A Georgia girl who can magically join a smooth and soulful blues voice with the harnessed power of rock n’ roll, Michelle Malone creates an electric musical energy that makes you want to move.
Residing in Georgia, Michelle boasts 15 albums across her career that began in 1989, with her latest album, Slings & Arrows, debuting in March 2018. This Southern but fierce and authentic singer, songwriter and guitarist displays a musical range from mellow to thunderous and delights a diverse worldwide audience. We decided to dig in and find out a little more about this guitar slinging powerhouse of an artist.
Where in Georgia are you from?
Born and raised in the ATL! My dad’s people have been in Georgia since the 1700’s, so it’s in my blood. I love the trees, the dirt, the people….it’s home! I moved away for a few years, but was pulled back…probably by my DNA!
What drew you to the music industry and who inspires you vocally?
Music is the family business. My earliest memories are watching my mom and grandmother sing in a choir or on a stage at some venue. My mom, brother, sister, and stepdad have all appeared with me on stage, and my mom has appeared on a few of my records throughout my career. We enjoy singing together, she’s always been a big influence on my singing. It amazes me sometimes how hard it is to tell our voices apart. I was raised on her record collection which was everything from Mozart to Miles Davis to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, so I’d have to say she is my biggest influence. I used to go with her to her voice lessons and play under the big grand piano while she sang Bach. It sounded so nonsensical to me at the time but I can sing it to you today!
Who were you the most excited to collaborate with?
I’ve performed with many notable artists from Shawn Mullins to the Indigo Girls, John Mayer to Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles of SugarLand, but my favorite performance was a duet with Gregg Allman on an Otis Redding tune at Atlanta Symphony Hall.
Tell me about your latest album Slings and Arrows?
My latest album Slings and Arrows is upbeat, defiant and jubilant. It is flush with the raw energy, emotion and slide guitar that’s always been part of my signature sound, all while forging deeper into personal new territory. These songs speak to desire and disappointment, optimism and awareness, all with a driving and fiery conviction. It was recorded live in the studio to capture what I do best. It’s a “Georgia Record,” due to the fact that the musicians, studios, and even those responsible for the visual art are all Georgians. I take a lot of pride in Georgia and the importance that Georgia music has played not only in my music but American music in general. Georgians such as Little Richard, James Brown and Ray Charles all laid the groundwork. Without them, we would have never had Elvis, The Beatles, the Stones…there would be no rock and roll. Who knows what my music would sound like without those people! I made a conscious effort to capture some of these Georgia roots on this record.
Are there any hidden meanings in any of the music on Slings and Arrows?
Part of the focus was to make a conscious effort to heal the divide we’ve all experienced in recent years. Music is something that we all have in common. I want to use what power I have for good. I feel it’s part of my job as a musician and songwriter to relieve folks of their daily stress and drama instead of adding to it. I like to empower people and spread joy and positive energy, it makes everyone feel better including me! We don’t need any more stress or negativity.
What has been one of your favorite performance venues?
I play at any and all music venues from churches to bars, to headlining or opening for other artists. I’ve actually performed at Turner Field with 50,000 people one day and then to two people at a private house concert in an apartment the next day! It’s about the people in the audience, not the venue or me. If the audience is fun and energetic, then the show is that much better!
What is your favorite thing about this line of work?
I love to sing, play guitar and generally inspire people and remind them of their inner strength. I’m so fortunate to make my living as a performer for my entire adult life. It brings me joy and peace of mind. It’s like therapy for me!
You have some pretty neat merchandise. What are some of the coolest pieces of merchandise you have offered your fans?
Folks seem to like my patron saint candles and my Just Getting Started coffee.
What are three words you would use to describe yourself?
Persistent, Authentic, Sincere
Visit michellemalone.com for more info on Michelle and for upcoming shows.