Gerry Casey Interviews Malaya Blue!
For her third full-length studio album, UK contemporary blues singer/songwriter Malaya Blue collaborated with three-time Grammy winner Dennis Walker to co-write and produce the simply titled, “Still.” The pair brought together some of the finest musicians from the UK music scene including guitarist Nat Martin, keyboard wiz Stevie Watts, exceptional drummer Mike Horne and bass player Eddie Masters to the acclaimed Ashwood Studios in Norwich, run by master engineer Sotos Yiasimi. The sessions resulted in a dozen new tracks assembled on the album old school style as the “still side” and the “blue side.” A package designed to satisfy her legion of blues fans as well as music lovers into R&B and Neo-Soul.
Malaya burst onto the live circuit in 2015 following the release of her critically acclaimed debut album “Bourbon Street.” Introducing her intoxicating stage presence to blues audiences at The Great Rock & Blues Festival that year, a plethora of bookings followed including iconic venues such as The Jazz Cafe, The 100 Club, New Crawdaddy Club and The Bulls Head, Barnes and festivals Birmingham International and Colne.
Along the way the British Blues Association nominated Malaya for awards in no less than four categories including Best Female Vocalist, Best Track (Bitter Moon), Best Album and Emerging Artist, an unprecedented feat for a new, previously unknown artist. In addition, she was one of four acts invited by the UK Blues Federation to take part in the UK Blues Challenge Final.
Early 2016 found Malaya in the studio and the resulting album “Heartsick,” that included a guest appearance from Paul Jones, received even higher praise than the debut and introduced the Malaya Blue phenomenon to a wider audience with continued airplay on Radio 2, all of the UK independent blues broadcasters and at respected stations across USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan. South America and most of Europe. National and International print and online media were generous in their praise too.
Having continued to wow audiences throughout the year at venues and festivals up and down the country Malaya recorded and released a digital single in 2017, a cover of The Box Tops original, ‘The Letter,’ coupled with a new song ‘(I’ve Reached) The Corner.’ As with the previous releases this was well received within the blues community but also gained radio plays on rock, soul, and mainstream based stations.
Malaya stepped back from live performing in 2018 to focus on writing, learning more about her song-writing craft from Dennis Walker, and to complete her studies. With the support and expertise of Blue Heart Records the fruits of those labors are now ready to be released and enjoyed by even more music lovers.