Interview with Grammy Nominated Singer/Songwriter: Carolyn Malachi
1.What inspired your passion for music and who has been there supporting you from the beginning?
I come from a big, supportive family. Music became like my family when I went away to college. Between classes, club meetings, and basketball practices I wrote songs to keep my balance. The lyrics and notes became like relatives to me. Just like my family, music reassured me that it’s OK and absolutely necessary to be authentic – that my perspective and voice have value.
2. How do you feel about people downloading music rather then buying physical copies?
If every fan downloaded my music rather than buying physical CDs, I would save on manufacturing costs. I would also lose precious moments after gigs, getting to know fans while signing the CDs they purchase, hearing stories about the first time they heard one of my songs, etc. This kind of instant bonding goes a long way; it’s like imprinting, that genius thing birds do with their hatchlings. Google it. It’s fascinating. Imprinting.
3.How do you feel about the music industry today?
The internet continues to outsmart the industry. It creates Pop stars without warning. From where I sit, the music industry is the Wild Wild West. People seem to have a genuine interest in discovering artists overlooked by traditional media outlets, and they share the artists’ work fervently. This excites me as I am sort of a music industry novice and an independent artist at that. Music is fun again. I love the resurgence of the dance ethos.
4.Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I see myself as a household name – Coke, Streisand, Google, Malachi.
5. Do you think singer/songwriters are the best interpreters of their own work or do you believe some cover versions can be better than the original?
I anticipate that most artists cover songs because they appreciate the music. It holds some weight in their mind and heart. I sing covers often. This is a tradition strongly upheld in Jazz. I come from a Jazz background where playing covers is more about the reinterpretation of songs than their improvement. How can one improve “Misty” or “Lush Life”? What’s the value in that?
6.Who have you always dreamt of working with and why? How would you go about accomplishing this?
Barbra Streisand tops my list. She represents what I want for myself and for every person who listens to my music – self actualization. Sometimes, I imagine that she is in the audience watching me perform. Imagining that she’s there helps me step up my game by reminding me to listen, to direct myself, and to eliminate thoughts of boundaries. How do I go about working with her? Maybe I’ll bump into her at a Recording Academy function, politely thank her for her work, and if I have something of value to offer, I’ll bring it up. If that doesn’t work, I’ll write a letter to Oprah. She knows everyone.
7.As you are starting out your career in the music industry what steps do you plan on taking to reach your goal?
I keep my ears, mind, and heart open. That’s the first order of business. After that, collaborating with the right creative partners, aligning my music with organizations of scale that are dedicated to addressing the human condition, and delivering on a sustainable economic model will serve me well.
8.Have you found that as you are starting out your career in the music industry there are aspects that have taken you completely by surprise. If so, what are they?
I love the unexpected opportunities. Someone just thinks of me or something I’ve done, then they ask me to perform for them or join their cause. That’s a blessing. I often find that it means my music resonated with them and they want to replicate the experience for someone else.
9. What is the greatest thing about working in the music industry? And what would you change if you had the opportunity?
The music industry is fast-paced and always changing. It’s the ideal work environment for me. I often wish that I had more time for my family.
10.If you could have asked anyone for advice when you were starting out. Who would you have liked to ask? What would you have liked to ask? What would be your answer now?
Then, I would have loved to ask Bjork to introduce me to her stylist. Now, I want Michelle Obama to introduce me to her physical trainer. Have you seen her arms? A-MA-ZIN-G!
11.From your experience in the entertainment industry what advice could you offer people looking to get where you are today?
Know God. Some people say Creative Intelligence, Providence, etc. Whatever name you use for your higher power, know it and call on it often. It will direct your creative energy.
Carve your own path with your destination clearly in mind. Know your strengths. Travel with people who are smarter than you in your areas of greatest opportunity. Join forces with folks who will have your back. Know that where I am is just a point on my unique path. I am on my own journey to a different destination. Be confident in your unique path.
Explore your varied interests. If you go are intrigued by the lights at a concert, find the light technician and ask them a couple questions. People love to talk about their work, especially the people who the spotlight overlooks. You may learn something that will change the trajectory of your life.
Find a way for your art to serve a greater good.
Be kind to people. Be kind to people. Be kind to people….Did I say, ‘be kind to people’?
12. What courses/classes would you recommend someone take if they want to be a professional in the music industry?
Education is key. Take lots of courses in communications, business management and strategy. You need to go outside and play in the dirt too. Scrape your knees up a bit. Hard knocks that come from experience will toughen you for your journey.
13.How many years were you fighting to get to where you are today and what was that time in your life like?
Before answering this question, I thought alot about some of my contemporaries who have been in the music industry for twenty years or so. I started singing in 2005 as a junior in college. At that time, I was just a student exploring a newfound interest in making music to go with the lyrics and poetry in my journal.
14.From your experience so far, what have you found to be most challenging? And how are you dealing with it?
Being away from my family has been the greatest challenge. I spend most of my time working. I am learning to balance home life with the pace of the industry. This lesson is difficult, but I am learning.
15.Share with us your proudest moment in your career so far?
My dad called me on the day I received the GRAMMY nomination. He said, “I’m proud of you…but you know what else I’m going to say.” I said, “Yep…’Carolyn, you’re only as good as your last accomplishment.’” Knowing that my family believes in me and expects me to continue my pursuit of excellence encourages me. Fruitful belonging, knowledge of self and personal accountability give me a charge.
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