Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Malaya Sol, an Artist and Singer, living in Brooklyn, NYC.
Please tell us something about yourself.
My name is Malaya, I’m from the Philppines. And I’m a Musician and Burlesque artist in New York City. The Burlesque side of my artistry is still quite taboo where I come from. Still, I am driven to inspire the younger generation to celebrate their bodies, their identity, and ditch the traditional standards of beauty.
How did you get into it? Please tell us more about your journey.
I am a musician first and foremost. I sing Jazz Standards in various stages and many types of settings, big and small. I'm also a huge fan of vintage art, and Burlesque is part of it. I used to incorporate some Burlesque tricks in my Jazz sets, like taking off gloves, letting the hair down, or de-layering of costume pieces. But it was only in 2018 that I started doing full-on Burlesque Jazz sets by accident! The Burlesque artist that performs with my band had an emergency, and I, being the lead singer and a fan of Burlesque, had to step up to the plate at the last minute. O, what a crazy night! That was my start and I miss it a lot during this global pandemic.
Who are your role models?
There are several, but my top three on my mind at the moment are Stormé DeLarverie, Angela Davis, and my mother!
What inspires you?
The mind and everything that it can conjure up, from fantasies to real-life solutions and endless scenarios. And of course, people who have the courage and great flow to express whatever is in their minds in a manner that adds to my growth and inspiration; great artists, authors, educators, activists, even little children!
Please tell us about your stage name and your passion for this side of your art..
I chose the stage name ‘The Mad.am' to challenge my audience's perception of ‘madness' and to bring awareness to Mental Health matters in our society. My acts always have a story to tell, and mostly along the lines of madness, deception, multiplicity, misunderstood villains from mythologies, and other thought-provoking topics. People call it Neo-Burlesque because it's mostly driven by modern concepts, music, unconventional wardrobe, and all that. Quite different from the light-hearted Classic Burlesque, which I also enjoy very much!
What's your most memorable experience?
Performing for a group of women who suffered abuse is very well understood in my expression. It was a very cathartic event for me to be able to relate to people that have experienced what I have gone through and to demonstrate the healing and ownership of my own body. The slow process of ‘re-possession' of my sensuality, and the ever-progressing liberation that only self-love and self-respect can restore. And it's so fun to share all that with Burlesque! Glitters, fantastic costumes, moving music, and lyrics and all!
Which social media channels work best for promoting your work? What exactly do you do on the social media channel that makes it work for you?
Instagram! I haven't been very good at it, though. But I love the Q&A feature in the Stories that allows me to engage with people in an online setting while also creating fun updates! I'm considering setting up an Only Fans account, but maybe later this year.
What's your greatest fear?
Wow. Injection needle! –And losing someone, I love.
Looking back, what's one thing you wish you understood better before you ever got started?
Social media, and the fact that it's good to showcase online and be ‘engageable'. I was so indulged in performing that I did not pay much attention to it. Oops!
What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
Breathing exercises, journaling, and collaborating. It's an ongoing practice, and I also fail! But these practices make me follow up on my ideas, work through them and show up for myself, and for other artists if I'm collaborating.
What keeps you going when things get tough?
Important and timely question in these crazy times. I’d say it’s the thought that time passes, changes have been rolling forever, crises always come up, beautiful days were had, and I've always adapted! With the company of people I love, and several crying moments. Lol! We can only do our best in the present, to be there for eachother and uplift our loved ones and our community. And it's also okay if tears come to visit sometimes.
Any message for our readers.
I hope to be able to share my art, musings, and thoughts to anyone who may find belongingness in them. I enjoy engaging in conversation threads in forums and social media nowadays! I also accept song requests.