MALYNDA HALE IN LOOT & RIOT MAGAZINE
Ink Tone Swep
Images JMV Ent
“The One” drops soon. Let’s talk about it. How does this EP sound and feel, how does it look and emote? And most importantly what does it mean? I couldn’t be more proud of this EP. The sound is organic and authentic — very pop/soul singer-songwriter. It has a feeling of comfort and warmth with a lot of vulnerability and honesty. I think the vibe of this EP really shows how much I’ve grown as an artist.
How does your latest project differ from your recent work, songs like “Stand”, “We Run”, and your album ”Pieces of Me”? In what ways is “The One” symbolic of your growth as both an artist and individual? It’s taken me years to figure out who I am as an artist. There’s always a struggle of trying to do what is widely popular and what is authentic to who you are as an artist, and I’ve always had an issue with the mentality that those are mutually exclusive. For this EP I wanted to do my best to show that both are possible. I really wanted to create feel good music with a message. The EP is just very much the adult, grown woman, self-accepted version of myself. It’s all the best parts of me wrapped up in song.
You have quite a tour planned. Talk a bit about what you have in store for your live shows, fan engagements, and companion parties. I’m so excited to tour! Part of my shows will be with my full band and then a lot of them will just be me on a piano. I have a huge fear of accompanying myself while singing so I wanted a personal challenge, to grow by forcing myself to do it. I started performance dates a month ago just to get my feet wet, and now I’m ready to hit the road. What I love about doing solo shows is the opportunity to really go deep with the audience and focus on my performance and storytelling onstage. I only have myself to lean on and that’s pretty cool.
Two R&B artists I have worked with come to mind: Jazmine Sullivan and Elle Varner. Neither seems to receive the label push or proper promotion. Without having to speak directly to their specific situations, I have to ask you – have America’s music execs forgotten how to market R&B music? Or have American listeners moved on from the genre in large part? What a great question. I’m going to get real honest. Some people may not like my answer but it’s truly how I feel. I don’t think R&B has died, I think R&B created by black people is not something that American music executives feel is worth putting money into. Why? I have no idea. But for some reason it’s become more marketable if you are white and can sing R&B. It’s more of a ‘treasure’, so to speak, and I think it’s unfortunate. It honestly makes me think of the days of Sun Records and the capitalization of black music that was created by other races. I think Americans will always love music that is created by black people, like R&B, but they will prefer it when it’s mass produced by someone else.
As an activist who has worked hard to further the Black Lives Matter movement along with other initiatives, have you witnessed significant growth and advancements toward change? And if so, in what ways? I think we are getting closer to having real change because people are more aware. I think it’s an incredibly slow-moving process but I’d be lying if I were to say that we haven’t come a long way. Of course we have. The thing that always seems to shock me is that people are still surprised that injustices still happen. We can never fully make progress and change if we aren’t willing to admit there’s a problem in the first place.
Santa Barbara raised the girl, but what made the girl the woman she is today? Having lived in three big cities throughout my adult life has really shaped who I am. Having to start over in new cities where I didn’t know anyone or have anything really tested my strength and my belief in myself. I also think the company I keep has helped shape me into the person I am. I have a truly great support system.
Music is as important to world culture as food and water, truly instrumental to a healthy life. As a giver and creator, how does doing what you love for a living feed your spirit while nourishing the souls of your listeners? It’s what I was put on this earth to do. All I’ve ever wanted to do was reach people with my voice and my music. I feel like music is the medium that chose me to make a difference, not the other way around. It’s a blessing that this is my reality. I get to make music, meet people and touch the lives of others through song. There is truly nothing better.