The last thing BYT needs is anymore beautiful, successful, and intelligent women (S/O to Svetlana, Libby, and all BYT photographers and contributers << Intern Buttkissing), yet DC is full of them and we can’t get enough of them. And so we introduce: Carolyn Malachi.
Carolyn Malachi is a spoken word poet and jazz/soul/R&B/etc. artist from our very own DC. She’s everything you want in a woman, not to mention ambitious, outspoken, and gorgeous. When I first met her, I could immediately sense her presence. She’s strong and her strength translates into her music. BYT recently spoke with Carolyn about her success and the recent release of her EP “Lions, Fires, and Squares”. See what she has to say, and check her out tonight at Eatonville for the happy hour fundraiser social for the Libations for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).
BYT: For the BYT readers who don’t know you, how would you describe your sound and music?
Carolyn: I decide to describe it as hot, eclectic, soul and blues.
BYT: That sounds awesome. But I heard you majored in Business in college? How did you go from a Business major to making music?
Carolyn: It happened sort of naturally. In ’05, I was a junior at Shepherd University and that’s when I started to really delve into music. I think I took my natural talents and the information I gained from my business studies, and applied those to my pursuits in the music industry. I think that put me ahead of the curve.
BYT: It hasn’t been that long for you then! About 5 years? And I heard recently you went on tour in South Africa?
Carolyn: Oh yes, I went in February for a tour called the Homecoming. I actually performed with this artist HHP (Hip Hop Pantsula). He’s like the Jay-Z of South Africa – his popularity is. The music he does is called “Motswako”, and literally in Setswana language, Motswako means mixture. So it’s not just rap or hip hop, it’s jazz, it’s pop, it’s funk, it’s soul, it’s house. I think if we use that name here, it would be a great way to describe my music. I am that mixture. I think it was really cool to learn from him and I’m headed back there on August 21st to perform Johannesburg and Mmabatho, which is where HHP is from.
BYT: How did you get involved with that tour?
Carolyn: Well, Bloombars is a community art space. And Bloombars brought HHP here, and I performed with him here. We sort of developed a bond, and also I developed this whole mentor/mentee relationship with him. And I’ve learned a lot from him – for instance to really pay attention to my art. He never hits the stage unprepared. He always has every single thing in place. He just takes his time, he really does. And I adapted that into my work, and he brought me to South Africa.
And now my priority is accessing that world so I can bring those resources back, open the way and provide in roads to other independent artists like HHP did for me. I’ve been given so much, it’s required for me to give it back. I want the love, and I appreciate the lifestyle but at the same time I’m very altruistic about my art.
BYT: How did DC influence your sound? I know people don’t recognize DC for its music, so what has that experience done for you?
Carolyn: A lot of people look at DC as a melting pot, but I see DC like a salad bowl. You know a melting pot melts it down to this fondue, one taste kind of thing but that’s not how I have ever seen the city. You can access one part of the city but I’ve never felt like that. Whereever I am, I’m going to access as much as possible. And I think that has found it’s way into my music, that Motswako, that mixture that DC has to offer.
BYT: Do you have a favorite venue in DC then?
Carolyn: My favorite spot for poetry has to be Busboys and Poets. To sing and bring the band out, it’s got to be Blues Alley. It’s a really intimate setting, and my great grandfather played there, so I already have a type of connection to it. In terms of hip hop, I love to perform at Liv and Bohemian Caverns. There on one night it’s a hardcore jazz spot, and on the next night it’s hardcore hip hop. I love the flexibility of the venue.
BYT: Yes, DC is so underrated as a place for music, but from artists like you we see that it’s worth so much more than what people see it for. Okay, quick last round of questions. Funniest pick up line?
Carolyn: Haha, I’ve heard a lot! “You look like a candidate for five healthy children!” (laughs) and in my head I’m like, “Five? Why not just two?” I’ve gotten a lot of that lately. The other day one guy said, “Mmm. You look like you would have strong boys.” What??
BYT: Funniest song on the radio right now?
Carolyn: I love this song! Gucci Mane’s Lemonade. It’s the perfect balance of soft and hard. It’s killin’ the bass on this hard core crunk track, it’s crazy!
BYT: Favorite dance craze?
Carolyn: Nothing beats the Macarena. Bump the Cha cha slide. Also, S/O to the Electric Slide.
And here are some tracks from “Lions, Fires, and Squares” that Carolyn thinks that you should hear.
1. Lions, Fires & Squares: The ultimate metaphor for achieving the “impossible”. You’re the lion. The fire only dares you. Your sight is squared on your goal. Strike.
2. Orion: This song is a movie in my head; a story about two star-crossed lovers told with luscious soliloquy. There’s a mermaid (me) and an astronaut (him…..probably listening somewhere out in space).
3. Textual: Phone calls about nothing = WACK. Just text me. HHP has a pretty good reason why I should pick up the phone – and he’s very convincing. Eish! Motswako gets me every time!
4. Dumela: Hey, Smart Chicks, this is our coming of age tune. We made it! Now, reach back and bring someone else along. The world is watching. Sawubona, baby.