5th December 2022
Interview: Amy Bell
Breaking through as the voice behind some of the most notable tracks of the past ten years, including ‘Falling’ with Snakehips, and platinum selling 'Flowers’ with Nathan Dawe & Jaykae, MALIKA has since pivoted into building her own solo career, redefining herself as the new voice of UK Soul.
We chat to MALIKA about her latest acoustic single, 'Bless Her Soul'.
Hi MALIKA, thank you for speaking to us, how did you get into music and why is it such a big passion for you?
I grew up in a musical family, sort of, my dad owned one of the first pirate radio stations ‘Time radio’ and he also was a manager and producer in the 80’s & early 90’s. So I grew up in the studio, won my first talent contest aged 5 singing ‘Weak’ by SWV and I guess the rest is history. Music is something I’ve always done.
When you first started creating music, straight away, did you know this was something you wanted to do professionally?
My dad really nurtured my songwriting, and singing, and provided a space for me to be able
to create, It helped that I actually could sing lol, but just as far back as I can remember I’ve always wanted to sing.
You have a new single, ‘Bless Her Soul’ plus an acoustic version, what made you create this song?
This song was pieced together bit by bit, I initially started working on it with Piers from Rudimental, and we were struggling to arrange a time to finish it, so I got together with a couple of friends Ian Henry, Shaun ‘hypertone’ Barrett and Zeus Charalambous, who I’d worked quite a lot with during my career and we finished the song,
What made you want to release an acoustic version?
Ironically, a friend of mine, heard the preview snippet on instagram, before the song main version came out. Then when it did he messaged me and said he thought the main version was going to be more stripped back. That got me thinking, so I sent a rough vocal the my musician Morgan Alexander Green, he laid down the piano and then I called Hypertone and we got in the studio and we recorded the main vocal, and honestly, I love it. So did my friend, thankfully hahahaha
What was the recording/writing process like?
It was really hard to get this one finished, the acoustic was pretty simple. The main version was tougher, just getting everyone together. I think the hardest part was finding the chorus, the verses were so detailed, we wanted to find a way to open the story up to the listener, which I think we definitely managed to do. Recording was good, exciting, my favorite part was creating the choir, everyone always comments on how great the choir sounds, and that was myself, Hyoertine and Zues singing together in the booth over and over again to create what became the choir. That was my first time doing that and it was so aective.
What is the background of this song, and did you already have a vision for this single? This is a hopeful song. It tells a story of someone who is struggling and needs encouragement, which I think we all can relate to. So even though the song is called ‘Bless Her Soul’ it's not just a song for women. But there wasn't really a plan for the song other than I knew I wanted it to be a single, I thought the message of the song was too empowering not to find a way to get it out there in the world.
What is next for you?
Well the video for both the original and the acoustic versions of ‘Bless Her Soul’ are out now, and I am so proud of both, I had the idea to get a group of women, dierent ages and heritage and put them in the video together. I asked family and friends to be in the video, but it was less about showing my people, and more about having women who were a representation of the how multi cultural we are as a world. I also wanted, when the viewer watches the video, I was hoping they saw their mother, grandmother, sister, friend, themselves you know and having dierent types of women allowed us to really tell that story.
The acoustic video started o by me just documenting the day while we shot the original video, and I ended up with so much great footage I decided to use it as the video for the acoustic version of ‘Bless her Soul’ and i just feel like the response to both videos has been amazing and so touching, very proud of both songs.