Artists, fans, label executives, and the like were drunk with excitement as the The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards aired live from Los Angeles on Sunday, February 13, 2011.Magazine caught up with Grammy Nominee Carolyn Malachi from Washington, DC. Carolyn was nominated for Best Urban Alternative Performance for her single “Orion” off the EP Lions, Fires, & Squares. She battled against the talents of Cee Lo Green, Janelle Monae, Bilal & Eric Roberson. Ultimately, Cee Lo Green landed on top for his single “F*ck You” or “The Song Also Known As Forget You”. Although she came up short, Carolyn Malachi still beams over her nomination. Carolyn Malachi has been compared to Erykah Badu, Sarah Vaughn, and Jill Scott. The Washingtonian’s sound is a genre bending fusion of jazz, pop, hip-hop, and R&B. Not familiar with her? Let’s get acquainted.
Magazine: You are the great-granddaughter of legendary DC jazz pianist John Malachi. Please tell us how music has influence over your life?
Carolyn Malachi: As of late, I realize that music has provided me a platform to spread a very important message, “Hard work pays off.” I want people who shed blood, sweat, and tears over their passions to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and there’s another tunnel just around the bend. Enjoy the bright light. Enjoy the deep dark. Savor the entire journey.
: “Orion” has afforded you this nomination. What inspired you to write this intergalactic love song?
Carolyn: At the time I began writing Orion I was very frustrated by miscommunication with a friend. I felt as if I was under water, trying to explain myself to someone in outer space. I created two characters – a mermaid and an astronaut – and scripted their interaction. Thus, Orion was born.
: Describe the journey in which you envision the Lions, Fires, & Squares EP takes its listeners on?
Carolyn: I believe Lions, Fires & Squares escorts listeners on an emotional journey; one that is cathartic and memorable.
: What is your favorite song off the Lions, Fires, & Squares EP?
Carolyn: I love each song on Lions, Fires & Squares equally. Each song is a different conversation and a different aural experience.
: Out of the 542 Grammy nominees this year, over half are independent artists. What advice do you have for other independent artists who wish they were in your shoes?
Carolyn: Plan your work and work your plan. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and who will share their knowledge with you as well as their relationships. Have fun!
: Speaking of fun, who were you most thrilled to meet at the Grammys?
Carolyn: I met Janelle Monae and thanked her for her work. She’s an incredible artist and I am proud to have been nominated with her in the Urban/Alternative category.
: The Red Carpet is a designer’s playground, who did you wear?
Carolyn: A red gown by Jovani Couture.
: What designers closely match your personal style?
Carolyn: Jovani Couture was a great fit for the Grammys carpet as well as the Clive Davis carpet. The gowns fit like a second skin. I love Nina Basmatky’s work for her line Koshie O and Afua Sam of Studio D’Maxsi. Both designers are incredibly talented, from Ghana and are based in the DC area. I dig the work of Dana Greaves, creator of ArtisticAYA.
: Are you currently working on any new projects in the DC area?
Carolyn: I am writing and recording music for my coming full-length CD and am intending to release it this fall.
: For the readers who are not familiar with you as of yet, please describe your music in your own words.
Carolyn: My music is a breath of fresh air. Close your eyes and inhale.
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