Photo: Aamir Khuller
You know those movie scenes where someone walks in, both doors swinging, making you certain something big is about to happen? Well, that's what Oliver Malcolm just did with his debut single, "Switched Up," a forcefully vulnerable song about not trusting anyone. Backed by a hard-hitting beat, Malcolm's voice echoes out like a combination of Adam Levine and alt-J, albeit smeared with an infectious layer of grit.
The debut is paired with a striking music video that kicks off with Malcolm ripping a phone from a telephone booth in the middle of an empty, snow-covered field upon the opening lyric, "Please don't call my phone." Directed by Jess Kohl, the video captures Malcolm's magnetically dark energy and spastic, frustrated vigor. The entire affair has an air of UK punk, one of Malcolm's notable influences.
Malcolm wrote, produced, and sings "Switched Up" entirely by himself, as he does all of his records. Despite making quite the entrance, this is not Malcolm's debut into the music industry. His production chops landed him his first cut at the age of fifteen. Swedish-born but UK-grown, Malcolm came to LA at sixteen and began going to underground beat battles (think of the rap battles in 8 Mile but producers play their mp3s to see whose is the best) and passed out USB sticks with his beats to anyone he met.
Malcolm has since worked with artists from Ari Lennox to Carlos Santana. During his first in-person session with Cee Lo Green, Malcolm realized he wanted to be on the other side of the booth. Though he had to leave LA in 2019 when his visa expired, he stayed in his sister's spare laundry room and commuted two hours to a studio space every day to create his debut project. Malcolm now resides in Los Angeles, as he embarks on this new venture as an artist.
Whether it's the head-bobbing beat, the gritty vocals, the arresting video, or all of the above, "Switched Up" has Malcolm's energy piercing through the speakers, demanding our attention. A force to be reckoned with, we cannot wait to see what he has in store for us next.
Listen to "Switched Up" below: