Malena Muyala is a musical treat like no other: she's talented in both singing and song writing, she's beautiful and dresses fashionably. She's also quite the articulate and eloquent talker.
Recently, Campus Circle conducted a phone interview with the tango, waltzes and milongas interpreter, who was in her native Uruguay.
Campus Circle: How did you discover your passion for music?
Malena Muyala: That’s a question that doesn't really have a definitive answer. I’ve thought about that many times, and it actually takes me back to my childhood and things I remember from growing up. I remember that I would always be singing and not only that, but the support that my family would give me basically since I was 3 years old. I’ve asked my father if he remembers anything in particular where I decided that this is what I loved and that this was what I wanted to do, and he also cannot remember. It was something very natural, almost as if it was something I was born with.
I remember when I was little, I would always sing along to whatever came on the radio or the TV. When I was older, I began to make certain decisions based on that love for music, and that’s when I started playing guitar and taking singing lessons. And based on those experiences, I began to form groups when I was around 12-13 years old. When I was 18, I moved to the capital of Uruguay to study medicine, but I also joined an acting troupe and also sang. I could go on about different life experiences that led me to this career, and you would see that it wasn’t something concrete. It was life that steered me in that direction.
CC: What can you tell us about your musical influences?
MM: It all starts from when I was very young, with memories of my father and listening to Mercedes Sosa and Alfredo Zitarrosa, listening to classical music with my old man, listening to (Ástor Pantaleón) Piazzolla and all things tango – also, lots of Frank Sinatra. I could go on and on. I grew up in a house with very varied musical tastes. Also, there is a difference of about 12-13 years between my parents, so my mom would listen to the Beatles while my dad would listen to tango. So, all that created a mix of musical influences, which led me to form my own musical interpretation.
CC: Where do you obtain your inspiration when writing your music?
MM: Looking back at all my compositions, a common ground they all share comes from my attentiveness to the world around me and what's happening and how those things affect my life and me. They’re all personal; we are our own filter of our life experiences, and we decide how to interpret them, and they come from all sorts of places: one of those being, unfortunately, the military dictatorships that Uruguay and other Latin American countries have experienced. There's also a song that was dedicated to my grandmother. But most of the time, my songs are based on a feeling, something more profound – like what it means to be alive or what life experiences really mean and how they are affecting me and those around me.
CC: What’s in your agenda for the next few months?
MM: We have a very interesting tour coming up through Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. In Uruguay, we’re talking about a country of 3 million people – a million and a half of which live in the capital, and the rest are scattered around the country. Therefore, in the tour we’ll be going out to those places as well. Also, I’ll be working on my next album. So this coming year will be very engaging, and there’s lots of planning and participating involved. Hopefully, things will go our way, and we’ll end up with an album that we like and gets us excited.
CC: Let’s talk about social media. How important is it for you to be engaged with your fans through these networks?
MM: Well yes, it’s a technology that’s evolving every day worldwide, and I think it’s fantastic. I try to keep my interactions with and use of social media to just aspects related to my music, but that’s a bit difficult, because through social media, you are also portraying yourself as a person. I also try to engage in discussions with my fans about current events, etc. But all in all, I think [social media] is wonderful. Back in the day, most artists were unreachable. Nowadays, things are different, and you can actually interact with these artists. Sometimes people doubt whether or not it really is the artists that is responding to them, but I try to personally respond to as many people as I can. I feel this is very valuable, not only for the fan, but for the artist as well to know that your messages are being received and replied to with affection.
CC: What advise can you give to the youth who might want to follow in your footsteps in the industry?
MM: To be very patient and to never distance yourself from the concept of enjoying your music. Oftentimes, you become involved in other aspects of the industry such as producing, etc., and you forget to have fun. Also, your fans can definitely perceive whether or not you’re having fun performing, and that transcends. It makes your show grow tremendously, and you can’t ever lose that. It provides a center of equilibrium that you must always have.
Also, you can never let adversity break you; there will always be blocks on the road that delays you from getting to where you know you want to go, and I feel that always enjoying what you do will always help you move forward.
CC: As an artist, what brings you joy?
MM: I love seeing people’s faces when we perform a live show. I enjoy live performances in general. First and foremost, you’re a human being just like they are, and whenever you see emotion of any kind on the face of one of your fans, it stirs emotions in you as well. It brings excitement for being alive.
For more information on Malena Muyala, visit malenamuyala.com.