INTERVIEW: Mali-Koa – An Authentic, Vulnerable, & Insightful Musician

INTERVIEW: Mali-Koa – An Authentic, Vulnerable, & Insightful Musician

Mali-Koa. That’s the name of one of the most artistic musicians we know. She’s always got amazing visuals and puts so much authenticity in her writing. Not all artists do that. Yet Mali-Koa does it with her own style, but that’s just one thing we love about her.

She’s got an album on the way, and she just dropped her brand new song ‘Revolution.’ With so many exciting things we want to know more about, whether it’s ‘Me Before You’ or how she got the ideas for the music videos, we got the chance to ask her a few questions!

You’re super consistent with giving fans singles and visuals, even though much of the industry has been on a pause. Can you give us a hint for an album date or even title?

I can tell you that it’s going to be out November! So grateful that we’ve managed to keep things going through such challenging circumstances. I am really grateful for that. I’ll have to keep the rest under wraps for now, but it’s not far off, so all will be revealed soon!

‘Me Before You’ was filmed backwards, which we can’t imagine was an easy task. What was one of the most challenging parts or scenes of this video to not only direct but also act out?

Learning to sing a song back to front has to be up there in terms of difficulty; I had to isolate the vocals and sing the shapes and sounds backwards which sounded sort of C-list Euro vision entry. The timeline of the video was also backwards: the song starts at V1 with the end of the day/dusk. So filming each section backwards according to that took a lot of brain power.

The visuals are definitely unique and fit the song perfectly! How did you land on this idea to film backwards?

My manager and I had spoken about a backwards visual for a while, but it hadn’t worked out for other songs. We were brainstorming ideas, and I had something else in mind, which ended up leading us organically to the reverse idea. It finally made perfect sense with the sentiment of the song!

You have updated your quarantine playlist (which we love because it gives a little look into your life). How important would you say the fan to artist connection is in this digital age, and how do you strive to keep that fan connection as you grow as an artist? Is there anything about the digital space you wish you could change or any new challenges you’ve faced navigating it? What would you say has been your best online moment?

The digital space can be difficult to navigate; it can be easy to let the balance spill over into real life, especially mental health. It’s so important to keep it healthy and focused on the things you stand for and care about. My best online moments come in the form of conversation, having a space to talk and learn more about the world we live in.

You’ve mentioned before that after you’ve written a song and then listened back, the lyrics can already have a different meaning. What does ‘Me Before You’ mean to you right now in this moment?

‘Me Before You’ right now is about unlearning beliefs when it comes to being in relationships, finding a balance and being able to better prepare yourself to love someone else by loving yourself and being true to you. It’s all about lessons in retrospect!

Do you think this quarantine has given you a chance to look deeper inside and make songs even more personal and true to you?

Definitely! I’ve had the opportunity to listen to them first thing in the morning, and then again just before I sleep; I’ve played them on piano and guitar, they’ve really kept me company this pandemic. It’s nice to see a few different sentiments finally coming together to create this body of work, which tells a story of hope and love and lost love – all the good/bad stuff.

If you could pick one single that’s already been released from your upcoming album to represent you as an artist, which would you pick, and why?

Dancer’ really drew a line for me, I really wanted to start this year’s roll out with that song– the whole idea of moving into things that aren’t straight forward or easy. I feel like that song will always have a place in my heart.

You once said that the music industry is a marathon. Is there ever a finish line? How do you feel about it?

You start to realise, as any big dreamer does, that the goalposts are only ever continually moving. The industry is a marathon – I stand by that. I don’t think there’s ever really an end in sight when you’re always changing or growing or being ambitious – but so important to keep celebrating the small victories along the way or you’ll miss things along the way.

You dropped music at 22 to try other things… What made you come back to it? Any sign that spoke to you?

I met someone who said to me, “I think that this is something that might be for you (songwriting and being an artist),” that really made a massive difference to me. A few kind words and encouragement can go a really long way.

‘Me Before You’ is one of those songs that relate to almost everyone– A sense of going back to one’s essence. How do you go through that actual process? Is there something that helps you to go back to your most stripped version of yourself?

It’s almost always uncomfortable in my experience, peeling the layers back and getting to know yourself– the good and bad. In saying that, long-term, it’s very rewarding to have a deeper knowledge and connection to your most authentic self. I try to surround myself with good people who know me well, meditate and keep me grounded when possible.

Being authentic is one of the topics you touch on. Do you think there’s a way to achieve authenticity? Any advice on that?

My search for authenticity comes from a place of learning and growth. I think by challenging yourself, you’re open to putting your hands up as not always being right or sure. That keeps you grounded and helps to develop a deeper sense of self-knowing, I believe.

Wow. Hearing more about the details of it all makes us love it even more. She’s always sure to bring her best to what she does, and we’re amazed to get a deeper insight as to how it all happens.

If you’ve read this far, then you need to see this, too! This is literally the definition of a “but wait, there’s more” moment. Mali-Koa has a special event ready for us: a virtual show! Happening today (September 18), at 8 PM BST, 3 PM EST, and Noon PST. Check it out, and maybe we’ll see you there for the first time she performs her brand new song!

Speaking of her new song, ‘Revolution’ dropped today! With its beautiful lyricism and Mali’s deliciously exquisite vocals, this song has an uplifting chorus that is set to become an anthem within her fandom, for sure. We can’t wait to hear it performed live!

As you can see, being a Mali-Koa stan is exciting. And with her giving us so much content and good music– it’s easy to see that we stan a queen.

Did Mali-Koa answer anything you wanted to know more about? Do you love her new song ‘Revolution?’ How excited are you for her album to be out in November? Let us know by commenting below or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP! You can also find us on Instagram and Facebook!

Want more Mali-Koa? We gotchu. We’ve also got a chance for you to win merch money, all at The Hive!


Featured image source: Courtesy of Lucid Group

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Brooke Gray

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