Mali Music (RCA Records)
Mali Music (RCA Records)

June is Black Music Month, and theGrio is highlighting some rising singers and songwriters that will be on everyone’s radar soon.

R&B music today follows the same ol’ formula. Throw in a catchy hook, sprinkle in overly-sexualized lyrics, sauté it all with some scandal from the artist and voila — you have a hit. 

Newcomer Mali Music wants to change that.

Born Kourtney Jamaal Pollard, Mali Music’s hit “Beautiful” made its way onto the American Idol stage back in March.

Mali tells theGrio.com that his gospel roots is one of the qualities that makes his music unique.

“My faith allows me to connect with my fans on a spiritual level,” Mali said. “It keeps my music honest in its early stages.”

The 26-year-old Savannah, Georgia, native has been making music since he was 16 years old. He was invited to the Idol stage personally by Jennifer Lopez.

“Beautiful” debuted at number two on iTunes among more established singers like John Legend and Trey Songz. Mali credits the success of the single to the fact that “it’s a relatable, feel-good record for the people.”

He said he remains inspired by consistently performing his music and watching the audience enjoy his work.

“To see the audience sing along is amazing,” he said. “If that doesn’t inspire you as an artist, I don’t know what will.”

The album Mali is… debuts on June 17, 2014, on iTunes.