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KiNG MALA Shares How Vulnerability, Vibes & Her Inner ‘Villain’ Have Led To Her Success

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KiNG MALA Shares How Vulnerability, Vibes & Her Inner ‘Villain’ Have Led To Her Success

Ahead of her new song, alt-soul artist KiNG MALA shares why she feels like a ‘villain,’ how TikTok helped her discover a new side of her music, and how being vulnerable led to her latest success.

If all goes according to plan, KiNG MALA will conquer the world — perhaps by the end of the year. After all, 2021 has been quite good to the LA alt-soul artist. In the springtime, the rising musical star put out the undeniably groovy, “She Calls Me Daddy,” and as summer was wrapping up, she delivered the sinisterly infectious “mercy.” In a week, on Oct. 28, she will unleash “golden retriever boy,” a song that – judging by previews – might be the thematic lovechild of her previous two songs. “It’s about f-ckboys who pretend to be golden retriever boys,” she says in a preview of the song. This hattrick will cap off a stellar 12-months for KiNG MALA, and she is more than ready for the next level. “I’ve never ever considered walking away,” she tells HollywoodLife. “For me, it’s always like, ‘If I don’t succeed now, I’ll just keep trying until it works.’”

The idea of being a successful musician was always a goal but lacked a certain “realness” – until now. “[Success] definitely feels tangible,” she says. MALA (b. Areli Castro) chatted after the release of “mercy.” That particular song has resonated with her fans, both on TikTok and on streaming services (it has amassed over 1.3 million in the first few months of its release.) When considering what has changed, MALA ponders. “People were responding well, and they liked my music, but something flipped – especially with ‘She Calls Me Daddy.’ Honestly, it was when I decided to be more vulnerable in my music, in my online personality, whatever.” Before the release of “She Calls Me Daddy,” the singer says she did some “soul searching” over what KiNG MALA’s “vibe or aesthetic was, or who I was going to try to be in this project.”

(Jade Sadler)

“When I kind of just decided to just be myself and just do what felt right, that’s when I feel like people started actually connecting to it,” she says. That decision extended beyond her music. “I was talking to someone the other day. And they’re like, ‘Oh, my God, like, you look like you do in that video.’ Like, I know, it’s because this is how I dress every day.” By also opening up, she was able also to resolve the differences between Areli and MALA. “The project has this kind of like, you know, like a ‘badass, no apologies’ vibe. And I was like, ‘Oh, I have to be badass and tough and mysterious.’ But I’m not. I’m super dorky. I love to talk to people. I love to overshare. Like, that’s my vibe.”

“And when I started just being myself with people, I feel like they actually started seeing who I was and what this project really means. And so yeah, I think vulnerability is key. More than anything,” she adds.

Being open and honest with her feelings was never an issue for MALA. She just didn’t know how to do it professionally. “I will tell anyone that I have no secrets. I couldn’t keep a secret, even if I wanted to, probably because I have a big mouth. But I just didn’t know how to translate that into music. And I think a big part of changing that was honestly TikTok.”

“TikTok was the first platform where I felt like I could just be myself and there was no judgment,” she says. As MALA spent more time on the app, she realized that she could just “talk and be myself, and people would connect with it.” When asked what has set TikTok apart, she said that it’s because the platform’s community has a generally healthy relationship with content that is embarrassing, goofy, or in a modern word, cringe. “I almost feel like people have just embraced the cringe on TikTok,” she says.

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“Like, the Internet is cringy, and being on the internet in any way is cringy,” she adds with a smile. MALA notes that Instagram is “aesthetically based” and has developed a culture about cultivating the “visual concept of who you are,” while TikTok? “It’s just like, ‘we’re just being cringy. We’re just doing what we do.’ There’s very much energy of like, ‘don’t try too hard to be anything that you’re not because it’s obvious to people.’ Especially with my generation that grew up on the Internet, we can tell when people are trying too hard.”

“On Instagram, it’s easier to get away with that. Twitter is just a free-for-all. But I think on TikTok specifically, people have just embraced being whoever they are and doing whatever they want and not caring about aesthetic or perfect video quality or anything like that. It’s just about being vulnerable and open with the Internet.”

TikTok is also a good place to try out songs. With “mercy,” MALA had been sharing snippets for a while to see what kind of audience would react to it. “It’s a great peer review or audience test,” she says, “to see what people like or want.” So, she posted a video asking: What playlists would you put ‘Mercy’ on? The answers shocked her. “Everyone was like, ‘it’s a villain song.’ And I did not see that before. Like, I had a totally different perspective of the lyrics and what it meant and what it could mean to people. And the fact that everyone was like,’ this is like hot, villain, God complex.’”

“I went, ‘Oh my god, that’s perfect.’ When I leaned into that, it started connecting” with a broader audience, said MALA. “Once the song came out, I think people were super excited and super supportive. And I was excited about the video. And I feel like it went over – even better than I expected.” Though, MALA did stress that she doesn’t test screen everything. She previewed the “mercy” video but kept most of it under wraps until its release date. “I think it’s a there’s an important balance between sharing stuff before it’s out,” she says, “But also [having] stuff to give once the song is out. The video was the part I saved it. But the song itself, it was kind of like audience test.”

