BY TOM LAVENTURE
AAP staff writer
Los Angeles (July 18, 2013) — Born Jessica Allison Megan Fried in 1986, the mixed Filipina and European “Jessie Malay” was raised in Los Angeles. She describes the city as a confluence of music and dance influences.
She is not from a performance family exactly, but she said her grandmother was an operatic performer and her grandfather was considered a child prodigy pianist who performed at Carnage Hall. She said her parents are arts patrons and would take her to museums, plays and concerts from a very young age.
“I was encouraged to pursue the arts as a child, from playing piano to taking dance lessons,” Malay said.
Malay was taking dance lessons at age 2 and was singing in public by age 8. She joined a professional performing group and toured Disney World, The Big Red Boat, and the Bahamas.
“Music and dance was just really always engrained in me and has always been a huge part of my life,” she added. “I identify with it and I just have to continue with it because it is who I am.”
Malay was fronting as a singer for the Jive Records band “No Secrets” while still a teenager. She went on to work with artists such as Young Joc, Lil Scrappy and Trey Songz.
She signed with Warner Bros Records as a solo artist and still found time to earn a degree in world arts and culture. Malay said her years at UCLA enriched her with dance and music from all around the world.
The Samba undertones in her songs reflect her love of music and dancing from Brazil. As a dance based artist she blends her passions with the electro-dance pop she enjoys so much.
“I have been trying to incorporate some of those rhythms into my music to just give it a kind of flair and that influences the choreography too,” she said. “Yeah, that is the new sound.”
In the future Malay said she would like to do a song collaboration with Robin Thicke. She is also enjoying a connection to the Filipino American community with appearances on national Filipino satellite channels and the Lifestyle Network.
After college and just 22 years old, Malay established her own label and production company “Coalition Group.” She said the work brings creative inspiration daily while supporting artists, musicians and fashion designers through her company.
As an independent artist she said the process of completing a project is different from the major labels that had total creative control over the music, recording or touring, she said. Doing all the work is difficult but the “organic” production of selling music online and at concerts is interesting and rewarding, she said.
“This time around everything is completely different and I have complete creative control,” Malay said. “In terms of releasing music it is so easy to build from the ground up now.”
Music from the heart, and Malay said right now it should reflect the excitement of life in her 20s. It needs to be about having fun and being with friends. Its about love, and getting ready to go out dancing, or even a girls trip, she said.
“That’s the kind of music I wanted to make, the kind of music that reflects where I am at still at with my life right now,” she said.
As a performer Malay said she needs the live performances and looks forward to touring. In addition to L.A. club, Malay will soon be touring San Diego, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., New York City and Baltimore.
“Those live shows are very useful and very important because at the end of the day I am a performing artist and people need to connect,” she said.
Malay is popular in the gay community and said they are really supportive of her music. When asked why she was so popular and gets invited to perform a Pride events and gay clubs, she said her music identifies with the fun loving West Hollywood scene.
“My songs are a lot about fashion, love and lust,” she said. “The subjects the community relates to and wants to dance to.”
Malay was a member of the Jive Records girl group “No Secrets”, when their hit song “That’s What Girls Do” was featured in the 2002 Rob Schneider film “Hot Chick.”
Another Malay song is being considered for a scene in the Robert De Niro comedy “Last Vegas”, due out in November. The film also stars Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline and Mary Steenburgen as senior citizens who go on a Las Vegas adventure.
The film is using a club remix of her new hit “Bougie”, that is supposed to be used for a dance club scene in the movie. It can only be good exposure for her music and what better way than people dancing to it in a club, she said.
Malay’s new song “Bougie” is already a club favorite and enjoying airplay on SiriusXM’s 20 On 20. The song idea came from an exchange with a friend while shopping.
“My best friend and I were getting ready for New York Fashion Week and we were in to the whole process and I was switching my things from my Michael Kors bag to my Bougie bag,” Malay said. “She made up a little jingle about it and it was a little joke at first, but then we realized ‘hey, that could be a catchy song’, and that is how Bougie came about.”
The release of the Bouji video will lead to a single release, followed by an EP in August and a full-length debut solo album by the end of the year. Find the music through Malay.com, her social networks and on iTunes.
Aside from touring the club circuit, Malay is promoting her new fashion blog “My White Tee” at mywhitee.com. She is also on all the social media sites and said she interacts with people regularly.
“I love to interact and love to talk to fans and new people,” she said. “Come text me.”