Australian singer and songwriter, Mali-Koa Hood, has uploaded and graced our ears with a variety of originals and covers over the years. Describing herself during an interview with Surveillance Party as an artist who has the potential to fit in anywhere in the music industry through having a sound that is “anywhere from acoustic pop stuff to dance tracks” but always having an “element of R&B and soul”, we here at CelebMix think she is bound to be liked by everyone. More importantly, we think that talent such as hers always and repeatedly needs to be shared. So if you’ve never been fortunate to give the 24 year old’s music a listen, who happens to be sister to 5 Seconds of Summer’s Calum Hood, then we suggest you begin with these – because you’re likely to fall in love with her instantly if you do! And even if you have been blessed with hearing them before, then you’re well aware that they deserve further attention.
Mali-Koa’s cover of Sara Bareilles’ song is absolutely breath-taking. The singer-piano only combination works well to expose the soft, unique timbre of her voice. Every note is approached so gently and with such ease, and yet sound so clear, controlled and powerful regardless – it is spine tingling to hear and is likely to cause goosebumps to form on your skin. Not only that, but capturing the emotion of the lyrics is a skill the Aussie beauty definitely possesses, and is shown throughout this piece by her emotive tones and facial expressions. Honestly, there are barely any words in any human language to justify or express the pure talent that the 24 year old clearly has and demonstrates during this four minute cover – which involves her simply sitting in front of a camera and mic, headphones in ears singing along to the piano backing. It is stunning to witness such effortless skill. Seriously, watch the video and you’ll see!
I Used to Follow
This piece in particular is actually an original and currently only shared in its demo format. Mali-Koa describes the track as having been recorded “roughly”, that it’s “nothing fancy” and yet the final product uploaded suggests otherwise – as the high and clean-cut quality makes it sound polished enough to be ready to be included on an EP. The song opens with a sweet guitar intro, before softly sung vocals enter in a simple two-part harmony only five notes apart (beginning with A for the melody part and D for the harmony, if you’re interested in knowing that sort of thing). This opening vocal line uses a descending melodic phrase and is perfect in setting the general emotion of the piece – the sorrowful questioning of a person that is clearly hurting and feeling down. Yet, the two-part vocals are quickly moved away from by ending with a three-part harmony on the word “go” as though for emphasis of the questioned lyric; this begins the continuation of using these layered harmonies throughout.
Although it only features what Mali refers to as “just guitar” and “basic layered vocals”, it is the simplicity that we feel makes it so effortlessly beautiful and displays Hood’s incredible writing talent and gentle vocal quality well. Nevertheless, from the sounds of it, the recording uses a slight reverb effect, causing barely-there echoes of delicate harmonies and eliciting a feeling of travelling in the back of a car, looking out of the window on the rainiest of days. For those who are fans of music by artists like Jessie Ware and Lucy Rose, you will most definitely appreciate this song due to its chilled, relaxed vibe and soft approach to an indie-pop style. Check it out below to see for yourself!
Paint Me Black
Mali-Koa features in this single by Ben Hazlewood, which was released early this year and is available for purchase on the likes of Amazon and iTunes. For this song, Mali-Koa’s voice enters the octave above Ben’s, before they separate into beautifully simplistic two-part harmony. The gentle whisper-esque qualities of Mali-Koa’s vocals in this song are honestly so captivating and soothing, and they really complement the rocky-edge of Ben’s tone. Demonstrating her range perfectly, the bridge and outro enable Mali to show off her ability to sing at a lower register, proving that she’s not just blessed with being able to sing those sweet higher notes. And despite the general soothing nature of her voice, Mali-Koa’s contribution to this song is also incredibly passionate and powerful – perfect for this ballad styled piece that discusses overcoming challenges, learning from things and being triumphant.
The video is a wonderful fit for its meaning and like the single itself, is beautiful. Using shots of Ben in all black, as though about ready to be engulfed by the challenges that the darkened background possibly represents, before Mali comes out of the shadows like a beacon of hope dressed elegantly in white as if to portray the ability to overcome issues and be victorious – to find the light in the dark. Click play below to see for yourself.
We recommend you click here to give the live solo version of this song a listen to as well because her haunting and stunning vocals layered above the piano accompaniment are so sensational and expressive.
There’s a slight chilled and smooth R&B feel to her version of this Bastille song, probably stemming from blending gospel elements within the piano part and jazzy twists to the percussion lines. The bridge includes a mashup of Florence and the Machine’s song ‘Cosmic Love’ and gives it that fun touch. The little trills sung to end phrasing are just divine and again show that vocal ability the elder Hood sibling has. Click here to give it a listen.
As she notes in the video we’ve included below, this is one of Mali’s favourite songs she’s ever done. And we can see why, because the lyrics are sweet and beautifully written. Particularly, the line “like a candle that burns brightly but in darkness isn’t likely to be seen by anyone who needs the familiar glow” deserves an honourable mention for standing out in amongst a collection of already wonderful lyrics. There’s a gravelly though ethereal rawness to her vocals during this ballad, which is likely influenced by her history of being in gospel choirs and her usual R&B vibe. And this is yet another song in which the singer shows her skill of using vocal trills, brief runs as well as her range – especially that stunning move up the octave around 2:28 in the video below.
Evidently, the London based musician is oozing with talent and possesses a well controlled vocal skill. And what makes her more impressive is that she seems so down to earth, charming, creative and intelligent. She is definitely one to watch.