The light pitter-patter of a hi-hat waxes and wanes, complemented by Solange’s ethereal vocals. Dressed in black and cloaked by the darkness of early morning, dozens of dancers surround Solange and Dallas City Hall, alternating between rigid marches and freestyle dancing. As the short film for “Things I Imagined / Down with the Clique” reaches its subtle, serene climax, you see her. Grooving in the center of the City Hall dancers, Mecca Tauheedah wears black shoes, black pants, a black top, a black jacket and glittery eye shadow.
“She put that on me,” says Tauheedah, who goes by M3CCA, of Solange. “That’s one of the things that sticks out in my memory. The whole set had this open vibe. Everyone was there to represent black excellence, and in the middle of it all, Solange was going around to dancers and putting their makeup on herself.”
If you get her talking about it, M3CCA will tell you all about the magic of that midnight video shoot. When she does, the 25-year-old singer-songwriter talks about it with her distinct brand of calm. M3CCA is preternaturally chill, speaking in clipped sentences with a voice you sometimes have to strain to hear. Appearing in a Solange video is not the kind of thing she yells from the rooftops — at least not for more than a week or two. She was not enticed by Solange the celebrity; she was drawn to Solange the creator.
“I’m over the idea of ‘making it,’” she says. “I just want to create, and what happens, happens.”
Since she started performing in 2013, M3CCA has established herself as one of Deep Ellum’s most admired performers. Singer Alex Blair calls her “amazing.” Rapper Raves raves that she is a “freakin’ goddess.” M3CCA deflects this praise.
“Man, I’m just vibin’,'' she says, with unbridled sincerity.
She calls her sound “galactic hip-hop soul,” yet the mere idea of genre-fication terrifies M3CCA. Fruittape, the debut EP she released in 2017, traversed hip-hop, jazz, soul and blues: “a musical buffet,” in her words. Onstage, her approach can be just as varied.
Fellow Deep Ellum regular Hailey Good remembers one time M3CCA performed her song “God’s Incense” amidst clouds of incense that filled the venue to the brim with smoke. At that same performance, M3CCA pulled all of her friends onstage with her for an impromptu group harmony. M3CCA was enraptured by the joy of the moment: eyes closing, swaying back and forth, and belting top-of-her-lungs lyrics.
“Her music is like a dream,” Good says of M3CCA. “Her performances are heartfelt, and her bands are always amazing.”
M3CCA has been a part of a wide variety of groups during her time in Dallas. She was a member of the all-female music collective Zource and the seven-person band Pocket Book. More recently, she has been jamming with fellow Pocket Book member Jemarcus Bridges in a stripped-down set that began out of necessity.
“We had a gig, but there wasn’t enough capital to compensate a whole band,” Bridges says. “So we went with me on a couple keyboards and a laptop, my friend Troy on drums and M3CCA with her vocal processor.”
The minimalist setup was freeing.
“Pocket Book is a very large apparatus, so things have to be well-orchestrated,” Bridges says. “But when you only have three people onstage, you’re vibing off each other. You still have a set list, but however the music comes to you today, that’s how you should play it.”
“Vibing” is important to M3CCA. Early in her career, she admits to being focused on attaining popularity through virality.
“This whole culture is about going viral and getting a hundred thousand views, and that means you made it,” she says. “If I’m trying to create how you’re trying to create, or trying to get on the same way you’re trying to get put on, I’m not going to be happy. I realized I gotta let go and hope everything falls into place.”
So after Fruittape, M3CCA took a step back to recalibrate her creativity. She performed at her typical venues, collaborated with friends and artists in Dallas and Houston, and appeared alongside Jamila Woods at a show in Deep Ellum. But her approach was less forced. Instead of a focus on views or clicks, she prioritized vibes and energy.
Engineer Dino Noir noticed this shift.
“No one forces anything when we’re together,” he says. “We work as long as we want to work. Sometimes we’ll sit at my place and just chill, talk, sing a bit and see what comes to us.”
During one session, a few of M3CCA’s friends — fellow singers, a producer and a poet — gathered at Noir’s house to record.
“M3CCA starts freestyle singing, then people start jumping in and freestyling. It was just pure.”
M3CCA’s hands-off, whatever-may-come approach to her career has already paid dividends. She did not reach out to Solange; a friend of a friend heard she could dance and perform, so one day M3CCA received an email asking her if she was available for a video shoot.
“The best part of the whole process was seeing black people part of this big production,” she says. “Solange creates music that shouts out the black experience, so they wanted us to be in our everyday normal blackness, to just be ourselves.”
The shoot motivated M3CCA to delve further into her own experience, yet she refuses to force ideas.
“There are different subject matters I want to speak about. Blackness is one of those, but it’s just one. Sometimes you’re compelled to create whole projects about something, other times you may just spend a day or two on it.”
Her current project is an EP about water. Working with Noir, M3CCA has crafted songs designed to sound like they were recorded on a stage, or in an apartment jam session.
“It’s all ambient,” Noir says. “On some songs, you can hear her jewelry jangle as she sings. We wanted that. We wanted it to be raw.”
M3CCA is tight-lipped about this project and the various others she says she has in the works, but she was flattered Noir approached her for a water-themed record.
“He gave me some beats and said, ‘Hey, let’s do something.’ From there, we just gave each other the leeway to create.”
In other words, they were vibing.
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