Beldina Malaika: A Soulful, Hidden Gem

You know me and my Twitter junkie ways. Once I get scrolling and I find a story to capitalize on, chances are I’ll go on this huge retweeting spree with added (inappropriate) commentary or I’ll feel inclined to blog. The latter just so happened to be the choice of tonight’s blog because I’m still surprised as to why not many of us are hip to Beldina Malaika just yet.

I first heard about Beldina when I was watching music videos on **LE GASP!** MTV. They aired this mini 1-minute biography of her, which I, in my drunken splendor, could not understand. All I saw was this woman dancing. Fiercely, might I add. For some reason, I love music videos that just focus on the artist. No hidden storyline going on in the background. Just the artist walking around or a continuous head shot. Case in point: Janelle Monae in Cold War. Christina Aguilera in A Voice Within. Robyn in Call Your Girlfriend. That star-studded collaboration of What’s Going On when 9/11 hit. I figure, okay. This girl looks like she’s having fun. Let’s do it.

I YouTube’d “Here We Go” and hit play.

First few seconds pass. Okay, she lookin’ mad intimidating.

Then at 0:17, POOF! I’m like “OKAAAAAAAY GURL!” All while bouncing up and down and doing my ugly dance face. Think duck face with a subtle hint of underbite.

For once, MTV did not lead me astray with a voice-tampered singer. The song “Here We Go” has this amped up Red-Bull-Vodka-Prepartying-Before-We-Hit-The-Club feel that I felt demanded some sort of autotune. The beat is like some sort of dance track released by Wynter Gordon who I still appreciate to this day. Surprisingly, the voice was soulful, almost completely removed of any robotic alteration. I’m like, hold up. Is this real? I quickly YouTubed for an acoustic version of the song and found that her voice sang true. This girl can actually sing!

SAY WHAT?

Now ya’ll are looking at me like, “Oh c’mon, Neil. Artists these days can’t make it if they don’t at least have a little bit of a singing talent.” That is true; however, I’m surprised that even with the amount of talent Beldina has – which is A LOT MORE than a lot of the artists I’m hearing these days – she’s not getting the American attention she so truly deserves. Try googling ‘Beldina interview’. Do it. Ya’ll can count the American ones on your fingers if you wanted to.

According to MTV Iggy, she’s a Kenyan artist living in Sweden who has opened for Faith Evans and laid vocals down for Stevie Wonder. She’s gone on tour with big Swedish acts and was featured as a hook for Childish Gambino’s Not Going Back.

In an interview done with The Dominoe Effect (big thumbs up to them, by the way. This is probably the only blog I actually learned the most about Beldina), we learned that Beldina has had a passion for music at such a young age, being put into musical training classes in piano, dance, and choir classes by her mother who she credits as her biggest influence. Beldina fans, let’s take a moment and give thanks.

Anyway, I’ve purchased her single What Can I Say, which is a superb testimony to her sound. The intro is already captivating, a very solemn, bass-less tune carried mainly by her vocals. And then when the drums kick in? Jesus, take me higher.

Most recently (as in today) I purchased Coupe Life, the latest song by Young L that Beldina’s featured on – which reminded me of a track by Kavinsky titled Nightcall was featured in the movie Drive with Ryan Gosling.

Here’s to hoping that her album will drop sometime in the near future!

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About neilprotacio

Freelance journalist who just so happens to know what goes well with certain breads.
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