It's All About The Music 

Malynda Hale

What a privledge it is for me to have this job discovering and interviewing such incredible talent as you are about to meet with this wonderful artist. What I like about Malynda is that she knows exactly who she is and where she wants to be. She speaks with self respect in a sophisticated manner and her trained voice and natural charisma pulls you in like a magnet.

Bruce Maier



DGT: Malynda; tell us about your new release – Blue Eyes. How did this great song come to you?


Blue Eyes is a song that’s very dear to my heart. I wrote it right before I officially started dating my now husband. We were long distance for a good chunk of our relationship (he was in LA and I was in New York), and after he came to visit me for the first time I remember going home and just writing down my feelings. Then I pulled out my keyboard and started playing around with melodies and chord progressions, and a few hours later Blue Eyes came to life. I had known him for maybe three months at that point and we hadn’t even discussed where the relationship was going, but I knew if I could write a song about him that quickly and he hadn’t broken my heart yet… he was probably the one!

DGT: You write much of your music Malynda and your songs are well crafted. Did you have any formal training?


First off, thank you for the compliment- that means a lot! I don’t have any formal training as far as songwriting goes. I’ve just learned to take constructive criticism and listen. I’ve also learned that writing with people who are better than you will in turn make you a better writer. My songwriting also changed a lot once I moved to New York from Los Angeles. My experiences were different, my lifestyle changed and I was better able to fend for myself. New York was a whole new ballgame and it definitely made me a better artist. As far as singing goes, I got my degree in Vocal Performance so I was trained classically and opera repertoire was a huge part of my life. Currently I still study classical technique with an amazing vocal coach because I feel you can never stop learning when it comes to your craft.

DGT: Kevin Porter and Lena Leon were your producers on this record, so how did you become acquainted?


They are both amazing people and I was so blessed to meet them in New York. I actually met Lena first. She produced the EP of another singer-songwriter I was singing background for in New York and we just connected. She told me what her strengths in producing and songwriting were and we made it a point to do a "trial run" of working together. It turned into this amazing business relationship and incredible friendship. The Garage Band recording of "Blue Eyes" was actually the first song of mine I ever sent her, so seeing the development of that song from that point to where it is now is incredible. I decided after hearing a lot of Lena’s work that I really wanted to record an album with her, so a little over a year ago we started the process of writing and recording.

Kevin came into the picture a little later. I was a worship leader at the church I attended in New York and they had several locations. I happened to sing at the Manhattan location one Sunday and he was the sound engineer. He ended up getting in touch with me a little later and told me he worked for Germano Studios in New York and would love to hear music I was working on and to possibly work together. Over months we exchanged emails and he would come and support my gigs in New York. Eventually, he wanted to get involved in the album I was doing with Lena and offered to mix the entire album and co-produce some of the songs. He played some of the songs for his manager Troy Germano (the owner of Germano Studios), and Troy was fully on board to have Kevin work on this album and backed it 100%. It felt really good to at that point have three smart, talented and well-connected people be so supportive of my music and want to make it the best it can be, and that’s exactly what they’ve done.

DGT: You sing with so much passion and range, which comes across well for radio and a listening audience. How would you rate your ability as a performing artist?


I think I hold my own. I grew up singing in church, which is most definitely where my passion came from, and I think my experience in acting (theatre) has really helped me learn to connect with an audience when I’m performing live. And then there is the fact that 95% of the music I sing is my own, so from the standpoint of drawing from personal experience and letting your guard down to show those emotions to an audience, I would say that alone has made me a strong performing artist.


DGT: Considering so many female artists dominating the charts and the world stages today with their choreographers and all the right moves to accompany their music – just seeing how theatrical and competitive it is today, do you think you’ve got what it takes to become a Platinum artist and one who can sell out concert halls?


