Malika‘s music is, without doubt, exquisite. Her talent for R&B and soul is easy to admire, given her grasp of it seems so effortless and organic. For that reason she’s standing head and shoulders above a lot of her contemporaries at such a young stage in her career; now with her new Songs About C EP (streamable below) she justifies all the hype. We caught up with her over email to find out more…
Hello Malika. How are you, and where are you at the moment?
I’m very well, I’m currently en route to the studio, which I’m really excited about!
We’ve been fans of yours since day one and are massively enjoying Songs About C. Firstly.. who is C?
Thank you, glad you’re enjoying the music, I’m so happy to be able to finally share it with everyone. I can’t believe it’s finally being released. C is someone who I was with, but things didn’t quite work out.
Is the Alicia Keys / Songs In A Minor reference intentional?
No, but I am definitely flattered by the association. To be honest the songs were written over a period of time. As I mentioned before the relationship didn’t work out but I was fortunate at the end of it to have subconsciously put together a body of work that somehow takes you through the ups, downs and breakups in a relationship.
Let’s rewind a bit. How did Put It On Me come about, and what did you make of the response?
Snakehips’ manager reached out to mine about getting us to work together, we pulled in a couple of other writers and it just clicked. I was surprised by the response, in a good way. The song sort of took on a life of its own. I had waited so long for the song to come out so that was a massive compliment, and it still is.
Did the Falling come before then or after? Did it change things for you even more?
We worked on a few bits, and have continued to which is nice. We did both ‘Put It On Me’ and ‘Falling’ around the same sort of time. Working with the boys definitely helped as they have such a huge fan base. At the same time, people were just finding it themselves, liking it and reaching out about it which was amazing.
The EP sees you working with different producers rather than just one. What was your thought behind that?
There was no real plan; my manager and I had a sort of hit list of writers/producers we wanted to work with at the time and we were lucky enough to hear back from most of them. So when it came to picking the songs that were going to make the final EP it was pretty tough, but I believe we got the best people for the project. But that’s the great thing about music, you can plan and put strategies in place, but probably 8 times out of 10 the best things happen by accident.
We’re so in love with Don’t Give Up On Me and Should I. How did those songs come about?
‘Don’t Give Up On Me’ is a weird one – it was a time where I wasn’t feeling the best about myself. I felt like I was under achieving and I wrote it for ‘C’ as if to say, “look I know I’m underachieving, I know I need to be better, and I’m committed to doing that, just don’t give up on me”. ‘Should I’ was just a vibe. I went in with the producer and he played the beat and these words started falling out, which made sense to the story.
What are you hoping people take away from the EP?
That sometimes relationships don’t work out, sometimes they do, sometimes we think we’ve found someone who makes our lives make sense and then suddenly things change and you have to adjust. But ultimately you will be OK. I hope in the songs people can hear the real emotional rollercoaster I was on. Towards the end of writing this EP I was really lost, and that’s how ‘Run’ came about, but looking back I can honestly say, as hard as it was, I’ve grown as a person and I’ll always be grateful to ‘C’ for loving me and breaking my heart.
What sort of things are you listening to at the moment?
I’m listening to quite a bit you know, Loving Jessie Ware’s new tracks, a couple of the hip hop guys. Also Chip, Wretch, Kano and also a tonne of classic 90’s R&B – Brandy, Donnell Jones, SWV etc.
Finally, the question we ask everyone: what’s your favourite Beyonce song?
Ah, hardest question ever – the pressure! OK I’m going to go old school with ‘Me, Myself and I’.