Malina Moye is more than okay to admit she’s ‘fine.’ “The joke of it is,” she tells HollywoodLife about the release of Dirty, her new album, “my dad would always say to me, ‘How are you doing?’ And I was like,’ Oh, I’m fine.’ And then he would go, ‘Oh, I see you’re still f***ed up, insecure, neurotic, and emotionally unstable.’ I would laugh, and then I would go, ‘God, but you know what, there’s so much truth to that f***ing line,’ because I realized I’m those things, and that’s okay.”

Her father’s joke inspired the song of the same name (“F.I.N.E”), which she paired with a cinematic music video. Released on Mar. 13, the video compares the neck of her guitar to the transcontinental railroad connecting America’s two coasts; the song she plays is symbolic of every citizen between. As she plays a blistering, blues-inspired solo – her Fender guitar flipped upside down, like her similarly-lefthanded idol, Jimi Hendrix – she stands in front of an American flag. Interspersed throughout are scenes of Americans working, living, playing, and protesting.

“Look at all this sh** we’ve all just went through. Look at all the stuff we’ve had to go through to get here right now,” Malina tells HL. “And so I just said, ‘You know what? I am going to play it in song on the darn guitar. Let’s see what happens.’ And then that was the emotion. And then, when we put the video together, Marc Fusco directed the video. He’s a filmmaker, did a lot of stuff with Mr. [Steven] Spielberg. And we sat and spoke, and I said, this is what this song is making me feel. And then that’s what we came up with.”

“And now, because the visuals have a strong narrative and my guitar is its own voice and character that takes us on a journey, we’ve elaborated further and created a short film based on the music video, but with me narrating. So I’m excited to show the short, maybe even at a film festival.”

Malina had been on quite the journey to the release of her fourth album, Dirty. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, like many professional musicians, she was left wondering if her livelihood was over. “So literally, I, as an artist and a writer, I just did what I love to do, which is write,” she says. ” And I just start writing songs because, at the same time, you have that taking place.”

“And then you have the other thing in your mind,” she says, “like, ‘Oh my God, are we going to play music anymore?’ We play, and we go out, and we see people. I mean, it went so deep — I’m the person that’ll see you and be like, ‘Oh my God, hi!’ And I’ll just go in for a hug, naturally. And then I have to realize that, oh, I’m not even supposed to touch you. So it was so many layers like that if I’m the hugger, the toucher — can’t do that, can’t do any of that. ”

So, she threw herself into her art. “And as I started writing the song ‘Dirty,’ the album came out,” she tells HL. “The theme of this whole record is about taking the high road when people do you wrong. That’s one of the hardest things to do because, I promise you, if you do something or really f*** me up a hundred percent, I’m going to drag you through the mud. And if I go down too, that’s fine because I want you to feel hurt.”

“But that’s not the way to live,” she adds. “And so many times, we want to do that to someone. I wrote this record because it had to be a reckoning for me to get back my peace, my balance, and my spirit. That’s how we’re all supposed to operate. Because if you don’t, that’s when bad things happen. And then you end up going that one thought, and that one thing can change your whole life.”

(Isaiah Mays)

Dirty, explains Malina, is “basically what took place to me and how I felt.” She hints that a souring relationship on the business side of the music industry inspired the music but explains that the themes within the album can be applied to many situations. “That could be a person, place, or thing that makes you dirty,  you feel dirty, or does dirty sh*t to you; that’s what this means. And if you look at the way I put it [the album’s songs] order, that is the stages of what happens until you come to the level of forgiveness or peace.”

“For me, it’s ‘Y.A.T.O’ [“You Ain’t The One”], and then you see ‘F.I.N.E.’ Suddenly, it’s a rollercoaster ride. You keep going through the list. And ‘Obsexxed,’ because that’s the honeymoon stage. We’re back to, ‘Okay, this is going to be good.’ But then you realize, ‘f*ck these people, they’re full of sh*t.’ And you know what? What do I really stand for here? Because then you got to go back to your integrity of going, hey, my ethics, my morals are being compromised.’ And that’s when it goes to ‘What Do You Stand For,’ which brings me back to where I say, ‘Give yourself the grace.’”

“We have to look at ourselves and say, ‘It’s okay to give ourselves some grace here because this has been crazy,’” she says. Dirty, she explains, is a way for her to deal with a traumatic experience and convey how it’s sensible to give yourself the space and permission to deal with the impact of trauma, no matter what it is. “Sometimes, we’re expected to just act like everything is cool. ‘Oh, that happened. Go on, go on.’ And you’re like, ‘no, f*** no. You were there. You were there. This all happened.’ We have to just be okay to just say, ‘yeah, some of us need to walk away for a second.’”

That’s what my record is basically saying because we all went through some dirty sh**,” she says. “And the main goal is to live a spiritually free and great life so that you can forgive and move on. And that’s for yourself. That’s it. And karma’s a bitch.”

Isaiah Mays

Though, Dirty isn’t just an album of karma and grace. There’s also a salute to her home of Minnesota. Born in Ohio but raised in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” another one of her  guiding stars influenced her song, “Obsexxed.”

“The song was born from the fact that I had seen [No Time To Die],” she said. She was taken aback when seeing Daniel Craig in the movie. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, this guy’s clothes are amazing. He looks amazing in his clothes.’ So, I literally heard this melody in my head, and then I went to the bathroom and sang it into my phone. I was inspired by literally watching this man’s clothes, which is crazy. Not to mention, I ended up buying those James Bond jeans for my fiancé.”

After she started to write it, she sent the piece to her producer. “He said, “You know, this reminds me of ‘Kiss,’” she said, referring to the song by Prince. “He showed me a video of Prince, where he actually did the same situation where it was just the guitar, the earlier version. I said, ‘You know what? We need to make this an ode to where I grew up, Minneapolis.’ It’s more in the pop field, but that’s what we were going for. I wanted to make it pop-eighties but contemporary. ‘And it was just fun. ‘Oh, I’m obsexxed with you.’”

Isaiah Mays

Fans will have a chance to become “obsexxed” with Malina. In April, she’s playing a handful of dates in Germany and Austria. “I’ll definitely be hitting the United States,” she assures HL, “and then we have some summer festivals back in Europe. And then I’ll do some more of the United States in September. And then in November, we’re definitely doing Italy, Paris, the Netherlands, back to the rest of Europe.” She plans to make it out to fans and bring her new music to them, one way or another. “You’ll see me keep it going,” she says.

“I’m going to come play in a city near you,” she adds. “I want you to come say hello. ‘Cause I always say when we travel, when I come out, I’m actually coming to see you. So say ‘Hi!’

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