Nostalgic. Soulful. Honey-drenched vocals. Meet Mali Ama, the Atlanta-based singer-songwriter whose dreamy voice and feel-good music make her the perfect pick for your R&B playlists. A director at heart, Mali Ama independently writes, produces, and directs her own music videos, carrying that passion over to her tunes as well.
Through her distinguished and well-defined sound, Mali Ama never fails to swoon audiences alike. She made her introduction some years back and since then, has redefined and shaped how people see her. Last year, Mali Ama made a bit of noise with the release of her single “SAY,” which paved the way for this year’s fan-favorite “Oh My.”
For our latest interview, Mali Ama dives into her music, aesthetic, and gives us a teaser of what’s to come from her music-wise later this year. Check out the conversation below.
So for anyone that’s unfamiliar with your music, how would you describe your sound?
I would say it’s a vibe, it’s feel-good music. Very nostalgic and vibes-y. If you’re just trying to chill or on a car ride then it’s music that you’ll play.
Where did your love of R&B and Soul music come from growing up?
I would say R&B and hip-hop were heavy in my life. I was playing Beyoncé, Lil Wayne, Destiny Child, Chris Brown. My mom would play plenty of Neo-Soul and Rock music so I kind of grew up around a lot of genres.
Growing up, I wanted to be a teacher and then that changed into a film director. That kind of didn’t work out so I just thought: “hey, I have a voice. Why not use it?” I never saw myself as an artist but it’s cool because now I get to direct my own videos.
How have you been adjusting to creating music in the pandemic? How have you been coping?
It was actually the perfect timing. I didn’t see it as a disadvantage, it was free money and all the time to create and execute my ideas. I thought it was a blessing in disguise and I’m taking full advantage of it.
When people listen to your tunes, what type of emotions or feelings are you trying to elicit?
I just want people to feel comfortable. I want them to feel good. Have you ever listened to a song and you feel good in your spirit? That’s how I want my music to be. There’s trap music and you can just drive then feel turnt and hype. I feel like that’s for that but for me, my energy is good vibes to reminisce on whatever is good in your life. The music and my voice is meant to be a feel-good situation.
What does your personal style and aesthetic say about you?
It’s different everyday to be honest! One day I can be a tom boy, the next day I can look like I’m about to go a rock concert, then the next day I’ll look like a bottle girl. It really just depends on my mood. I don’t have one set aesthetic which I like because I don’t want to be boxed into one style or one sound. Life is short, why do you have to wear the same shit everyday? It definitely depends on my mood and the weather.
You dropped your third single “Oh My” not too long ago, what was the inspiration behind that record?
I honestly don’t remember. I just recall sitting on the bed and thinking “this shit is fire.” The first draft is so different from the one that you all are hearing. If I would’ve released it before I held onto it, I don’t think it would have the same impact that it does now. I added strings, background harmonies, I changed up the cadence of the song.
I always feel like I write sad songs, but with this one, I wrote a song like I were to meet a guy that I like. It’s like “I hope you’re not a fraud or putting on this good guy farsad, and you’re actually what you’re portraying to me right now.” All men in my life have done that, disappoint me.
What ideas do you have for future work?
I have this EP where it’s like I met this good guy and find out he’s not. It’s going to tell this whole story of this dude I was messing with. It should be done within a month or two. That’s really what I have coming up music-wise. My EP is fire so I’m ready to get this shit started to be honest!
If you enjoyed our chat with Mali Ama, check out our interview with Nathi!