Malena Zavala has always been surrounded by strong women.
Born in Argentina and raised in London, many of the most vital influences on her life have been the women in her family.
She explained recently: "Every person in my family is truly unique to me and I draw inspiration from different parts of their life and ideology. I'm really lucky to have people around me that let me be me..."
This comes to fruition on her new album 'Aliso', a luxuriously assembled ensemble piece that draws on her South American heritage. Soulful but with a pop edge, the intriguing songwriting pits the personal against the universal.
She explains: "It's really satisfying to find a way to express yourself and get things off your chest that have been there for years, I’m really glad I found it and kinda surprised as well. I'm finally at peace."
With her full live launch show incoming, Clash caught up with Malena to uncover her personal passions...
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I'm a big cinephile. I think on average I watch a film a day, maybe two. It's where I get a lot of inspiration for visuals, stories, moods and atmosphere in my work. I love anything Brit Marling does. She's one of my favourite screenwriter. She writes a lot of psychological sci-fi which is my favourite genre. Another Earth and The Sound Of My Voice are incredible films.
Recently I've really enjoyed a film called Anihilation with Natalie Portman, that's got some cool psychedelic shit in it at the end. Wes Anderson of course is cool. There's also this Argentinian film called Medianeras or Sidewalls in English. That's a sweet lil film about being alone in a densely populated city.
And also a film called My Happy Family about a Georgian mother who decides to move out of the family home and have her own apartment. That's a strong film.
Recently I've been listening to 'Capacity' by Big Thief, real nice. 'Metals' by Feist was a big one for me. It was the first album that made me realise the art of making an album, creating consistency and flow through a list of songs is a skill that I think is overlooked sometimes.
'Abbey Road' is of course a great example of that, I've being going through the whole Beatles discography lately. 'Bamba' by Orchestra Baobab is awesome also.
Netflix has been bringing out some great documentary series like 'Wild Wild Country', 'Wormwood', 'Chef's Table'. Love them.
'In Cold Blood' in my favourite book. I don't know why. That story stayed with me for a long time after I'd finished reading it.
Probably my laptop. It's where I record music, make films, photo editing and all the graphics and artwork for my music.
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'Aliso' is out now. Catch Malena at London's Bermondsey Social Club on May 9th.
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