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Mykki Blanco recruits Michael Stipe for “Family Ties”

The song arrives today via Transgressive Records, along with a video directed by Kit Monteith.

March 22, 2022
Mykki Blanco recruits Michael Stipe for “Family Ties” Photos by Will Cresnick and Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images.  

It's been over a decade since Mykki Blanco first entered the ether as an online persona. In the ensuing years, they've become a juggernaut in boundary-busting music and fashion. Today, they've shared "Family Ties," their first new song since the June 2021 release of their second studio album, Broken Hearts and Beauty Sleep, with help from Michael Stipe.

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The track puts Blanco and Stipe over a subtly upbeat, driving instrumental that would sound at home in a quiet section of an R.E.M. album. Both vocalists sounds significantly more reserved than they did in their early days, the wisdom of added time softening their sonic excesses.

"'Family Ties' is the first song where I sonically found my voice and I mean that in a very literal way," Blanco writes. "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."

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Watch Kit Monteith's tasteful, black-and-white "Family Ties" visual treatment below.

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Mykki Blanco recruits Michael Stipe for “Family Ties”