Carolyn Malachi is a GRAMMY-nominated singer, songwriter, and poet. Her latest release, Gold, fuses jazz, hip-hop, blues, and R&B for an unforgettable journey. In January 2013 she launched the #IAM Campaign, which uses tech, commerce, and music to address global access to education. She’s beautiful, gifted, and fly. Read on to learn more about this soul sister.
How did you view natural hair growing up?
I always thought elders, ministers, and musicians had the right to wear natural hair, perhaps by virtue of their age or the mysticism shrouding their chosen vocations. My grandmother wore a low, natural cut, as did my aunt who is a reverend. Bob Marley and Tracey Chapman wore locs. To me, these styles were rare and bold.
How long have you been natural? Did you transition? If so, how?
My dad gave me the green light to cut my hair in 2002. I had just turned 18 and was a senior in high school. I cut off all but an inch of hair. The beautician put a texturizer in my hair, but after growing that out, I discovered my hair’s natural texture.
Then, I rocked the Caesar for 10 years with a short, six-month Afro phase some time in between. The Caesar stayed with me until June of 2012. I decided to start growing my hair into the style I wear now. Some people call it a high-top fade. I like to think of it as a one-directional Afro which grows onward and upward, in the direction of the sun.
What is your hair routine? Do you have particular products you live by?
For maintenance, I see my barber once a week. I swear by olive oil as a moisturizer and coconut oil during the summer. After applying the oil, it’s just a simple Afro pick-brush-finger styling session, then out the door I go.
What inspires you to sing?
Singing is hard work, but way too much fun to shy away from the struggle of good stewardship and craft mastery. The voice, I am told by my elders, was God’s first instrument. I take singing and the gift of song quite seriously. I even carry in my name – Carolyn Malachi – the responsibility to make beautiful, timeless music with a message. Sometimes, I wonder if my parents planned this when they named me, or if they were divinely inspired.
What can we expect from your latest album, Gold?
Expect to love Gold forever. It’s about eliminating self-imposed limitations. The music blends jazz, R&B, pop, world, electronic, and other genres. The lyrics are easy to hear. The songs connect to you. They find a place in your life and stay there. There are songs to wake up to, songs to raise your hand to, songs for leaving your awful nine-to-five, etc. Expect to hear your story told when you hear Gold.
Tell us more about your #IAM Campaign. How can we get involved?
The #IAM Campaign raises class hours for students supported by The School Fund. The organization supplements the cost of secondary education for students in developing countries. Each download of the album generates an hour of class time for those students. To make an impact in global access to education simply download the Gold album by Carolyn Malachi from iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, or another online music sales platform.
Any advice for new naturals?
Always remember why you went natural. Let your hair be an outer reminder of that inward commitment.
Connect with Carolyn on her site, CarolynMalachi.com.
Originally published 11/18/13 on NappyHeadedBlackGirl.com.