Q&A with Malia Grace

Austin singer/songwriter Malia Grace is gearing up to release her highly anticipated debut EP on October 29th. Between winning the Austin Songwriter of the Year Award (BeBobAlooza 2014) and earning an invitation to play an official showcase at SXSW 2015, Malia is ready to end 2015 with a bang. Fans can listen to her newest single "Mama Didn't Raise No Fool" below and pick up her EP later this month!

Interview by Shannon Shumaker

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself for any readers who may not be familiar?

I am a singer/songwriter based out of - and raised in - the great city of Austin, TX!

You’re just getting ready to release your debut EP on October 29th! Can you tell us a little bit about the EP?

The EP is a collection of seven of my songs of which I am really proud. All of the songs have a slightly different style, but they remain cohesive. I wrote most of the songs with certain singers in mindhoping to maybe sell them one day. The EP has been a year and a half in the making (omg!), and I am so excited to finally be releasing it!

I know you crowdfunded the EP through Indiegogo. What drew you to the crowdfunding route?

First of all, Indiegogo is the best. Second, what drew me to the crowd funding route was the fact that I just didn’t have the budget for the album. I’d seen many friends and other local musicians successfully fund an album through it, and I was hopeful that I could do the same as it was a dream of mine to finally make one.

Did you expect it to be as successful as it was? 

Not really. Since I grew up playing music in Austin, I have a core group of supporters and fans that have been anxiously awaiting an album from me since my teens. I prayed that they would still be supporters and want to hear a collection of my work done correctly, but I feared I might be overshooting it. That’s why I chose flexible funding—I was worried we wouldn’t reach the goal. Surprisingly and thankfully, everyone came through in a big way and I am forever grateful.

How was the recording process for these songs?

It was awesome! I got to work with a bunch of different, extremely talented musicians and three excellent producers. Four songs were recorded initially with local upcoming producers Johnny Vogelsang and Travis Kennedy and the other three were recorded about two months later with Matt Noveskey of Blue October producing. Both teams were amazing and I am honored to have worked with them. I wish I could go back and relive all of the excitement!

Is there anything that you would like listeners to be able to take away from the EP? 

I just want listeners to know that (1) it’s okay to be heartbroken or to feel down and to shed a tear or two or even two thousand, and (2) you just have to get back up and be strong. Don’t let other people tear you down. You’re stronger than you think you are.

Do you have a favorite song on the EP, or a track you’re really excited for listeners to hear?

Honestly, I love every song and I cannot wait for people to hear each one of them. I go through phases of favorites. I think “Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool” may be my favorite by just a sliver, because it really does represent who I am. At the end of the day, I’m not the sad girl in “Puzzle” or the tempted girl in “Chains of Love.” I’m strong and I’m pretty sassy, or so they tell me.

Do you feel that being based out of Austin has had a big impact on your music? If so, how?

Definitely! Growing up here, music was everywhere. I had so many opportunities to learn about and play music. In fact, one of the producers on my EP, Johnny Vogelsang, was my first guitar teacher/rock band leader in middle school. He taught me how to rock out and begin my writing process when I was only twelve years old, and now we have this amazing opportunity to work together on what I’ve created in my twenties.

If someone is seeing you for the first time, what would you like them to take away from your live performance?

I’d like it to be almost a cathartic experience for them where they can just be free and feel what they need to feel for an hour. I’m extremely passionate about what I do, and I’d like them to see that and be able to connect with the music on a personal level.

After the EP drops, do you have any other big plans for 2015?

Well, just before the EP drops, I’ll be playing the CMJ Festival, which is very exciting. Also, I have a gig in Pittsburgh next week and am at the PostCrypt CoffeeHouse at Columbia University on October 16. The PostCrypt is an all-acoustic venue so that should be some very real fun. I’m still working on the best course after the EP drops. The support for my single release (“Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool”) from Jimmy Fallon and the Tonight Show last week has generated amazing new activity. I’m still sorting out those invitations in line with other calendar commitments for holiday parties and local Austin gigs. I’m also inclined to leave things a little open and flexible to see what kind of response the album gets. Some serious radio air time would be wonderful. It’s up to God at this point, and I’ll follow whatever path is shown to me. Whatever it is, it will be a big plan in my eyes.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’m thankful for everyone taking the time to read this and to The Prelude Press for taking an interest in me. It’s pretty darn cool that anybody cares about me and my EP. I’m humbled.

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