“The process was very natural,” South London’s Greentea Peng says of the development of her album MAN MADE. “I didn’t want it to fit in and sound like anything that’s out right now. So I quite like the idea of it being out of tune with everything else.” The project was recorded in 432 Hz frequency, which isn’t in sync with the music industry’s auditory expectations, but is thought to promote healing energy.
Her 18-track debut follows her down a winding psychedelic journey of self. Mixed by Commissioner Gordon, the engineer also responsible for the mixing of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the album teaches valuable lessons on self-belief blended with socially conscious and spiritual messaging.
One of the album’s most recent singles, “Free My People,” talks about all those incarcerated for marijuana, addressing how society punishes Black people who use or distribute it. “We don’t want to chat until our people free/Release all of my brothers on a weed charge,” calling attention to her ideas regarding political oppression.
She’s a critical thinker, mulling over the world around her and asking questions as she goes. Her music videos bear the hashtag, “#FactCheckTheFactCheckers.” “I was encouraged to question everything,” Greentea says. “That’s how I was brought up, to question everything, not to just be spoon-fed narratives or information and just take it for gospel.” She gets the influences of the psyche and language, particularly how the latter can affect people’s lives.
On “Be Careful,” she warns and informs of the magic our words possess. She speaks with guided intention, singing, “I gotta be careful with my words now/They’re very powerful I found out/It’s not a joke ting what you say loud/And now my s–t/It’s gotta be profound.” Talk of manifestation, intangible qualities over materials and a Greater Good is not as sparse as it once was in popular culture, and Greentea is a leader in making that so.
She says half of the album came to her in the moments she was creating it, giving it a partial stream of consciousness feel. “I’ve never created like that before,” Greentea revealed. “I’ve always been quite rigid in my creativity just because I’m highly judgmental of myself and self-critical.” Through this new style, she sought to “[shed] some of that” and not take things so seriously.
Naturally, I’m begging to know her favorite type of tea.
“You know what, I f——g tea love so much,” she says. “I just went and bought a mad tea in Soho…I’m always going tea shopping. I really like hibiscus flowers. Obviously I really like green tea. And camomile. I tend to make my own ginger and turmeric, big box of tea, but just stew the stones, the beans. Really strong and spicy.”
Maybe she’s an echo of her preference.
Listen to Greentea Peng’s MAN MADE below.
Brooklyn White www.essence.com
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