What can you tell our readers about you? How and where did it all begin?
My name is Mali, I call myself Singer Mali from a line taken from the young adults book Rice Without Rain which my mom read out-loud to my little brother when he was a kid. The line was: Headline: Singer Mali Shoots Lover Inside PatPong Bar! and I filed it away for future use. I live in Boston, USA and front the band, Jaggery. Jaggery’s music gets described as “darkwave jazz” and “torture chamber pop” and we’ve got an upright bass, Celtic harp, viola, drum-kit, and piano. I’m currently on tour in Australia on my first solo tour, as bringing all those instruments was gonna break the bank. I’m not sure if my bandmates are gonna forgive me.
What had you first interested in music?
My parents say that I was able to sing before I could talk (just like the ABBA song). They also had a piano, which I befriended early on. But really, it was the discovery of Cyndi Lauper, when I was in second grade or so, that sealed the deal.
Who motivates or influences your quest to make great music? The biggest motivating factor for me is to want to give back what I feel I have received from my favourite music, which is an unquantifiable gift.
Do you have any planned tours coming up? This tour has taken all my planning as of late, but Jaggery has plans to go to the US West Coast in July/August.
What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist?
A goal I’ve had in the past few years has been to tour internationally, and so it’s big and exciting for me to be doing that right now. Other goals are more process-oriented ~ to enjoy and value the ride so to speak, to continue to challenge, and educate myself creatively, and to strive to better myself and my art.
What can fans expect from you in the coming months? When I return to the States, my goal is to dedicate some serious time to writing, which I have been neglecting for years. I long to get back into contact with the need to write that I experienced as a teenager, and to get into a flow with it again. I hope that in a few months the fruits of those labours will be ready to share.
Success, what is the secret to it and what has been your biggest career highlight so far? This tour is a pretty big highlight so far! As for the secret to success ~ success is subjective, relative, but you can’t succeed if you’ve quit, so persevere, persevere, persevere.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring? Joanna Newsom, Bjork, Lorde, Fiona Apple.
How would you best describe you and your music to your fans?
Dark, dreamy, haunted, ethereal, with some raw and jagged edges.
What can you tell us about your latest album? My actual latest album was a solo digital-release only album that was the culmination of a collaboration with painter Steven Bogart, in Boston, called Ten Paintings/Ten Songs. Over about a year, he would paint and I would write songs, and we’d share our work with another, and let it inspire subsequent work.
Are there any new exciting projects in the works?
Jaggery is working with a Boston-based composer, Michael Veloso, who has been putting Jane Kenyon’s poem cycle Having It Out With Melancholy to music for us. We also have more than an album’s worth of songs kicking around that need recording. And personally, I am hoping to begin incorporating dance ~ a past love of mine ~ more into what I’m doing as a musician and performer.
The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now?
The future’s not ours to see, ce sera sera.
Name a few of your favourite Aussie artists. Lisa Gerard, Joni In The Moon.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
The changing, shifting nature of the industry is a mixed bag I think. It’s a gift for independent artists like myself to be able to reach listeners directly and essentially run our own businesses. However, without the financial support and backing of labels it can be hard to reach listeners in the first place. Social media can feel like a gift at times, but other times it feels like a pressure. The thing I personally struggle with the most is spending more time doing the managerial stuff ~ booking shows, promotion, etc ~ rather than the actual creative work of making music. It’s a tough balance that I have not perfected.
Thank you for the interview! What can you leave fans of with here:It’s a real joy and privilege to be here on Aussie soil and I’m looking forward to meeting and playing for you!
Saturday March 1
The Butterfly Club
with Plum Green