Los Angeles music transplant KiNG MALA is setting off a overflowing box of fireworks of female empowerment to the alternative pop world with her engaging lyrics and memorable soundscapes.
Her latest single, “If I Try To Find You” is a gloomy soulful music journey lathered with plenty of inner angst and exposing high pitched wails breaking open the excruciating past of a failed relationship. KiNG MALA’s high range emits evident courage to remove the rose colored glasses and face the reality of the past.
We interviewed KiNG MALA a.k.a Areli Castro about her new single, the importance of releasing music during the COVID-19 pandemic and practicing self care among other interesting topics
This year brought on drastic changes for everyone when most of the world shut down due to the global pandemic, For Castro, it offered an opportunity to focus on writing music and working on herself, “It’s been okay! Everything going on in the world is pretty heavy but it’s honestly been nice to focus on writing music and give myself more time to focus on the things I like to do.” A lot of people have occupied their unplanned free time with new hobbies such as cooking like Castro who discovered her passion for pasta making during quarantine, “I have gotten really into making pasta throughout quarantine and it’s a very delicious hobby, highly recommended.”
The global pandemic paralyzed the music industry with live shows and promotional events, tours being cancelled indefinitely, Castro realized it was a perfect time to release music during these dark times. “I think this is actually a great time to release music, we don’t know when this will be over and people are listening to music and engaging with the artists they love more than ever.” Castro explains why she choose not to delay the releases: “I have been wanting to release these songs for a while and I didnt want to wait “until the world is normal again” because things will never be the same. We just have to adapt and change with the world.”
Her latest track, “If I Try To Find You,” transports listeners to a lush music oasis of yesterday’s love affair surrounded with a thorny mesmerizing rose garden tempting you to explore the nostalgic path. Castro shared how she and her producer made the haunting track, “My producer and I spent a lot of time on this song perfecting the production and lyrics. We started with a simple chord progression on piano and over time it transformed into this full blown production that feels so huge. We wanted it to feel like a huge emotional release and I think we definitely achieved that.”
The song’s story looks back at a past relationship, recalling vivid memories of toxicity, Castro admits the song’s lyrics were inspired by someone in her past; “I was thinking about someone that I knew in highschool and wondering where they might be now and through that reflection I realized the relationship we had was extremely unhealthy, I was just too young to realize it at the time.”
Quarantine has allowed Castro to be laser focused on the presentation of her music, “I think quarantine has allowed me to take more time with my music and focus on creating a product I’m really proud of.” With live shows being cancelled for the immediate future, music fans ache for a way to connect to their artists. Castro is fully aware of the importance to nurture the connection with her fans; “Yeah, I think live shows are a great way to connect with fans locally but really, engaging with fans online is such an amazing way to reach more people and connect with fans that might not be able to go to shows.”
Mental health has been bombarded with constant grave news updates about the pandemic for endless months, the universal feeling of crippling anxiety has exploded globally. The facade of the perfectly curated lifestyle portrayed on social media has cracked, giving the world the opportunity to connect with each other on a human to human level. Castro finds the newly accepted openness of speaking about personal struggles without judgement inspiring. “I definitely feel more comfortable being open online since quarantine started. People are spending more time trying to genuinely connect online and I find that really inspiring.” Displaying vulnerabilities can be a intimidating thing “It’s still so scary to open yourself up to people on the internet but I’m trying to feel more comfortable day by day.”
The society’s dialogue highlights climate change, social inequality and systematic racism serving as a wake up call to re-exam your footprint in the world. Castro describes the different approaches she has taken to kickstart the conversation with others regarding these social issues, “I feel like it is so important to start these discussions, educate and share the voices of people who have been made silent. I try online and with the people I know in person to foster conversations and take action. It can be overwhelming but every little bit helps. It’s just important to keep listening and learning along the way, and not get caught up in a personal agenda.”
As we end our conversation with the bold singer-songwriter, Castro offers words of encouragement to anyone struggling during these dark times, “I think it’s just important to remember that we are only human and we have the right to not know what to do right now. It’s a freaking worldwide pandemic, like it’s okay to spend all day in your pjs and not be “productive”. Just take time to deal with everything however feels right and remember to be kind to yourself.”
Music is a form of therapy for the songwriter as well as the listener, it gives us sense of a community. With a promise of new music on the horizon, “I’m writing new music, creating exciting content and releasing another single VERY soon!!” KiNG MALA will restore our faith in living life to the fullest with her confidence boosting dreamy pop music.
Photo Credit LPR Agency