Beyond The Music: Malena's Journey as an Indie Folk Artist

Malena wears The Patch Pocket Wide Leg in Dark Denim

Tell us more about who you are and what you do!
I’m a songwriter & indie folk artist now living in L.A. I’m Filipino American & was raised in Michigan with my mom, and Singapore with my dad. I moved around a lot after leaving home, living in Seattle, New York, France and eventually settled here in California with my husband, daughter and husky pup about 8 years ago. 
Malena wears The Patch Pocket Wide Leg in Dark Denim

What led you into music?
I always loved music from an early age & started writing songs in high school when my dad brought a guitar home from a business trip. I was going through all my teenage angst and finally had a place to channel it. I worked a lot of odd jobs and moved to New York when I thought I wanted to be an actress. That notion quickly faded and I realized I wanted to tell my own stories. After a bad breakup I came back to songwriting. It’s always been such a solace and the way I best process my emotions. I found a great community of artists and musicians and started working on my first records. 
What other musicians inspire you?
There are the classics, Leonard Cohen, Dylan, Joni Mitchell and more contemporary artists like Cat Power, Feist, Angel Olsen, Hurray for the Riff Raff. They’re all such great storytellers with powerful, unique voices. A not-so guilty pleasure is also top 40 country, a lot of that Nashville songwriting is so airtight and I like to think I’m melding that tradition of well-structured songs with my more poetic leanings. 
What is your favorite song you've ever written and why?
It changes with each record. I’m really proud of all the songs on my new album, Hellbent & Moonbound, but if I had to choose a favorite I think it’d be “Child Again.” It centers on mortality and reincarnation through the lens of a long ago party in the middle of winter at a Vermont farmhouse with everyone on mushrooms.
Malena wears The Utility Short in Off-White

What advice would you give someone embarking on a career in music?
Really listen to your own inner compass. I think that’s true for life in general. Follow your intuition, you have something valuable to say (we all do) and let go of outside opinions and seeking outside validation (the big label, the reviews, all that) - whatever you create won’t be for everyone, so do what you love and the people and opportunities that align with your path will find you. 
 Malena wears The Throwback Straight
What's coming down the pipeline for you creatively?
I just put out this new album at the end of last year and have been playing lots of shows. I’m slowly starting to write again, the process is very cyclical for me. And I’ve been recording some cover songs with friends which has been the best! Those are coming out later this summer & fall. 
 Malena wears The Throwback Straight

What do you love about your Just Black Denim jeans?
Love how comfy they are, the flattering cuts. I love that they’re made in L.A. and the company, the commitment to sustainability and that JBD is owned and run by a team of amazing women who I’ve really enjoyed getting to know over the past couple years. 

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July 05, 2024