I have to say that it has taken me awhile to get to the point where I truly believe I have what it takes to make it. But I’ve recently discovered who I am as an artist and what my place is in the industry, and I 100% believe I have what it takes to be a household name. I think my strengths as a songwriter alone could make me a platinum artist; however, I do have some moves of my own that a lot of people have yet to see! Although I view myself as more of an Adele than a Rhianna in terms of being a singer/songwriter vs a pop star, I think I have a grasp on how to dabble in both worlds.

DGT: Do people compare you to other artists and if so, how does that make you feel?


In terms of vocals, I’ve been compared to Whitney Houston for as long as I can remember... hopefully during her better days. I’ve also drawn comparisons to India Arie, Alicia Keys, and Heather Headley. Each is a huge compliment. All of these women have achieved great things throughout their careers and have distinct voices. While these similarities help place me in a range of impressive singers, I feel that I too have a distinct voice.

DGT: Tell us about the process of recording your music – and if working in the studio is as interesting to you or as fun as performing in front of an audience.


There’s a huge difference between being a recording artist and being a performing artist. Some people are better in the studio and some people are better live. I’ve been told I have a great recording voice; however, recording in the studio is something I had to get comfortable with. I have always enjoyed performing live more. Being in the studio is definitely a fun and supportive atmosphere, but with me being as much of a perfectionist as I am, it was initially difficult for me to relax and simply sing. As far as recording, my team and I always start with basic instrumentation – drums, keys, bass, guitar – then add sound loops and additional instrumentation – synthesizer, strings, and anything else the song may need. It’s a long process, but each song is well thought out and very little escapes my perfectionist eyes and ears… at least I like to think that’s the case!


DGT: Getting back to your songwriting, is it the melody or the lyric that comes to you first, or do you wake up in the middle of the night with the whole arrangement in your head?


First of all, I always lose the songs that I write in my sleep and it’s super frustrating because I feel like I forget my best work! But truthfully, each song is different. Sometimes I’ll sit at the piano and play with chord progressions, build a melody on top of that, and then the lyrics come soon after. Other times, it’s the exact opposite. It really depends on where I am and what I’m doing. For a lot of the songs on my upcoming album, The Train Ride Home, I literally wrote on my train rides home. When I was living in New York, subway rides would take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour, so I would write lyrics in my notepad and sing melodies into my Blackberry so I wouldn’t forget them. I probably looked crazy, but in New York at least I blended in.

DGT: What about the idea of traveling you know, living on the road for months at a time and perhaps playing to your fans all over the world. Does that aspect of the business intrigue or fatigue you just thinking about it?


Touring has always been something I’ve wanted to do! I love traveling by itself, so being able to travel and explore different environments while sharing my music with an audience would be a dream come true. That aspect of the business definitely intrigues me but I’m sure doing hundreds of shows in a few months would have to be tiring on your body and voice. But it’s still something I can’t wait to experience.

DGT: When you were young, say, in grade school, did you stand out in the crowd or more or less just blended in with everyone?



Well, I grew up in Santa Barbara. If you don’t know much about it, let’s just say in a sea of vanilla ice cream, I was the only chocolate chip. A singing chocolate chip at that. Needless to say, I definitely stood out! But all joking aside, I would say I was an extroverted introvert. I enjoyed my alone time but I was very well known, outgoing and made friends easily. I was always involved in school activities, so I always had a presence in school.


DGT: Growing up as a child, which musical artists would you say inspired you to get serious about music?



Whitney Houston and Mariah were always at the top of my list. But I also grew up listening to Motown. Artists like Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles made me want to become a stronger pianist and get into songwriting. Then there were of course the pop artists of the 90’s that made a huge impact on what I wanted to do.

DGT: And then today Malynda, who are some of the top artists you are influenced by or that you listen to the most?


Music has changed a lot today and I find myself listening to a lot of Top 40’s and current pop music, but the one artist I have to say that gets the most attention from me is Gavin Degraw. I respect and love everything about him as an artist. He’s beyond talented and inspires me so much. His songwriting, his musicianship and his incredible voice... some may say I’m a little obsessed with him! But I truly just respect him as an artist. He essentially embodies what I want to accomplish: he’s a major label artist who almost functions as an independent artist because he has a huge following and good, solid music with none of the drama that comes with it. I truly love everything about him.

