Malavika is a world traveler who has influences from many different parts of the world. Though she’ll admit that her favorites come mostly from the world of R&B (traditional or contemporary). The singer’s fan base in the US, India, Dubai, and other locations are proof of the international appeal which comes from her talent as well as the varied DNA of her music. All of this has created an original sound for the artist, a sound which has earned her the respect of the professional music community. Though she feels eternally connected to her home in Dubai, the path of a musician is to travel. The experiences which this brings exposes both artist and audience to each other and has given listeners across the world the chance to experience her talent. When legendary Indian film composer and music director A.R. Rahman was honored at the Boston Symphony Hall for an audience of over 2600 people, Malavika was asked to appear as a featured performer. The singer speaks three Indian languages: Tamil, Hindi, and Malayalam, all of which are used in films which Rahman composes for. Malavika remarks, “My favorite compositions by him include songs from Vinnaithandi Varuvaya, Slumdog Millionaire, Dil Se, Yuva, Allaipayuthey, Iruvar, and Jeans. His music shaped my musical identity. What I love and admire most is his versatility. There is nothing he can’t do musically. He is always experimenting and trying to outdo himself with each and every song. Despite all his success, he is incredibly humble. He said that he wakes up and listens to a song in a new language, new genre, and listens to a new instrument every day for inspiration. I’ve adopted this template to grow and evolve my taste and creativity as well.”
The concert was covered by news outlets like Buzzfeed, the Huffington Post, Indian Express, Times of India, NDTC, Deccan Chronicle, India Today and the Hindu, as well as streamed live worldwide. The twelve-minute-long “Kun Faya Kun” featured the singer’s versatility and Rahman himself joined her onstage for “Vande Maataram.” The “Kun Faya Kun” performance alone has achieved more than 5.2 million views on YouTube. The nature of modern media insists that this number will undoubtedly increase with the composer’s legions of fans in India as well as Malavika’s admirers.
The massive exposure Malavika received in India as a result of this performance resulted in a spike in her fame in India. She recently completed a promotional tour in India for her debut single “Jackpot” on India’s English radio stations. Live “on air” performances were conducted on stations like Radio One in Mumbai 94.3 (boasting over 350,000 listeners) & Chennai live 104.8FM (with over 100,000 listeners). LA based pop producer Moritz Braun worked with Malavika on “Jackpot”, an audacious girl power anthem with elements of old school funk & soul and modern pop which includes Indian instruments like the Bhapang. The Usher/R Kelly inspired “Voodoo” witnesses Malavika pushing the boundaries of what a woman from a traditional Indian background might say about her own sensuality. True artists are never derivative but always are composed of their influences. Malavika is insistent that for her, the musical and cultural diversity she has experienced are what creates her unique style and compositions. She reveals, “My original music is a blend of R&B, Hip hop, and rhythmic pop. Being exposed to various contrasting worlds and cultures throughout my childhood largely influenced my musical taste. I listen to Indian music in Hindi, Malayalam, and Tamil, Arabic music, and all kinds of western music be it rock, pop, funk or r&b. I want to establish myself first as a rhythmic pop urban artist and then slowly inculcate elements of my own heritage into the music and then my goal is to eventually bring in elements of music from all over the world to into my songs. I get bored very easily so one of my main goals is to try something new with each song I work on to keep it fresh, authentic, and most importantly interesting.” The world is an increasingly smaller place these days and artists like Malavika are the new breed who display the benevolent aspect of this trend.