Steve Mekoudja

Steve Mekoudja travels the world with words, always creating new homes for them. He is an author, singer, composer and filmmaker. In 2018, he released his music and poetry album Rituals, on which he turned traditional notions of black masculinity on their head, accompanied by mbira and guitar sounds. In 2022, he followed up with Origins, which was accompanied by elaborate short films. Mekoudja continues to travel the world in search of an African identity that is all his own.

Steve Mekoudja will be playing at the DURCHLÜFTEN – 2024 festival for free on August 1.


1. Listening to music can influence your perception of the world

2. Whitney Houston’s “I will always love you” is actually a cover of a Dolly Parton song.

3. Even the world’s greatest singers have / need a vocal coach.

1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?

It’s hard to answer, because I think we’re inspired by a lot of things, and sometimes even unknowingly. But I think the thing that inspires me the most is relationships. Relationships between human beings, relationships with oneself.

2. How and when did you get into making music?

Music has always been a part of my life. I always sang at home as a child, I was in the church choir, but I never dreamed of becoming a singer. When I started reading my poems on stages in Berlin, I felt the need to accompany them musically. I finally tried it out on stage in 2016 and I loved it, the audience loved it. Since then, I’ve taken singing lessons and released two albums.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?

– Bend Skin by Andre-Marie Tala
– Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder
– Titati by Bako Dagnon
– Bane by Oliver N’Goma
– Lemonade by Beyonce

4. What do you associate with Berlin?


5. What’s your favourite place in your town?

I don’t have any favorite places, but I love visiting the “Flohmarkts” in summer.

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?

I’ll be a chef (I already am, by the way). Cooking is my other passion.

7. What was the last record/music you bought or listen?

amaXesha by Bongeziwe Mabandla

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Andre-Marie Tala or James Blake

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?

My performance at Deutsche Oper. It took us so long to write and rehearse with the musicians and dancers. We had a great time. A beautiful memory.

10. How important is technology to your creative process?

It’s impossible to do without technology these days. It all starts in my mind. As soon as the melody arrives, I record it on my phone (sometimes even at 3am). I have over 1,000 melody recordings in my phone. Later, in the studio, with all the necessary equipment and software. I think that technology is a great help in today’s creative world, but you have to be very careful with artificial intelligence, for example, in order to remain authentic.

11. Please tell us, what we can expect from your concert at the Humboldt Forum Durchlüften 2024?

Be ready to sing, dance, cry and be healed.