King Mala Confuses Her Taste Buds for Feelings on “Sugarblind” [Q&A]

Alt-pop artist KiNG MALA unveils her latest single "sugarblind." Admitting her weakness for a taste of something sweet, the Los Angeles based artist likens her cravings for candy, with the feelings of a new love interest. An honest and totally relatable exploration of young love, KiNG MALA showcases her bold and innovative sound, oozing with soul-infused vocals, a compelling bassline and infectious lyrics.

KiNG MALA is an artist with clout. Radiating with individuality the El Paso born artist reveals her distinct character not only with her persona and unique image, but also through her music. Forging her own path, KiNG MALA wants you to know who she is and remember her name. We had the pleasure of speaking with KiNG MALA, exploring her quest to empower womxn, her hispanic heritage and the potential of an upcoming EP.

Ones To Watch: Your name represents the confident, strong woman that you are. How important is it for you to send a message of female empowerment in your music and what do you hope people will take away from that?

KING MALA: Empowering womxn [cis-women, transgender women, and nonbinary folks] is everrrrrything to me! I grew up feeling really insecure (as I'm sure most young people do) and it was the artists I grew up listening to that taught me what it feels and sounds like to be unapologetically confident in yourself (women like Debby Harry, Stevie Nicks, Halsey, Adele, Lady Gaga and so many more). It took me so long to accept myself for who I was, and I know hearing someone say "hey you deserve to love yourself no matter what" can change your life. I wanted to make sure that my music, and who I am as a person does that for every single person but especially femme identifying people. I think femininity was seen as a weakness for so long when in fact it is so divine. In regular day life, at shows and through my platform I take as much time to hype up the womxn around me and make sure at least one person is telling them they are killing it, cuz odds are… they are killing it haha.

“sugarblind” compares the desire for someone to the craving for something sweet - a totally relatable feeling for a lot of people! Do you have any advice for those who are dating and simply can’t resist?

I totally understand what it is like to not be able to resist someone, it is weirdly the most addicting feeling. I actually hate sweets (more of a Hot Cheetos girl myself), but when I met my boyfriend he had the biggest sweet tooth I had ever seen and it made me start craving candy all the time. I realized I started associating sweets to being around him and I could not resist the feeling so I wrote a song about it. My biggest piece of advice to someone experiencing that kind of hunger (wink wink) is: if you can't resist… then don't. Life is wayyyyy too short not to experience and love all the people you can.

Your music has been described as Ashe meets Bishop Briggs. What is it about their sound that inspires you?

There is just something about honest, unapologetic lyric writing that gets me right in my gut. The way Ashe writes her songs like a story and sings in them this sweet, super dynamic way inspires me so much. In a very similar, but opposite end of the spectrum kind of way, Bishop Briggs evokes so much emotion and soul in her music which I take a lot of inspiration from as well. I think they both inspire me because I have this "two sides of the same coin" approach to writing. I try to embrace a softer side in some songs, and a bigger more emotional side in others, and both of these artists do that so well.

You’re on a night out at karaoke - what song do you pick and who do you choose to duet it with you?!

Oh man have I found myself in WAY too many forced karaoke situations haha. I definitely have a system now, I always pick "Valerie" by Amy Winehouse and sing it with my best friend Summer. We kill it every time.

How did you find the transition from El Paso to Los Angeles? Has being in a buzzy and vibrant city helped with your creativity and energy?

I knew from super early on that I wanted to move out of my hometown to pursue music. I love my hometown and my family so much but I never really felt like I fit in.. maybe it was the fact that I was homeschooled or my bright blue hair haha. By the time high school hit I was ready to get out. I wanted to move to a bigger city just to see what was out there, and see if I could find my people. LA has been everything I wanted and more. It's crazy and so inspiring, all the people I have met have shaped me as an artist. Almost everyone that moves here does it to be able to be their truest self and I am no exception.

Has your hispanic heritage had any influence on your music?

My heritage has a big influence on my music. I am the product of immigration on both sides of my family and there’s something so unique about the way immigrants and the children of immigrants view the world. While my parents were really focused on making sure I grew up with a very dedicated work ethic, they also embedded a "you can do anything" belief. I watched them start out as broke teenagers, and work so hard to become the successful business owners they are today. When I told them I wanted to pursue music, they were hesitant but supportive, I think the risk that I would not be able to support myself worried them, but they also knew that they raised me to work hard. My dad always told me the story of his father, who started as a sweeper in a factory after immigrating to the US and worked so hard to be the best damn sweeper that he got promoted again and again until he was the head of his own department. He taught me that it doesn’t matter where you start from, if you work hard enough and trust yourself, you can get to where you want to be. I carry that mentality through everything I do; always be the most prepared, the hardest working and the kindest person in the room and people will take notice.

Can we expect to see an EP on the horizon?

YES! I absolutely cannot wait to share this EP with everyone this fall. I think it is the perfect representation of who I am as an artist. It is like a fever dream truly, there are so many different styles and inspirations laced throughout, it is nothing if not exciting.

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