"Malachiae Warren - The Wake Up”
Starting at the age of just 12, R&B crooner Malachiae Warren began his singing career through YouTube and school talent shows before moving on to recording at 14. Coming from a family with an extensive musical background provides its advantages, and the now 21 year-old talent is currently taking huge strides in leaving his mark on his home city of Atlanta, bringing fresh life into a scene that so craves the new talent.
Atlanta is home to a lot of iconic musicians and artists like Future, Outkast, Usher, Ciara, etc. How has your upbringing in Atlanta shaped your sound and your music?
There’s so much competition in Atlanta. Everyone here does music or something in the entertainment field, so there are pros and cons of living here. The pros are that it is easy to meet and connect to a lot of people who share the same musical interests. The cons are that the music landscape is more competitive so you have to find your own niche to stand out from the other artists. Once you find that niche, people will gravitate toward you.
Tell us about your last project “Heard U Was In My City”.
The second single of the project “Minute Made” was a new sound from me, coming all the way from my first single “Thank Yo Momma” (featuring the Migos) that came out a few years earlier. For this record, you know, a bad seed came through town and didn’t know what she wanted, so this new music is just a way to express that feeling from me personally.
What's the story behind it?
The way it went was this girl… an ex girl of mine… would come and kick it with me in Atlanta, but she wanted more out of the relationship than I wanted to give at the time. She ended up coming back to the city, but she didn’t call me when she did. So my mind was racing, thinking, “Who’s she with, who’s she talking to?” That sort of thing. I just felt that regret kicking in. So the EP takes little pictures, moments, and feelings from that time in my life, and I just made what I was feeling.
Tell us about filming the “Minute Made” music video?
I had a fun time filming it. There were a lot of wardrobe and set changes. It was different from anything I’ve done before. I wanted to make the visuals mesh with the song… dark, moody, sexy but with a fun flavor. I wanted it to be something that girls and guys can relate to. It’s about a confident girl knowing what she wants and giving off that edge. ‘Minute Made’ is a term for having the juice, the flavor, feeling yourself.
One of your first big songs to put you on the map was a song with Migos called “Thank Yo Momma.” Tell us about that track.
I actually recorded “Thank Yo Momma” in my room. To see that song go from my bedroom to the radio to videos on TV is a great feeling and it tells me that what I’m doing is going on the right track. My manager put a meeting together before I actually met Migos… Atlanta is big yet small… everyone knows each other. We sent the song to his management and a week later they sent his part back. A couple months later we were shooting the video and that’s when I actually met him and we had great chemistry.
How has coming from Atlanta and being a product of that culture and vibrancy affected your music?
First and foremost, I love Atlanta. I was born and raised here, so of course I have to always represent. It’s just a great place to be, especially in the entertainment field. You meet a ton of like minds down here; it’s just really easy to connect to people. The only downside is that there’s just a ton of competition to face, but when you find your sound and you stand out, that’s what people pay attention to. That’s what people will gravitate to. You just have to find yourself and run with it.
From whom do you pull inspiration from?
Gotta shout out to Atlanta, so Monica, Ludacris, Usher, and people of that nature. But I listen to a lot of other stuff too. I’m a big hip-hop fan, so I got a lot of love for Future and Drake… even the greats like Jay Z and Tupac. I get a little bit of influence from every genre.
Have you considered working with other artists similar in style like The Weeknd or Travis Scott?
Yeah, absolutely. Right now though, I’m focusing on finding myself and my sound - the thing that will make me unique and stand out. But I would love to branch out and work with other artists that have the same vision as I do for their music.
You mix a lot of different styles in unorthodox ways, like inserting an almost '80s hair metal / anthemic sounding guitar into hip-hop. How and why do you experiment with these different generations and cultures?
That’s crazy that you noticed that. I’m just into music, man. I really just do what I feel and put in what sounds right, no matter what I’m doing. I’m not here to follow trends or fit into standards, that’s just not me. I put passion into anything I do. We bring live bass players into the studio to bring that extra feel into the sound, bringing the old school back to the new stuff, that kind of thing.
