Talks Career, Plans and Life Changing Moments
Ever since the stunning songstress was discovered through ‘Sing Egyptian Women’ and signed with Subspace, Malak El Husseiny’s hypnotising sultry high notes and wide-ranging contralto have rendered her a true icon in Egypt’s music scene. We got the chance to speak with the sensational Malak and she’s opened up to us about how she made a name for herself and where she draws her inspiration from.
By: Mayar El-Shamy
Tell us a little about yourself and how you made singing your career.
My name is Malak Moataz El Husseiny. I’m 23 years old. I was born in Cairo, Egypt and I’ve been living here my whole life. Music and art are my biggest passions and are how I love to live my life. My career officially started when I signed a record deal in August, around four years ago, with Subspace records after joining a local singing competition called ‘Sing Egyptian women’ where I was a finalist. I then released my debut EP with them the following year. Following my EP, I have since released singles and collaborations with various artists. I also made an appearance on the international show ‘The X factor’ two years ago.
Which famous musicians would you say you’re heavily influenced by?
I don’t find that I have one specific musician that I’m heavily influenced by, however, I relate to different musicians depending on where I’m at musically. It comes in phases depending on the different styles I’m exploring.
What moment do you consider a real breakthrough in your career?
Well, I’m far from where I want to be, but releasing an EP and going on the X Factor were life changing moments. I guess it’s because those were the moments I’ve seen myself create something that was a lot bigger than myself, and even though it seemed scary, it also challenged me and took me completely out of my comfort zone. Ultimately, I want to keep challenging myself musically.
How would you describe your genre?
My sound changes as I mature musically so I cant say that I have one specific sound, but right now I’m working a new project with a completely new sound that fuses my Egyptian identity with my western musical influences.
What is one song you wrote that you’ll always be proud of?
‘The Doors of Perception’. It’s not a song that I’m proud of musically per se, but the lyrics are so rich in meaning, and it was the one song that I feel I truly wrote well.
Do you ever get stage fright? If so, how do you get through it?
I often get stage fright when I’m performing in front of a small crowd and not on stage. I usually try to interact more with the audience in that kind of situation because I feel like there’s a barrier to be broken. I try to connect with the audience emotionally through my performance in this type of situation, whereas performing on stage there’s a little less room for that.
Do you write your own songs? If so, where do you draw your inspiration from?
Yes, I always write my own songs. I listen to new music all the time – completely different genres to get inspired by all the different elements in terms of sound and lyrics. I also sometimes derive my inspiration by reading because every time I read a good book, I can come up with so many great songs through ideas I want to explore. I honestly don’t usually see the correlation, but it happens. Something that has been recently inspiring me directly is going to new places. I feel like whenever I go to places that I’ve never been before, I’m always so observant of everything happening around me and that almost always inspires me to write or come up with a good story or a situation that happens or how that place makes me feel.
Do you ever have to go through musician’s block? How do you overcome it?
Yes, a lot of the time I do! I overcome it by trying not think too much or putting too much pressure on myself, so I usually try doing something else and come back to it whenever I feel easier about it.
Name one song that never fails to move you emotionally and tell us why.
‘Feeling good’ is one of my all-time favorite songs. I don’t know what it is exactly about it that makes me emotional, but whenever I perform or sing it, I’m completely there in the moment with all the highs and lows, unlike any experience I feel while performing any other song.
Any advice for aspiring vocalists?
I don’t remember who said it to me, but the best piece of advice given to me was to always allow myself to be vulnerable in my music. Being vulnerable makes you a better musician because not only will your lyrics be true and genuine, and therefore more relatable, but your presence on stage will also be felt by everyone watching you, that way you will be able to connect with your audience. To me this was the most beautiful and eye opening piece of advice I’ve ever been given.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m working on starting a music production company, so I’m pretty busy with that. I try to work on my own music every once in a while, but I’m hoping when it launches and gets going, I can have more time for my own personal work.