Maleh’s year has been consumed with studio time. She’s been working hard on new music and will soon be able to enjoy the fruits of her labour through her recently completed third studio album, Golden Rain.
“I’ve been letting the creative juices flow. I’m really excited about it and, with the album out on iTunes soon, I’m a little anxious.
“It’s always something to share your work with people after a long time and with (this being) the third album, there’s different expectations of what it’s going to sound like.”
She’s become a mother and got married over the last few years, and that’s added a different dynamic to her musical process.
Whereas she’d previously be writing and composing during the day, a lot of her pre-recording has been done in the evening while her young family was sleeping.
But one thing that hasn’t changed is the theme of her music.
“The theme once again with this album is love. I think I’m going deeper into love and just exploring it a lot more. It’s completely a love album.”
Her perspective has also shifted significantly, and this shift is something that will resonate through the content of Golden Rain.
“When you’re looking at relationships, I think you get to a point where you experience different phases and different dimensions of the experience of love.
“I think, more than anything, I’m looking more at the angle of a relationship between you and someone that you’re walking this path of life with,” she says.
“Also, I believe I’ve gone through kind of a spiritual awakening personally, which the track Golden Rain shows. It just speaks to my personal experience with my Maker, my purpose in life and experiencing His love in terms of my walk with Him.”
Maleh’s music is getting deeper and more personal. She’s also expressing the joy of life that she’s feeling.
The single Golden Rain is bouncy and soulful. I ask her if this is the overall sound that’ll be resonating throughout the album.
“It’s a dance album and we’re dancing to the ups and downs of love, and that’s just my experience of being married, having the honeymoon phase and then understanding that love is about being patient and understanding.
“You go through the rough patches as well, but going through them and getting past them is what makes it all worthwhile.
“We’ve kind of played with more of an afro beat kind of perspective. I think it’s more up-tempo than the previous album.
Maleh. Picture: Instagram
“I’ve been celebrating different dynamics of who I am, so I like to say it’s a dance album because, in comparison, it isn’t as laid-back as my previous work.”
Maleh’s music has been categorised under several genres over the years. She finds it challenging to say what genre this album falls into.
“If I squeeze in the word soul between afro beat with this album it would be an afro-soul-beat album. I don’t know if I’m allowed to do that,” she laughs.
“I’ve become aware of the markets that we’ve been able to penetrate because with the last album, particularly with the song You Make My Heart Go, it kind of opened a lot of doors internationally.
“I got a lot of interest from Europe and I think that opened my mind and made me realise that music doesn’t have any boundaries.”
This made her aware that she needed to make music not just for the South African market, but abroad in places like Burkina Faso, which is one of the countries where her music has been downloaded the most.
On September 29, Maleh will be performing at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, where she’ll be playing some of her new music.
“For me that’s very exciting because working at the Joy of Jazz behind the scenes as a production co-ordinator several years back - I think it must have been 2008 - was one of the first jobs that I held as a young person.”
It was after that edition of the Joy of Jazz that she decided to pursue her career as a solo artist.
“I really feel amazing that now, 10 years later, I’ve got the opportunity to perform on the very same stage that I did a lot of behind the scenes work for.
“So that’s an exciting platform for me. I’ll be sharing a stage with Musiq Soulchild and I think he’ll be performing before I go on, and that’s really wicked.”