What do you mean by different?
Of course you have “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…” but I never had those type of songs you know what I mean like, one of the gospel singles from my gospel album was called “I Hate You.” [Laughs] Even when I was in gospel, my whole thing was controversial. One of the lyrics from my quote on quote “gospel” songs is “I’m tired of meeting up, feeling one way, beaten broken down and I’m hungry and I’m needing and I’m wanting and I leave the way I came. Will I ever change? The church is busy shouting raising offering and they never ever pay attention to the needs of the lost anymore. Pictures of themselves in the light not the dark anymore but thus say is the Lord, victory is yours.” So I was always kicking it from a true place. It’s funny because when I would come into the churches everybody is all suited up and beautiful. Then here I am with a t-shirt on, jeans, some sneakers and it’s like, “Alright guys, this next artist is uhhh…we don’t even know what he is. Just uhhh bear with him,” so I was always a part of it but never a part of it so it’s very good. I was like, if I’m not gonna belong to anything I was gonna do it on a major platform and be able to touch as many rejects and outcasts as I can. I wanna thank Mark Pitts for giving me this opportunity and I think that we made something very beautiful.
Do you ever feel like you’d do it again? Are you interested in going back to your gospel roots one day?
Of course. I don’t feel that I’ve left it. I think that it’s just a worry. No one has ever heard the sound that I’m going to release on the 17th, so they don’t know. They’re just thinking “Awww man, Mali’s done…whatever” just because the genre is categorized as R&B and soul, so I think that the only thing that can really define what is, is when everybody hears the song which is why it’s really necessary to go back to that last question and do it in a guerilla mode because once they get there all the thoughts, all the assumptions they found out are wrong. I’m singing, I’m still Mali Music and I’m still RCA but everybody feels refreshed, they feel uplifted, they feel enlightened and they recognize that it comes from a positive source you get what I mean? After that, there’s no more questions and everybody’s excited about the album for the right reasons. So yeah, it is a patient type of thing because hey, I can’t make June 17th come any faster.
So, what do you feel like is the main difference that you see in your creativity since?
Oh yeah, we love that.
I can go and do, play, and sing when or how I want. I don’t have to think about or over-evaluate offense. It’s a lot easier to offend people than make them happy you know? So I think just the freedom of it–like if I wanted to sing a song about this I can because there is no cant’s and I like that freedom because it causes what I do choose to do to have more value you know? I think that’s just what it was. I could be more of myself and I can introduce myself a lot more which is why the album is called Mali Is… because everybody has such an idea kind of like when John Legend released his initial album and somebody only downloaded his “Ordinary People” single, they wouldn’t have heard the hip-hop beat on “Let’s Get Lifted” and they would have categorized him as just a piano balladeer. Not recognizing that he was rocking on hip-hop beats too so when they went to the concert they might have been confused. So Mali Is… is a introduction of all the aspects of me ummm you know with all my heart, my content, my musical liking, my flow, my cadence, my confidence and my humility you know what I mean? So it’s gonna be really good and I think the only word that can describe all of it is “new” or something that I don’t believe anyone has heard before. It’s reminiscent of a little bit of that and a little bit of this but it’s a new concoction and I can’t wait for the world to hear it.
Wow, that was eloquently put.
So we’re gonna do something called lessons learned, are you ready?
Yes, I’m ready.
Lessons learned from social media?
Wow, watch what you post [laughs].Yeah def watch what you post and you can’t pay attention to what everybody says because everybody who is saying something is not important. So yeah, everything said isn’t important.
Lessons you learned from failure?
Oooh. It’s not real; it’s nothing but a peg in the building of what is to come so if you focus on failure and you build your house on it. You’ll never reach why you failed. It’s probably a lesson and you probably weren’t ready.
Lessons you learned from heartbreak?
Ummm, we’re all human and it’s not the end. So, I think the heartbreak was nothing it just taught me that like, I may not know the right thing sometimes. No matter how much I love it or want it, I still might have been wrong and the heartbreak is the truth that I can’t ignore; the fact that the thing that I loved wasn’t for me you know what I mean?
Lessons you learned from Hollywood or the music industry?
Mali: Enjoy it and have fun but keep it separate. Don’t get too into it because its fickle, it changes, and it’s political. So yeah, Hollywood it beautiful ummm and you know being on the good side of media is awesome but all it takes is one flick of a wrist to come out of one bad situation and the whole thing is against you. So if you’re connected to it, it can destroy you. Recognize that it is what it is; its media. Its other people making their money talking about what’s really happening and always know the truth. Never give them any ammo.
Is there anything else you want to say? Any closing thoughts?
No, I am just really excited about it, this is really good. I just want to make sure that whoever hears it sees it follows me on Twitter and all the social media stuff.
Well it was great speaking with you Mali. You’re very insightful.
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