With silky RnB vocals, indulgent melodies and an introspective pen game, Mally.A breathes fresh life into the new wave of plugg music. The Croydon-based artist possesses a varied catalogue of music that is sure to provide a soundtrack for all types of situations life might find you in. From more stripped-back, guitar-riffed RnB tracks such as ‘Justincase’ to smooth rap on a more hip-hop-type beat like ‘ChargedUp!’ featuring J Payne. Working with the likes of dxvl, JIANG!, Finch Fetti, Flexo Kobain, Nox Cartier, Dreadz and many more, Mally.A adds a new sonic dimension to any beat he flows over, bringing soul and warmth to a track.
On Mally’s newest project ‘Love, On Purpose’ he presents a mature, self-reflective perspective on love, handling the topic with honesty and compassion. The prequel’ ‘Love, By Accident’, shows a more playful, boyish perspective. The series, therefore, covers a range of situations that you might find yourself in. Reflecting on self-love and interpersonal love, through songs like ‘SelfLove’, ‘WordForWord,’ and ‘MyOnly’ (to name a few), Mally’s refreshingly grown perspective offers a more sensitive, emotionally mature male insight which sets him apart from his peers. Working with a range of producers like Ygcee, Toxic3000, YT, GYPTXVN and MANNY DUBBS, Mally bosses his polished, charming vocals on a variety of plugg beats to create his signature sound.
When Mally announced his latest project, he also announced that he is taking a break from music, although we are sure to hear from the creative through other expressions of art in the near future. Leaving us with a warm and thought-provoking project, we had to sit down with Mally to get his personal take on the project. We touch on subjects ranging from personal growth, to love and collaboration to what is next for Mally.A. Answering openly and honestly, be sure to catch all of the gems Mally.A drops on us down below.
Your first project from this series came out 2 years ago. How has loved changed for you over the past two years? What’s changed from ‘Love By Accident’ to ‘Love On Purpose’?
When I did the first track for the first tape, I had the idea for the name of the project. All the songs on there are connected to situations that just, happened. Who ever I was chatting to at the time…it would just fall into its own place. Because I’ve matured over the years, I feel like now I know what love is to me. I have more of an understanding of who I connect with. I don’t mean love just in terms of having a partner or having a girlfriend. I think just who you decide to give your time to. I’m more intentional about it cos back in the day I was all over the place, man. I wouldn’t wanna say I was bad, I did my things. I learnt a lot from my own mistakes and I think that those mistakes have made me realise where I stand with myself, with love.
Was there something that happened that made you think, ‘I’m gonna make this a series?’
I actually had the idea of doing a sequel about a year and a half ago. Around that time it suddenly just sprung on me, I already have Love On accident; Love On Purpose sounded like a good sequel to it. The only sequels I’ve done is the Mally Packages and there’s no structure to them. They’re just songs that at that time I really liked, innit. I haven’t had a time to knuckle down and have a clear direction with my music. A lot of time has passed so I've been more mature with my decisions or what I chose to speak about in my music, certain words I use, certain things I’ve cut back on talking about in certain songs.
What words are you trying to cut back on?
I don’t say bitch no more, man. Love By Accident was more like the immature me, like my perception of what I was involved with or whatever. I feel like I wanted to take that same approach but show what I’m like now. I listen to some of my friends’ music and I’m like yeah, you can talk about all the obvious stuff like what these guys are speaking about in the US…I don't even wanna say it too tuff. But like I’ll be honest with you, even having conversations with my girl and me just listening. It's more about me listening rather than just like ah, let me just make more music. It was about listening and learning and translating what I’ve learnt, innit.
I can feel a woman’s perspective in Love On Purpose.
Majority of songs on that tape are lessons I’ve learnt from my girl. I’m looking at it from a whole other perspective now. So I’m not just gonna constantly be talking about how I’m doing this with that girl and that with that girl because I don’t glamourise that in no shape or form, and I know a lot of mandem do, innit. I’ve been tryna speak to other fellas who aren’t even doing music. I work with a couple of young bruddas and it's just like… change the way you think, don't follow suit. We’re all influenced in a certain way but the difference between being a child and an adult is we can control what influences us. Reading back on certain things I be saying in songs like, I'm not a kid no more. I shouldn’t be calling women bitches and whatever. All that stuff there is just…the weight it does carry. To certain man it's nothing — but because they don’t know what it’s like being a woman. When they say the devil’s in the details…a lot of these slurs carry through generations and nothing changes after a while, you get me.
You’ve got a lot of different producers on the tape, what is the reason for that?
