In laying out her musical foundations, MALIYA’s playlist offers a trip through the legends of neo-soul, R&B and more.
So far as uncomplicated, addictive pop tunes go, MALIYA’s “Hot Spot” gets pretty much everything right. MALIYA’s vocals, given weight and a sense of triumph by the production of G.RINA, saunter with panache. There’s a slight retro shimmer, a sunken, mobile bassline and a huge groove – in short, pretty much all you’d want from an all-conquering R&B tune.
MALIYA has long touted Hikaru Utada (as well as ‘90s R&B and soul more widely) as a key influence and, indeed, one can view most of her work as being of a certain style of post-Utada Japanese R&B. Employing a versatile array of ballads and grooved pop, often themed around feelings of longing or vague sensuality. MALIYA’s music is all about versatility, polish and, of course, huge hits.
Since the release of her debut EP Addicted in 2016, MALIYA has released two full-length records – ego (2018) and faveur (2021) – and a further three EPs. A remix of ‘Hot Spot’, featuring rapper Shurkn Pap, was released at the end of last year. Following her inclusion with “Hot Spot” on The Glow’s list of the best singles of 2021, she curated a playlist with the theme of ‘songs that have influenced MALIYA’s musical style’.
Amy Winehouse – “In My Bed” (2004)
Amy Winehouse influenced me not only with her music, but also with her voice and all her visuals. It's hard to choose one song, but I remember that I found Amy's jazz and hip hop fresh and intoxicating at the time.
Sade – “Smooth Operator” (1984)
Forever my muse, Sade also influenced many aspects of my visuals, musicianship and outlook.
Alicia Keys – “You Don’t Know My Name” (2003)
Alicia Keys is the singer who has influenced me the most musically in terms of melody lines, lyricism, and style. This song is also very influential for me in terms of songwriting, with the use of sampling.
D’Angelo – “Lady” (1995)
The groove, the feeling of floating, the chorus work – it's bliss. One of the artists that got me hooked on neo-soul.
Keyshia Cole – “Love (Alt. Version)” (2005)
I often cover this at live shows. It’s got a beautiful melody line, and Cole’s singing is soulful – I love the ballads of R&B royalty.
Minnie Riperton “Lovin’ You” (1974)
Everyone knows this song, but it's one of my all-time favourites from when I first started listening to R&B and soul music as a child. The gentle voice and lyrics make it feel like it’s being sung just for you.
Momoe Yamaguchi – “Playback, Part 2” (1978)
My mother used to listen to Momoe Yamaguchi. When I was little, my mother often sang this song at karaoke and I used to listen to it and sing along. Yamaguchi is one of my favourite singers, not only because of her singing ability but also because of her shadowy facial expressions.