Vocalist | Writer | Recording Artist
With influences ranging from Flora Purim and Minnie Riperton to Portishead, Sweetback and Warpaint, multi-hyphenate Malena Pérez is an enigmatic, otherworldly force. Born in Atlanta, Georgia to a Cuban father and German mother that surrounded her with music, she was exposed early on to a diverse sonic palette that would later inform her evocative, genre-bending style.
Pérez debuted on the international music scene in 2004 with her first vinyl release, "Free To Fly", and introduced a bilingual fusion of Nu Latin Jazz and soulful, Atlanta-infused broken beat and dance music performed with a live eight-piece band. Over the ensuing decade and a half, taking up residence in New York, Berlin and the San Francisco Bay, she's delivered an eclectic suite of experimental, bass-driven electronic soul, garnering worldwide radio and DJ support. Her collaborative partners span the globe and have included Grammy-nominated producers Dennis Ferrer, Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez and deep house trailblazers Osunlade and Fred P. (Black Jazz Consortium). Her recordings have been distributed by acclaimed labels P-Vine (Japan), Mobilee (Berlin) and Objektivity Records (NYC), to name a few. Pérez is also a contributor to Sydney, Australia’s Curved Radio program, where she features music from other independent artists from around the world. Now based in Los Cabos, Mexico, Pérez is currently preparing new projects for forthcoming release.
Photography by Julie Yarbrough.
What's it really feel like to be truly free?
And is the man who's sleeping outside warmer on the inside than me?
Warmer On The Inside | OFFERING
NAIA is a global experimental collaboration between vocalist Malena Perez (P-Vine, Mobilee, Objektivity) and electronica/bass producers FIRST AID, Stiver, blacksix and Godfather Sage. Moody, reflective and deep, the first release is a four-track downtempo EP infused with soulful, melancholic vocals, expansive chords and driving basslines. Thematically, NAIA explores the shadow side of human emotion while planting seeds of healing.
I used to think that I could collect love.
Simple is better. Nothing is more.
- Simple | NAIA
Label: Cubanita Groove
4 out of 5 stars
By Norman Mayers, PrefixMag
Cuban-American songstress Malena Perez debuted on the scene a few years ago with two vinyl releases, and with Stars, her debut artist album, this Latina deftly combines elements of house, jazz, soul and electronica into a strikingly emotional journey. Stars is the epitome of lounge coolness, swimming through its tracks with velvety ease. Wrapped in gauzy beats and bilingual lyrics, Stars takes world music to new heights.
Sade, Amel Larrieux, Jill Scott, Tracey Thorn and Omara Portuondo are just some of the influences Malena Perez calls out with pride on "Cubanita Groove," a track pulsing with Afro-Cuban rhythms. Perez only uses these accomplished artists as a jumping off point, confidently expressing her own musical vision on Stars. From quiet ballads to slinky electronica, Perez draws influence from life itself to create her wide reaching sound. The high points rest in the house and electronic elements with tracks like "Free To Fly" and "Praise the Day" setting the tone with their use of Latin percussion and heavy bass. "Surrender" is a soothing number propelled by a simmering trip-hop groove while "What Do I Do" ventures into drum and bass territory with its stuttering drums and moody atmosphere.
Lyrically Perez illustrates her world music vibe by switching between English and Spanish throughout the album, sometimes within the same track. Her voice is the perfect complement to the understated beats: soft, exotic and enchanting.
In a world where cultures are blending like never before, Malena Perez's Stars is a sign of the times. Stars is truly a melting pot of musical and cultural influences that goes down just right.
Free To Fly 6:570:00/6:57
Cubanita Groove 2:130:00/2:13
Praise The Day 5:430:00/5:43
What Do I Do 4:340:00/4:34
Gracias A La Vida 5:490:00/5:49
Your spirit still flies through me... takes my breath away
Your soul flying through me... what do I do with that?
What Do I Do | STARS