When I first started the premise was, I’m going to do everything myself. And then over time, especially through lockdown, I had other producers reaching out to me. I don't really tap in with anyone from London apart from Manny, DXVL and GYPTVXN. The tape’s got mad producers on it cos they’re from different countrie. I think Manny, GYPTVXN and YT are the only ones from the UK on it. It's just bridging the gap a little bit. There’s so much talent outside the UK. Everyone just likes to keep it UK — nah. I know this producer, the one that did the track ‘The Resistance’ off Mally Pack II. He’s eighteen, from California, bruv. I think to myself, bruv, there’s so much talent… these young bucks are going crazy elsewhere. I got a guy from Paris on there as well and one of the guys is from the Netherlands. There's a whole span of people that are on the same vibe. Every time I lock in with a new producer it feels like a whole new vibe. It's like, how can I approach it my way so we can craft something a little bit different. I’m tryna merge more of the soulfulness with the plug stuff. The stuff which is actually about your experiences in life, the people you meet, the love you feel. That type of stuff on top of the plugg beats, yeah man, that's the premise.
What are your favourite tracks of the project?
I like number two [WordForWord]. Number two and number one [SelfLove], man. I got a mad treatment for the video for number two. Number one is like a message. It’s my own personal perspective of conversations I’ve had with my girl, but not only my girlfriend, my sisters and my mum. All the women in my life that I’m closer to, I see where they hold themselves back. It always boils down to the lack of self-confidence and sometimes they visualise the aesthetic of themselves and the way they look. I think that holds people back so much. In WordForWord, it’s about me and my girl, we have always worked in coherence. We don’t fall out majorly but when we have had disagreements, it's always been like a piece to a puzzle. When we come out the end of it, we’ve learnt something and it's like WordForWord is like step after step, you get me. It's progression, innit. It’s what that song epitomises. The first song ties into that. I was sceptical about the first song because I know that certain women don't like hearing that from men. And I get that.
I feel like you say it in the least patronising way. There’s a part in the track where you say, ‘I’ve got flaws, I can relate.’
Facts. That’s the thing…I understand women have their own things — like ageing and what it is to be truly loved by someone (I’m not even gonna say by a man because it could be by anybody). I felt it when I was going through school. That feeling of wanting to be accepted but also you’re chasing something else. I don't think a lot of people stand still and just accept, this is where I am, this is who I am. I think that does more for your progression. Everyone moves at a hundred miles per hour, bro. And like I said that song can apply to men, women, they/them, anybody. It's a universal message.
What does your girlfriend think of the project?
She loves it.
So many of your songs you are speaking to her, it feels conversational almost, how does she feel about that?
Before I established I was gonna drop this as a project, she used to get annoyed at me because I wasn’t sending her music. So when she heard the first track, she called me, it was like twelve at night and she said, 'I can’t lie this might be one of my favourite songs you’ve done.’ She was head over heels for that song. I could tell that it hit her right, the right part of her. One thing music taught me is that I have to wind my neck in. Even listening to old stuff I’m like that sh*t’s not me anymore. I personally feel like I got so much growth seeing what the real world is like. My girl was someone who was there whilst I’m having all these thoughts. She was that comfortable space I could go and speak to about all this stuff and vice versa, man. She’s a white girl and I’m black so we’re already tackling our own things.
You said that it was gonna be your last release for a while, what's that about?
Bro, I said to myself this year I’m going to put out as much of the shit I f**k with the most and let it be, innit. I said this from the jump — I was like there’s gonna be a time where I venture into doing other stuff, I don't want just music. I got other stuff I’m tryna do.
What other ventures do you want to undertake?
I want to eventually dive into film. I’m not tryna act or anything like that but I'm trying to screen write. I’m trying to do treatments for music videos for other people. I want to do something with the technical side of events, festivals and the whole set up of stage design. A lot of people go into music thinking, right, I need to invest everything into this. I’ve invested a lot of time into it and I have no regrets doing it…but like there’s only so much I can give through music. Especially when you’re an artist in today's day you can sing about this, sing about that but there’s only so much I got on my mind to say. I’ve come to a point where I can keep hopping in the booth and keep saying the same shit over and over again, but I’m someone that likes progression and growth. I ain't saying I'm never dropping music again. But I want to take time away to come at it from a different angle at least. Music's cool but I want to be writing about real life to reshape the way people are thinking. Too many people are stagnant. I've seen it in my own friends, I wanna be on something else. But people aren’t willing to go search for that, innit. There’s so many things we are capable of doing. We’re swamped with so many priorities. But it's about figuring out which ones are worth it or not. I'm not cutting my ties with music but I feel I have other stuff I'm trying to put my time or thoughts into.
And to finish, is there anything you want me to ask you?
I was gonna say where would I see myself in ten years but I can’t see myself anywhere in ten years, I can’t lie.
Try in a year.
Where do I see myself in a year? I want to live in another country. I want to be free financially. Enough to move around without having to be bound to clocking in and clocking out. I hopefully want a kid. I’ll be honest with you, I want a f***king family. One of the guys I work with, he’s got a two-year-old and he’s so f**king jokes man, so cute. All the people I work with have kids and it makes me want to have one. That's where I wanna be in a year.
Photos @poppywarren & @evexmorris