With this audience input, “mercy” transformed from a song about being introspective on traits that are dubbed “negative” — I’ve been getting so tired /  Starting so many fires / I always find a way to burn / Now I’m begging for mercy / From everyone that I’ve wronged,” she sings at the start – to a villain’s anthem. Originally written as a piano ballad, “mercy” was MALA “coming to terms with the negative parts of myself, especially since I’m a person who has dealt with mental illness,” she says. “I’m bipolar, so there’s a lot of ‘what’s me and what’s not me – who is the real me?’ That song was delving into that aspect of myself. “

“And then, even with the video, and with everyone connecting with it the way that they did, it felt like I too, came to the realization that accepting and empowering all the parts of us are so important,” she says. Even watching the video – where her “evil” side torments her “good side” – she finds that “the bad version of me looks more like me than the good.”

“Everything about you makes you who you are,” she says when touching on the core message of “mercy,” “and reveling in the things that like people would consider bad or like allowing your arc to be what it is, even if it is a villain arc. Just letting yourself be who you are and accepting all the parts of yourself. Even if I’m not what society says is good or fair or whatever, I’m still powerful, and I still deserve to be the main character. I still deserve to be who I am.”

Does MALA see herself as a villain? In a sense, she says. “I never want to make anyone feel bad or be mean to people,” she stresses. “I’m very loving, and I think I’m nice to people. But, we do have these parts of ourselves. We can be selfish, and we can be narcissistic. That feels more realistic to the actual human experience. Being the hero and being the good one? That is harder to achieve than just accepting yourself for your flaws and trying to do better anyway. So I think, in a way, I’m a villain.”

“KiNG MALA is also the villain against the cis-hetero patriarchy, as seen in her queer-positive works like “She Calls Me Daddy.” She says that there are “so many things about myself that I would consider anti-norm,” before listing the traits: “I’m queer, I’m super tall, I’m bipolar. I’m like, all these things that are considered villainous kind of traits. And so, I learned a long time ago that I didn’t want to be like anyone else. And I didn’t want to lean into what felt ‘normal’ and what felt, you know, accepted, because I couldn’t do it even if I wanted to and because the only way to survive is just to accept yourself and love yourself for who you are.”

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The discussion of queerness at the villain came in the wake of Lil Nas X’s “Montero” video and the controversy of a gay man accepting his damnation to hell where he could be openly himself (and kill the devil after giving Satan a lap dance.) Mala praised Lil Nas X for taking the role that he and other queer people were given by society and “empowering yourself in the role. “It is absolutely just genius.”

Leaning into the villain role was something MALA learned as a teenager. It was, as she put it, “a survival tactic when I felt totally like an outcast from every group and thing I walked into. ‘Well, if I’m going to be the outcast, I’m going to be the most badass outcast there is.’ I’m going to lean in and be my main character in this story, even if I’m the villain. So, I think part of [“mercy”] is empowering. It’s how we’ve always survived. It’s leaning into our otherness.”

With the promise of new music – “I am working on an album,” she shares – there are plenty more chapters left to write in the KiNG MALA story, and many eager readers are ready to see how this story unfolds.

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#VirgilWasHere Louis Vuitton Artfully Honors Virgil Abloh At Star-Studded Miami Show

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#VirgilWasHere Louis Vuitton Artfully Honors Virgil Abloh At Star-Studded Miami Show

Virgil Abloh was memorialized in Miami Tuesday during a star-studded Louis Vuitton show that went on as scheduled per the late designer and his family’s wishes.

Source: Edward Bethelot / Getty

Abloh’s Spring-Summer 2022 collection was debuted during the presentation that took place on an elevated platform built outside the Brutalist Miami Marine Stadium.

Several celebs were in attendance for the show including estranged spouses/Virgil’s close friends Kim and Kanye who sat front row alongside their daughter North.

Also spotted were Quavo, Kid Cudi, and Offset who modeled in the presentation…

Gunna…

and Pharrell Williams.

During the show, Virgil was honored in several ways including via a monumental statue…

and via a hot-air balloon and paper planes that tied into one of Virgil’s ideologies.

His creative collaborator Anders Christian Madsen noted that the designer wanted people to liberate themselves from “the prejudices society puts in our heads growing up.”

“He wanted to imagine he could fly,” said Madsen.

“Paper planes and balloons were symbols of the ideology Virgil referred to as “boyhood”: childhood objects loaded with ideas of possibility, opportunity, and hope. “Limitations,” he once wrote to me, “are manmade.” He literally didn’t believe in impossibility. Before our meetings, he’d ask me to read everything from Kierkegaard to Mann and Berger,” wrote the creative collaborator on Instagram.