Since I’m so young, I look at my generation, and I see how easily influenced we are. So I try to strike a balance that can find all of those different listeners. And that’s not to say that I won’t do the turn up songs, I just feel like you have to have that balance. I might do those types of songs, but I’m going to keep doing songs about love, songs that make people feel good in general. You’ve gotta have fun, but you’ve gotta have the downtime too. It’s a balance. If you turn up for too long, you’re gonna crash after a little while.
You’re only 21 years old. How does it feel being such a young artist at this level in the music industry?
It feels great, man. I just count my blessings and just do my best to remember why I’m here and who got me here. It’s just another way to prove to people my age that dreams do come true, so never listen to that negativity in your life. Keep on moving forward.
What brought you to music in the first place?
It’s crazy, man, because I was doing a whole lot before music. I was acting a little bit, actually. But this whole thing started with me doing some comedy sketches on YouTube. I’d add some singing at the end there, just a little snippet of a song, not anything serious, just to maybe show some viewers that I could sing. When I woke up the next day, the comments were just going crazy. Girls were going crazy over it, so I thought why not, and started singing more. I actually played my school’s talent show and the same thing happened, girls went crazy over it. That’s what made me want to pursue music a little more from then.
How did you get into music?
I started when I was like eleven or twelve. It runs in the family not saying it was forced upon me but just to say that it was in the blood. It comes naturally. You know what I mean? I’m from Atlanta, Georgia so you know, that music speak for itself. I mean there’s so many great musicians that come from Atlanta, Georgia and so much competition but once you find your niche, they’ll support you forever.
Take us back to the time when you were just making covers on YouTube, and then got picked up by Motown Records. How did you get to where you are today?
I want to shout out and thank my big homie, mentor, and main producer, Jasper Cameron. He pushed me to doing music, believed in me, and told me he sees my talent. He took me under his wing and mentored me not just for music, but in entertainment and life in general. After I performed for him, he sent me on a flight to California to meet with the label right after my graduation; it was crazy.
In addition to Jasper, who are the people who kept pushing you and encouraging you along your music career?
My parents. They really believed in me and didn’t want to force me to be anything but encouraged me to follow my own passion. That gave me more hope and the push to follow my dreams.
Did your parents work in music as well?
Yeah, yeah. My mom was into music. Everybody on her side was musically inclined. My uncle, he was in the group. He started a singing group when he was like eleven or twelve. Yeah, so he actually started his own group, wrote and composed all the song and things of that nature. So like I said it runs in the blood.
Do you remember the first song that you recorded?
It was a song called “Off My Mind.” It’s actually in YouTube now, I hate looking at it because I was super young and I couldn’t dress at that time (laughs) Yeah, it a song called “Off My Mind” just basically talking about how you can’t get a girl off your mind - self-explanatory. So that was the first I’ve recorded. I wrote it in my room. I have a little set up in my room so I’ve recorded it.
When did you know you wanted to be a professional singer?
I knew when girls started gravitating towards it. I’ma do whatever the girls like. You know what I mean? So… yeah just once people started feeling me more and started seeing that I wanted to take it seriously as a career, that’s when they started to show me genuine and authentic support. So once I saw to getting their positive feedback, it just motivated me to keep going and keep perfecting my craft.
You mentioned coming from a musical background before so I’m sure you know about the history of Motown. How is it like being signed with Motown?
It’s great just to come from so many great…greats. You know what I mean? Just the history behind it. It also puts, I feel like it puts pressure on me just because everyone’s status on the label but it just motivates me to be want to be great. Just do the best that I can do and be the best that I can be. You know, I want to be on the same platform as those who came from Motown as well so I just got to work hard and put forth my best effort.
Is there anybody you look up to specifically as a musical influence?
Yeah. Brian McKnight is my favorite vocalist of all time. So I always wanted to do some type of work with him. Whether it’s us writing a song together or just, you know, just me getting his insight on the music industry and his vocal performances. Things of that nature but yeah Brian McKnight, Jodeci, Boyz II Men, like I’m an old soul at heart so I like listening to music with substance and music that comes from experience and music that comes from the heart.
