Today we’d like to introduce you to Malik.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Malik. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’ve loved acting and music for as long as I can remember, but it got pushed to the very back of my mind as I got older. I’ve dabbled in acting and music my entire life along with testing the waters with dance and the stage is always where I felt the most comfortable. As I entered my teenage years, I pushed being an artist to the very back of my mind because in the environment I grew up in you were either a super athlete or really book smart. I chose the latter and 2016 really shook me to the point where I had nothing to lose so I gave acting and music a real shot. After a short stint at Howard University in Washington DC, I was back in Texas bored, annoyed, jobless and depressed. The only things that put a smile on my face those days were writing, singing and performing. Having tons of free time on my hands I decided to actually put myself out there as an artist and things started falling into place. I started searching the web and found myself doing tons of student films at SMU and UNT. I reconnected with my high school choir director and started working on my singing voice and eventually released an EP on my twentieth birthday called “Twenty” that Timbaland (My All-Time Favorite Producer) liked on Instagram. That year really allowed me to readjust my focus on what I wanted to do with my life. Fast forward a few years and I’ve independently released my debut album “Rated M”, and done several commercials and indie films courtesy of my new agent including a Dr. Pepper campaign. I’m currently finishing up my second album, auditioning for a few major tv shows in LA and trying my best to make being an artist my full-time job.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Putting yourself out there as an artist is probably the easiest part of the battle. Working multiple jobs, not having the team or support system (at least at the beginning)to help with things like booking shows, photo shoots, video shoots, and writing is a major pain sometimes. On the acting side of things determining which gigs and sources are legit can be very tricky. Doing acting gigs for free all over the metroplex to build your resume can be really time-consuming and costly. The biggest struggle so far aside from working through exhaustion and paying for everything out of pocket would have to be not being able to attend AMDA or NYU. In late 2016, I set my sights on enrolling at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. I studied and practiced for months with my acting coach, vocal coach and theater teachers. I even took a nightmarish second job at a movie theatre just to pay for the trip to New York to audition. The audition itself was everything I could have hoped for aside from the ballet dance combo but my terrible GPA from Howard kept me out of NYU. I also auditioned for AMDA and to my surprise got in with a partial scholarship. I felt like all the hard work at that point had finally paid off until finances came into play. A partial scholarship is basically nothing on a massive 55k semester tuition along with housing in lower Manhattan. My parents and I had already taken the student loan route with Howard two years earlier, they couldn’t afford it and neither could I so I was stuck again in Texas. Being home eventually led to me writing my first album and meeting my current agent so it eventually worked out in the end.
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
It’s been a lot of trial and error with this music thing. Registering music with ASCAP & BMI as a songwriter and figuring out how to pay for things and how to get paid has no guide or manual. I’m most proud of my album “Rated M” I don’t listen to it often because a lot of those songs came from a dark and frustrating place and the perfectionist in me picks out every single problem but I did it. I said I was going to release an album and I did it, staying up all night after work and class, turning my closet into a makeshift studio, letting my account go in the negatives just to pay for equipment and mastering all paid off. The album has been streamed in more countries than I can count and when people reach out to me and say my music made them smile, helped them get through something or say they can relate it always puts a smile on my face. I think my authenticity and work ethic sets me apart from others. If I’m not good at something I will work at it until I am. Working as an entertainer is hard, especially in an area that is small and not the most diverse. I’ve been told plenty of times over the years I’m too black, not black enough, too fat, too this too that, etc. It frustrating sometimes but I let it fuel me.
What were you like growing up?
I was a handful, a loveable smartass. Always asking questions, super outspoken (Thanks to my dad), and always over the top. Both my parents are outspoken, I’m also an April Aries so I’ve always been the loudmouth overachiever. I went into a bit of a shell in middle school due to insecurities about my weight but by senior year I was popping and everybody noticed. Traveling and going to train shows with my dad were probably the highlights of my childhood, every year my parents made sure we went on some sort of family vacation. I still love to travel, if I don’t go somewhere every few months I get anxious and annoyed. I was well behaved like a kid so my smart mouth was usually the cause of any trouble I got into, to be honest, my mouth still gets me in a lot of trouble but I’ve learned to be a little more aware as an adult.
- Website: www.malikjohnson.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/officialmalikmusic/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialMalikMusic/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/the_malikshow
- Other: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/malik123/fXaF