Interview by Quentin Fears
Malene Younglao born in Trinidad and Tobago raised in Brooklyn talks to us about her love for Jazz, Keith Haring, and what it takes to make it in a male dominated Rap/Hip-Hop Industry. Younglao with her new single, Miss America, and a video featuring Shanell will certainly fill a void within the music industry combining her multi-cultural background being Chinese and Trinidadian with her love for Soca, Jazz, Hip-Hop and Alternative/Rock. Malene Younglao is definitely one to watch.
So you were a Jazz Major in college?
I was a jazz major. Jazz is the first American music from the belly of New Orleans. I love Jazz. I have always felt like I was born in the wrong era. Billy Holiday and I share the same birthday. I have always had this strange draw to her, because she is me. I totally she aspects of myself in Billy. I see myself in the self-destructive aspects, her genius, her ability to put a record across to make everyone feel it. Jazz is my first love, because they were hard women. They were hard drinking, hard loving in the clubs in an era when it wasn't acceptable like Sarah Vaughan, Billy Holiday, Shug Avery that character in the Color Purple. I am that women. I think those types of women need to be celebrated. We are those women who make the world go round. I am fabulous and amazing. Jazz/Blues is that true grit. It's real, no gloss. It's the essence of everything I do. I like gritty. I like honesty, and Jazz is the truth. That is what inspired me to be a Jazz major.
What is on your playlist?
On my playlist now? Let me look at my Iphone. Wow, I have a message from my lover. Wait, ooh saucy! Right now I have Kid Cudi, 112, Prince, Kings of Leon, I Want to Sex You Up by Color me Bad, Al Green, Fly like a G6, JP Harvey, Corinne Bailey Rae, Trey Songs, Drake. It's really poppin over here!
What do you think about celebrity?
We are living in a time when anyone can be a celebrity. You can be a celebrity for doing nothing at all. You can be a talentless celebrity, but I do think if you are going to be known for doing something then do something. Even Marilyn Monroe could sing and act a little bit. Anna Nicole was a model. You know do something, just something, but to each his own. We all play our part in the great scheme of things. If it's meant for you to be here doing nothing then I guess? Doing nothing really is not for me.
I see you have a lot of tattoos. What are they?
I have a Keith Haring tattoo. I have a sparrow so I can always know my way home, where the hell I'm going back to. This a cover up of a tattoo that I had when I was an apprentice in a tattoo parlor in DC. It was when I was playing around with needles. Don't play around with needles! I have my crisantemos, pianese, my stars, my last name Younglao that all of my brothers have, my little mask, because I'm a warrior, my Keith. Then I'm going to put a Basquiat on top of the Keith Haring, then my Roy Lichtenstein, my three favorites.
What do you think about female artists being considered a bitch for having a voice, being assertive?
I think it's good to be a bitch. This year 2011 I'm going to be a bitch, more assertive. I always say I'm the coolest bitch on the planet. Everything that we have accomplished has been by the sheer force of my will and my dream. Humility will kill you. Last year I think I was coming down with the Kanye Syndrome. Now, I think I totally have it, because when you are great at what you do you shouldn't be apologetic for it. It's true. I put a lot into my craft. I work hard to be able to make music, and you should not apologize to people who don't work as hard as you in any field. I was watching the Nicki Minaj film on MTV.
She was talking a lot about that, Not drinking the Pickle Juice.
Yeah, the next part of it for me, I tell my team. We have two mottoes at Team Younglao, We Are Not Drinking the Prickle Juice and Team Work Makes the Dream Work. Our demands aren't crazy. You don't have to be a bitch in the respect of being ungracious or ungrateful. I think that there is a certain level of grace that needs to come with being in the public eye or in life. But you should never settle for less than what you deserve even in relationships. Although to get what you want there takes a certain level of reciprocity. Reciprocity is real. I am not going to prostrate myself for things. We have worked too hard to get to this point.
Younglao explains it all in her hit single, Miss America!
Interview by Quentin Fears