I recently sat down with Malika Esdelle, a 26-year-old singer from Brooklyn, NY, who is “two albums and a third on the way” deep in the game, is reminding the world of music that she is here and here to stay. Esdelle talks about her latest album, “CODE ORANGE”, her dream to collab with Pharrell Williams and why she will always respect “true talent over hype”. Check out her latest video, “Bullet” at the top.
MA: You released your most recent EP, “CODE ORANGE”, back in May of this year, what inspired it and what sets it apart from your debut album, “Arrival”?
ME: My latest release “CODE ORANGE”, is a seven-track EP. I have various producers on my project (Thomas Crager, DreEazy, etc) each giving each song a different vibe and feel. My growth as an artist since I released my first EP back in 2013 to now was one of my inspirations for it, but most of all me feeling like I was in a dark place because I felt like I was in a stagnant place and felt I wanted to get past that and reach my fullest potential. The artist that many knew and loved me for.
MA: With the progression of your writing and inspiration between your EPs, how would you describe your writing process?
ME: My writing process is fairly simple. I like to be at peace, in my own thoughts and most of my writing happens in my room. I would jot down potential topics and notes or words throughout the day and write when I’m in my own space.
MA: Tell me about the first song you have ever written…
ME: I can’t remember the very first song that I wrote because it was a very long time ago but back in the day I would always write songs without a beat, now it’s mostly the opposite. An early song that I remember writing was definitely about heartbreak though.
MA: What Artists did you listen to growing up? And, how did it inspire the artist you are today?
ME: I am influenced by older and new artists. Some of my music influences are Pharrell Williams, Lucky Daye, Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder & Anita Baker. Growing up I was influenced by the oldies because my mother always had the radio playing and it stayed on 98.7 Kiss FM, so I’m very familiar with old classics. I also was influenced by music that played on BET, especially from watching music videos. My parents are also from Trinidad and Jamaica, so growing up I also was heavily influenced by Soca & Reggae/Dancehall.
MA: Who would you consider to be a dream collaborator of yours?
ME: My dream collaboration would be to work with the amazing Pharrell. I think his and my sound would be GOLD. I also dream to work with Lucky Daye & Beyoncé as far as other artists are concerned.
MA: To work with certain musical genius, it takes persistence, dedication and most importantly, connections. How important would you say building steady connections are?
ME: Connections are extremely important. It really is about who you know and not just solely for potential opportunities but to grow as an artist. Always be open to building solid relationships. I utilize my connections by being a good person and knowing who to go to for what. I have people that do favors for me solely off the fact I’m a good person and they believe in my dream and support me. It’s truly a blessing and has helped me a great deal.
MA: Earlier you mentioned that you grew up listening to Anita Baker, Stevie Wonder, and others. All different from the musicians of today, What are your thoughts on the music sense of today?
ME: I feel like today’s music scene is in an interesting space. R&B has been making a major innovative comeback, which I’m so happy about. People can finally stop saying “R&B is dead” because that’s far from true. There are people that just haven’t given newer R&B a chance yet and haven’t checked out what is actually out there. Women are really doing their thing in the rap scene. We have artists that are older now, artists that are having babies and it doesn’t mean the end of their career. Yeah, music is definitely in an interesting space. There’s room for everyone but myself personally, I will always respect true talent plus grind, over hype.
MA: I have to agree and say that I am a HUGE fan of talent over hype, I feel as though true talent will always out shadow Clout. What advice do you have for artists who are looking to get their feet wet in the industry?
ME: Advice that I would give to a young musician that wants to come into the game is to learn the business if they want their end game to be signed, and learn the business even if they want to stay independent. The importance of perfecting your craft, putting out QUALITY and work at your own pace, but ultimately consistency is key.
MA: With a matter of weeks left in 2019, I have to ask what are your plans leading up to the new year?
ME: My musical plans for the rest of 2019 are recording for my next EP (which is already well underway) collaborating with more artists, putting out cover videos (which people really enjoy) and just keep on producing great content that can get me more exposure.
MA: What should the readers know about Malika Esdelle?
ME: I want readers to know that I put my heart and my all into this. I’m not trying to be like anyone else and I’m definitely worth listening to!