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Verve People
January 14, 2018

The Fresh List 2018: Maalavika Manoj

Text by Zaral Shah

Known for her soulful and honest music, Maalavika Manoj’s talent is gathering much applause from all around

When A. R. Rahman tells you that you are talented, you know you’re on the right track. Maalavika Manoj, known by her stage name Mali, quit her job to pursue music full-time — and it’s been an upward climb for the folk and country singer and songwriter ever since. For this Chennai-based artiste it proved to be a rewarding change — her debut EP Rush earned itself a spot on the playlists of many.

You, in three words: adventurous, resourceful and balanced.

Your achievements include…finding out my music helped someone else, keeping a plant alive for more than six months, travelling alone and loving it, and jumping off an airplane!

First tryst with singing…happened in school during assembly. I didn’t think much of it then and at that time wanted to be either a forensic scientist or journalist.

On your bucket list is…a desire to travel to ­— and tour — every continent in the world, become a certified diver and adopt a pet.

2017’s best musical offerings were…Funeral by Phoebe Bridgers, Maybe We’re Not Enough by Tejas and Dog Years by Maggie Rogers.

An era of music you cherish is…possibly from the ’70s to the mid to late ’90s.

Passions outside of your work include…food, travel and animal welfare.

The stage name Mali…has always been my nickname, and so I decided to go with it.

On your playlist currently are…Courtney Barnett, Emily King and Phoebe Bridgers.

If you could have any job for a day, you would…be a pet-sitter, or a crossword-maker for a newspaper.

Your musical weapons of choice are…the piano and the guitar. But I feel I can do a lot more with the piano since I’ve played it for longer.

Your Favourite travel destinations are…Santorini, New York and Kerala.

The year that was: it was the year of self-realisation, going back to the drawing board and getting myself ready to take things to the next level.

In 2018…I want to put myself out there more and release more content. I’m also excited to see how the year unfolds, as no matter how much I plan, I’m confident that it will throw some interesting surprises my way.

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