Virgil wanted people to stop treating each other according to how they look, or where they grew up, or what their job is. He truly and purely approached the world like that. He’d often ask me to open his texts with words like “imagine” or “picture” or “what if.”

 

The show closed with the late designer’s voice as he read a quote about making the best of the brevity of life.

“There’s no limit … ,” Abloh was heard saying. “Life is so short that you can’t waste even a day subscribing to what someone thinks you can do versus knowing what you can do.”

 

“Virgil Was Here” was then illuminated in the sky.

 

 

R.I.P. Virgil Abloh.

Watch Louis Vuitton’s runway presentation for Virgil Abloh in full below.

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Harry Connick Jr.’s Wife: Everything To Know About His Spouse of 27 Years, Jill Goodacre

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Harry Connick Jr. Jill Goodacre

Harry Connick Jr. has made millions of fans swoon over his classic love songs, but there’s only one woman he needs to impress. Learn all about Harry’s wife of almost three decades, Jill Goodacre!

Harry Connick Jr. has beat the Hollywood odds by maintaining his marriage to Jill Goodacre for almost three decades! The musician revealed the secret to his successful romance by admitting he made a lifelong commitment to his “best friend”. “I married my best friend and I married a woman who I look up to infinitely,” he told Us Weekly. “We have the same values so it’s easy for us to try and impart those on our children.” The pair, who married in 1994 after dating for four years, are nearly inseparable. Learn all about the woman who stole Harry’s heart below!

Jill Goodacre and Harry Connick Jr. wed in 1994 after dating for four years. (Jim Ruymen/UPI/Shutterstock)

1. Jill Was A Victoria’s Secret Model

Born in Texas and raised in Colorado, Jill started off her career as a model for the lingerie company Victoria’s Secret in the 1980s and early 90s. Along with model Stephanie Seymour, Jill helped bring recognition to the new upstart, which went from a small brand to a global trendsetter in women’s wear. She would go on to model in several of Harry’s music videos as well.

2. Jill Almost Caused Harry To ‘Drown’ When They First Met

Harry revealed he first met his future wife when they were both staying at the same resort in the early 90s. During an interview on Live With Regis And Kelly, the musician said he was swimming in the lodge’s pool when Jill happened to walk past him. Harry was so awestruck by her beauty, he joked that he “almost drowned.” Quickly regaining his wits, Harry said he jumped out of the pool and asked her out on a lunch date. And the rest is history!

3. Jill Got Stuck In A Bank With Chandler On ‘Friends’

Friends superfans will remember Jill in an early episode of the famous sitcom. Playing herself, Jill got trapped in an ATM vestibule with Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) during an electrical blackout in NYC. Chandler was obviously thrilled to be stuck alongside a Victoria’s Secret model. He was so excited that he choked on a piece of gum and was rescued by Jill and her Heimlich maneuver.

Harry Connick Jr. Jill Goodacre
Jill and Harry first met at a resort where Harry jumped out of the pool to ask Jill on a lunch date. (AFF-USA/Shutterstock)

4. Jill Is A Mother To 3 Daughters

Jill and Harry welcomed the first of their three daughters in 1996 when Georgia Tatum was born. A year later, Georgia got the gift of a little sister when Sarah Kate arrived. In 2002, the family, who now reside in Connecticut and Louisiana, was complete with the arrival of baby Charlotte.

5. Jill Is A Breast Cancer Survivor

 

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“Marriage Boot Camp” Exclusive: Brock Calls Out N.O.R.E And Neri For Holding Back In The Couples’ Sessions [VIDEO]

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“Marriage Boot Camp” Exclusive: Tuff Blames Monie Love For Failing To Help Launch His Rap Career AFTER He Cheated!!!

Happy Hump Day! We’re just a day away from a brand new episode of “Marriage Boot Camp: Hip Hop Edition”…

Source: Courtesy WeTV / WeTV

Fortunately for you guys, we are THE PLUG so we have an exclusive preview clip for your viewing pleasure! This week, in the clip below, Amber and Siir Brock call out N.O.R.E. and Neri for doing the least work at camp. In the clip, Neri describes how N.O.R.E, proposed but complains he never actually got down on one knee. After her husband jokes that she took too long to figure out what was going on, Neri responds that he could have used the time to get down on one knee — only to have them both ultimately laugh off the issue. As a result, Amber questions why the couple is there since they don’t seem to really have problems in their marriage. Siir Brock takes things a step further saying that he feels N.O.R.E. and Neri have done the least work on their relationship, pointing out that Monie Love gets super vulnerable in sessions. He then asks N.O.R.E. to be honest about whether he’s ever told Neri to “Shut the f*** up”… WHOA.

Check out the clip below:

What do you think? Were Brock and Amber fair to ask N.O.R.E and Neri why they’re not being more vulnerable? Or do you think N.O.R.E and Neri are just using boundaries to protect the sanctity of their marriage.

Tune in for a brand new episode oof Marriage Boot Camp: Hip Hop Edition – Thursday, December 2 at 9 PM ET/8 PM CT on WeTV

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