DGT: Ever thought about what happens when you become a star and suddenly one day they pair you up with a famous singer, like what happened a couple months back when Lady Gaga got to sing with Tony Bennett? Is there anyone you would just love to perform with?


So many people… Where to begin! But the three that come to mind immediately are Stevie Wonder, Audra McDonald and of course Gavin Degraw (seriously, I’m obsessed with him haha!). Performing with artists more accomplished than you, I feel, makes you a better artist. I would love to perform with Stevie simply because I know I could learn so much from him. His voice and music are incredible. He’s a legend and it would be an honor. Audra McDonald, in case you don’t know who she is, is an incredible Broadway star and actress whose voice I just adore. She truly has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard and when I sing classical music or select Broadway songs in my voice lessons her style is what I try to emulate. And Gavin Degraw because, well, he’s Gavin Degraw!

DGT: Sometimes performing artists find themselves in the crosshairs of debate over human rights, sexuality, religious or political views. Do you think it’s necessary for everyone to know everything about an artist’s private life and / or opinions?


I don’t know if it’s necessary but I think that if you are in a position to influence people positively and make a difference, you should. I wish people did give artists more privacy and I’ve never known why people become so enthralled with the latest celebrity gossip. But I love seeing when a well-known artist does something "normal" like shop at Target or wear sweats. They are normal people just living out their passions and dreams. It’s their job.

DGT: Has there ever been an event which has had a profound impact on you, something that maybe even fires you up, brings out your soul into the music?


There is a song I recorded on my first EP and then remade on my 2nd EP called "No More Tears." And I remember getting a message on MySpace shortly after I released it from a girl who had just lost her boyfriend in a car accident. She told me my song was helping her get through her pain, thanked me for writing it, and said it was exactly what she needed. It’s moments like that that compel to me write and pour my heart and soul into my music. If I can touch one person with my experiences, my voice and my lyrics… it’s the most amazing feeling in the world.

DGT: Many singers and bands through the years have stood up for causes around the world like the environment or hunger and sickness. What would you like to change about this world that we’re living in and do you think music has enough power to make that change?


I’m pretty verbal about my passion for veganism. Anyone who knows me connects the word vegan with Malynda. It’s something that has become a huge part of my life. I became a vegetarian when I was eleven years old and made the transition to being a vegan a few years ago. I have to say it truly has changed my life. I’ve recently become more interested in animal rights, having seen documentaries like Food Inc. and Earthlings. It’s really shocking to me how little people know about the food industry and we need to become more aware. I think there are more and more celebrities endorsing a plant-based lifestyle and it is really encouraging to see. I think anyone with the power to influence can help make positive changes. When I’m blessed enough to be in that position with my music I want to do everything I can to inform people of what being a vegan really means and that it’s better for us as people and better for our environment. I also want people to know that being vegan doesn’t mean eating cardboard and lettuce! I am VERY well fed!

DGT: We would like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview Malynda. Is there anything else you might ad for our readers about what’s on your schedule for 2012?



I’m just so excited to release my album this spring. It’s been a good year so far and I couldn’t be more proud. The name of the album is "The Train Ride Home" for several reasons. First, when I asked people for album title suggestions on my Facebook fan page one of my friends suggested it as a joke. But the more I thought about it the more it fit perfectly. Like I mentioned before, I had written a good amount of the songs on the subway in New York… "Train Ride Home" really summed up how the album came to be. But I also felt it was a good title because in a way I’ve arrived to who I am as an artist. My music is the best it’s ever been, I’m confident and I know the path I am taking. I’m "home." For the rest of the year I plan on promoting the album, performing anywhere I can, and pushing myself further to achieve the success I want. 2011 was a great year, but 2012 is going to be amazing.

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