What’s your plan for 2018?
I am always in the studio recording, creating music, and I have a set up in my room so I record literally whenever I want to and one thing I want people to know is that I don’t want to be classified as just a singer. I produce. I’m a songwriter. I know how to mix and master. I love to film my own videos, edit, you know, I do a lot of the behind the scenes work too that a lot of people don’t get to see, you know? They just see me in the spotlight but they don’t really get to see what I have to go through you know? The behind the scenes process of things. So I just want to glorify that to a certain aspect.
Did you teach yourself all that too?
Yeah, I’m self-taught. It’s crazy. I’ve always been like self-motivated and self-contained, so anything that I want to learn I just put my mind to it. And it irks me if I can’t figure it out so I sit there for hours just trying to figure out one thing. It can be the simplest thing and I feel like that got me to where I am at today because if I wasn’t able to record certain songs and shoot certain videos and put them out on YouTube, my buzz wouldn’t be as strong as it is today. I created my own fanbase before the label and everything like that.
You mentioned Jasper Cameron before, who’s your creative partner and mentor. How has he guided you?
Yeah, it’s crazy… I tell you the story at that time; we met at a video shoot. My girl wanted me to play the lead guy, her name is King, and she signed to RCA so she wanted me to play the lead guy in the video shoot. So I’m just going there to just to have fun, not really thinking anything of it and I go there and she has her label people there and I guess she told them at that time that you know, I could sing or whatever. I wasn’t really taking it seriously like trying to pursue it as a career but people knew that I was capable of doing it.
So she told her people about me and the next day Jasper Cameron was like the main person who reached out to me. He was like, “Yo, King told me you’re talented. I want to send you some beats.” At the time, I knew how to record and stuff like I told you earlier. He sent a beat over, I recorded something and I sent it back to him and he’s like, “Yo! You are dope. We got the work together.” From there on it was history like he introduced me to all of his people, all his connects and just started networking me with people and that’s how I met my management. And from my management, that’s how I got to the label.
It’s crazy how those connections happen.
Yeah and I tell people all the time, any opportunity that’s presented to you if you feel like it can benefit you, make sure you take those opportunities because you never know what could come out of them.
That’s good advice. And you guys also came up with “Love Life.”
Yeah. Love Life is my production company. Me and Jasper, it’s collaborative effort. Love life is basically self-explanatory just telling people to love life and anything you’re doing in life, just put your best foot forward and make sure you do everything to the best of your ability and just to inspire people to live out their dreams you know what I mean? Those are people I look up to, anybody. It could be a six year old kid. If he has a dream and he wants to pursue that dream, and make it become a reality, you know, I’ll look up to that kid. You know whether he’s younger than me or not. It’s self-explanatory, just love your life.
What do you want people to get from your upcoming project?
Just a great body of work. I want people to know that everything that I record from ballads to turn up songs is all music that I’ve experienced. Like it all comes from experience and stuff that I’m going through or music that comes from the heart. You know, I just want people to know that they can get a great body of work and you know, the fellas could listen to it and the females can listen to it as well. It’s a perfect blend, perfect mixture for all audiences.
What’s the best advice you can give to young people who want to be a recording artist like you?
My life motto is to achieve any dream that you have, put in your best effort. My dreams are becoming a reality everyday as we speak. No one can tell me I can’t because and I’m having the chance to watch my journey right now. I have a story to tell other young people - just put forth your best effort and grind.
So what's next?
We’re really just focusing on promoting my project. I’ve just been running around Atlanta, getting my name out and talking to the clubs and the DJ’s, all of those guys, just grinding it out. I really wanna see my fans up close and personal, so I will definitely be hitting the road in the next few months. Right now I’m just working on getting my name out down home, but when I hit the road, I’m gonna be hitting those cities hard.
RockLan One Magazine Interview - Malachiae Warren