Speaking to LA-based musician Malia on growing her
sound with The Internet and continuing to create in spite of doubt.
Introduce yourself and your sound
My name is Malia, I’m a singer, songwriter and guitarist originally from the suburbs of WA, currently living in Los Angeles. My sound is influenced by R&B, blues and jazz, Classic Soul records and basically anything with pretty guitar chords.
What/who was the biggest influence in your current sound?
I don’t have a specific or direct main influence, my inspirations come from many places in all facets of my life. My early singing days Winehouse , and my early guitar playing I leaned towards some of the more RnB guitar cuts from Justin Bieber , and I was constantly learning my favourite songs to cover on guitar from Jhene Aiko , NSYNC , Jason Mraz etc.were influenced by Lauryn Hill , Mariah and Amy Carey
Describe the growth between your first EP to ‘Late Bloomer’?
My first EP was recorded at Chateau Marie Studios in LA, courtesy of Syd and Matt and the rest of The Internet . They were a big part of my transition from IG 15 second cover videos (which I still love doing from time to time) and wrapping my brain around my own original compositions.
A lot of the 'MALIA' debut EP songs are just my voice and my acoustic guitar. It’s definitely honest and open and personal, but at the same time, I like to think it’s personable in that anyone who listens can feel like they were in there with me listening as I tracked it.
My second EP, ‘Letting Go’ was created at my job at the time, moving back to WA to be closer to my mom, which was & still is really important to me. But the project was created after-hours in an office space with just a laptop, computer and mic. I didn’t have a proper recording space or even a space with a door to close, it was all very raw and I did what I could with the resources I had. In a sense, it was a continuation of the feel of the debut, but mainly this really was just me learning how to engineer and produce the sounds that I hear. In a lot of ways, it is a continuation of the debut, so you can definitely feel the bedroom vibe that fashioned it.
Fast forward 'Late Bloomer', I worked with a producer, Nick Green and songwriter Rose Tan, towho I had previously worked with, and we were all creating together, mostly out of a proper studio and it was more of a collective effort. Basically, I had many more resources, financial help, and I wasn’t working a job anymore. I had booked a one-way ticket to LA to create the project. There were a lot more hands involved with bringing that project to life and you can hear the growth from just me and my acoustic guitar.
What message/feeling are you hoping to portray in your music?
It’s never too late to start doing what you’re here on Earth to do. It’s never too late to do what you’re passionate about, and you should never allow fear to hold you back from your dreams. I want to make music to help people feel good and or help them find themselves or passion etc.
What’s your favourite lyric you’ve written so far?
I like the hook I wrote to my song called Dull Aches. It’s about learning life lessons:
“These dull aches turn to throbbin’ pains, what more from this lesson am I to gain? See the repetition in my history, is it cause for concern? What is it I’m here for? Must be somethin’ that I’ve got to learn.”
What’s the last album you listened to?
Do you stick with one genre or listen to multiple?
I don’t listen to a lot of music these days, but I mostly listen to R&B with sprinkles of other stuff including pop and jazz and reggaeton.
Do you think your city/culture in LA has influenced what you listen to?
Yes, it’s also influenced my music career because I’ve made friends with LA-natives who have helped me create and build what I have today.
Shout out five artists you highly recommend?
Do you feel like a lot of new music is blurring the lines of genres?
Sure, I think it’s tough to always have a label for art that’s created. And I think it’s cool for artists to go beyond their ‘expected genre’ and branch out.
What do you think of the current ‘R&B’ scene?
I’m a big fan of older R&B but there are artists making R&B music I like right now like JSMN, Mac Ayres, and Sinead Harnett.
Finally, what’s coming up for you this year?
Playing my first festival, releasing new music, and just continuing to do what I’m here to do regardless of fear or doubt .