GRAMMY WEEK: Q&A with Grammy Nominee, Carolyn Malachi

Long before the Grammy hype, I first reviewed Carolyn Malachi’s third album, Lions, Fires & Squares on the Couch Sessions in July 2010, shortly after its release. That summer, to solidify Chocolate City’s support of the unwavering singer/songwriter and spoken word artist, we swayed to Malachi’s soultastic anthems of sisterhood (“Dumela”) and fantasized about the great divide between sea and outer space (Grammy-nominated track, “Orion”) at the U Street Music Hall. Now basking in her due accolades in the City of Angels and prepping for her red carpet cameos, the artist chatted with the Couch Sessions between interviews, rehearsals and dress fittings. A budding philanthropist and founder of the Smart Chicks Movement, this DMV celeb is soaring more than “20 feet tall.” In her own words, “Onward and upward.”

You are often asked about your familial roots in music. What about your “chosen family” or your tribe? Who in your immediate circle of friends, mentors and non-blood family truly inspires you?

Tabi Bonney truly inspires me. He consistently pushes the envelope and he approaches the art of storytelling with finesse and grit.

Out of your fellow Grammy nominees, whose sound do you most admire? Do you think that the newly created “urban alternative” category is appropriate for your sound?

I respect the work of each of my fellow nominees and Cee-Lo Green is especially interesting to me. Yes, Urban/Alternative is an appropriate category.

There’s a video teaser for “Orion” circulating, but no music video. When will the video be out and what will it look like?

My team and I are hoping to complete the video for “Orion” in the spring.

Who is your audience? What conversation are you attempting to have with them through your music?

My family (audience) is growing and still the conversations remain intimate and interesting. Each song, each record, is a different conversation.

If tomorrow you became a super-celeb, multi-millionairess, how do you think it’d change you? What would you do with your fame and fortune?

I’m excited about growing into the world-class performing artist and philanthropist I would like to be and am directing all of my resources, current and future, to achieving that.

What is the best thing that happened to you, career-wise or otherwise, in 2010? What knocked you on your ass in 2010?

Receiving the Grammy nomination in 2010 was/is incredible. It validated all of the blood, sweat and tears. Losing my great-grandmother in 2010 was pretty challenging. I have to say that I think of her when I need encouragement, and I get such a rush of positive energy. She was famous for saying “Keep a’ pluggin’ away” and that’s what I’m going to do.

What elements constitute home for you? How have you remained grounded throughout this whole Grammy adventure?

Knowing that I have a big future ahead keeps me humble and focused on the task at hand.

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For more information about Carolyn Malachi and to hear her music, visit