MH Interview with MAALAHustle Hall of Fame
Today’s interview is with the incredible kiwi music prodigy, MAALA. After placing third in NZ’s Got Talent, 2012 (no, seriously! Audition tape below), Evan was signed to Sony Music while he was still at school. And from there, he’s gone from strength to strength..
Chuck in your headphones and have a listen to MAALA’s fresh, edgy sound while you read the full interview below – he certainly knows what it means to hustle!
Hey MAALA –
Thank you s o much for agreeing to this interview! I can’t wait to see what you bring to ACL and beyond – you’re doing so ridiculously well – keep up that hustle!
1) What’s one good thing about a classic Monday?
Monday wouldn’t be a classic without that coffee to get the show on the road. There’s a coffee shop just down from the studio that do a Kokako blend – I’m all about that.
2) People often ask about how you came up with the name ‘MAALA’.. Am sure MH readers will be interested to learn that it was created after you wrote the alphabet out, and realized that you didn’t like curved letters (should I be offended with a name like Monday Hustle..!). However, in Spanish, I understand ‘mala’ means ‘bad’. Do you use this knowledge to try and bring a bit of badass to everything you do? If so, can you share some of your badass secrets with these badass hustlers?
Why not right? I think the wrong answer would be to say “Oh no you should never be badass, keep quiet” – I suppose I’m still trying to find my voice and how I can be that badass I want to be. Badass secrets? Man… secrets are secrets for a reason right?
3) Your sound is totally fresh, but what I didn’t realize is that you practised and practised and practised for years to nail a sound that, vocally, you were happy with. In other words, as with all good things, it didn’t just happen overnight.. How did you push through the inevitable frustration and doubt that you must have experienced during that time?
I just got bored with what I was writing, my tastes changed and I wanted to try something new – so here we are! It doesn’t really feel like I’ve pushed through that frustration and doubt. It’s always going to be an important part of the process I suppose – If I didn’t question what I was doing constantly then I think the final product would be worse for it.
4) You went to Uni for 4 weeks to study accounting.. Quite different to what you’re up to now!! Was there a specific realization that made you decide to hustle for what you actually wanted from life?
I did – and uni just didn’t feel right. It wasn’t anything too specific, but more just that classic ‘gut-feeling’. I didn’t want to ask myself “What if?”
5) You were signed with Sony 2 years prior to releasing your first single! How did you deal with the pressure that must have come with that? How did you manage remain true to yourself, while fostering good relationships with Sony record label?
For sure, signing up at the start was daunting – but the people I work closely with are lovely. If there was any pressure, it’s subsided now. I’ve simplified it for myself – I just want to focus on creating a body of work that I’m happy with and I’ve surrounded myself with a group of supportive people that share that vision.
6) Is it true that you still work a full time job to supplement your passion, or has music now taken over as your number one?
Music is number one now. I have the opportunity to work ‘round the clock on this album which is super satisfying. It’s almost done – I can’t wait to get it out!
7) And the big question.. Where is MAALA hustling to get to next?
I have a couple of shows lined up which is terribly exciting. A couple dates in the UK/US as well as local slots at Auckland City Limits & Homegrown. All in between getting this album tied up. The hustle is real.
The hustle certainly is real! Thanks MAALA. Can’t wait to see you on Saturday!
Who else is excited?!
As promised, here’s his audition for NZ’s Got Talent – it’s both super cute, and super clear that Evan was always destined to be awesome!