cooking during sessions, with herbs, fruit, and vegetation, picked from our grounds, it’s all about giving back. We are also creating songs with nature and humanity at the core from inception. 


Goals as an artist at this point of your career? Any future live performances?

My goals are to continue creating and to hone my skills even more as I want to be the best version of Mali that I can be. My true desire is to leave a legacy of love, peace, and hope, and to inspire and show people that it’s never too late. I often say fine wine takes time and anything great must marinate. I will continue doing shows overseas and share my gift of song with organizations that are aligned with my values. I just headlined my first show in NYC for this project and it was so dreamy that I’m considering a monthly residency for the fall. I will also be doing shows with my peers on the lawn and in the lodge at our StoneWood Ranch. Stay tuned so many are asking for me to bring my dinner and a show gatherings back like I did at the old studio. 

Honestly, I don’t have any expectations, but I do have very high hopes. God has blessed my path of helping others and now I just want to bring hope and  in a bigger way. I’m excited to see him move even more mountains out of my way! 

Photo Credit: Briana Crudup