Irish hip-hop star Malaki has spoken about the importance of live music ahead of a busy summer of concerts.
The Dublin native is currently gearing up to perform at a host of Irish music festivals as he looks to tap into the hype surrounding him.
Addressed exclusively to Extra.ie ahead of Otherside Music & Arts Festival, Malaki recalled how he went from being scared of concerts to becoming a fixture at every festival.
“When I started this journey, that side scared me, to be honest. Standing in a comfortable room to make a song is one thing. The fate that lingers when every artist performs their first show is incredibly nerve-wracking.
“At the end of the day, when you do your first show, you’re greeted with nothing but love, energy and respect. Once you figure that out, it becomes addictive. For me it was. I’ve always had a strong personality that is really close to my heart on stage, I like to have fun and interact with the public.
‘How I gained most of my fans is by giving it my all at every gig. Whether it’s a support slot with 20 people in the room or if there are 500 people with me in the Academy. You don’t know who will be in the crowd or the tent, every gig is huge,” he said.
Pointing to shows where artists “take a break to engage with the audience,” Malaki doesn’t want those in attendance to feel like they could “listen to it at home with headphones.”
“Not being able to do shows was really heartbreaking, the fact that we’re able to do them now is amazing. The fans are going to get into it, I’m delighted to meet them all at festivals.
“The summer festivals this year are really important. It’s the only opportunity we have to really hook other people who aren’t fans yet. That’s why the performance has to be the best it can be on every live show,” he said.
22nd of July
— Otherside Festival (@Otherside_Fest) March 3, 2022
A constant struggle for Irish musicians is trying to make radio play in a world where the same five songs are on repeat. In Malaki’s eyes, getting airtime is essential for Irish artists to survive.
He explained, “For artists like me, we’re considered underground and a lot of us have part-time or college jobs. It’s so important that people play us on the radio, watch us on TV and buy our products.
“Even small things like sharing a message go so far for us. As an artist, it’s important that radio stations stop playing the songs we hear every day on repeat and give Irish artists a chance.
A big part of Malaki’s appeal is that he’s not afraid to talk about his mental health issues through his music. Sometimes the pressure to be open can be hard on him.
“It’s only recently that I’ve felt the pressure, it’s the pressure you feel when you don’t feel good yourself. The time I posted the ‘Prophecies’ article was a really dark time in my past, but I was speaking through memory and it was out of my mind.
“I feel pressure to speak and write about mental health when I’m going through a tough time. If I feel good about myself, I can talk openly and I don’t care what people think of me or how people take it.
“Music has saved my life more times than I can count. In the end, if people listen to it and find comfort, that’s a bonus for me. I write a lot of it for myself and to get my thoughts on the page. People just happen to relate to it,” he said.
Despite her busy schedule, Malaki still works in a hospital as an orderly and would like to continue doing so as her career progresses.
“I wasn’t on COVID wards but I was working in hospitals and still am today. I love taking care of people and talking to people. I’m a people person and it’s a bonus that it’s part of my job.
“I stopped working for about 9 months. The pandemic came, I ran out of money and after I thought I had made it, I needed something to get me out of bed. No matter what what’s going on, I see myself either volunteering in this hospital or doing something during the day that isn’t music, I need something that surrounds me with people,” he said. he admitted.
Malaki will perform at the Otherside Music & Arts Festival taking place July 8-10 at the beautiful Rock Farm site, located in the shadow of the famous Slane Castle.
To find out more about the festival and how to get ticketsbe sure to check out their website.