To introduce the brand new single We can’t Stop, songwriter and musician Malek Hanna kindly took part in an interview. We talk everything from live performance to creativity, influences, collaboration, choir singing, manifestation, and appearing on The Voice. Here’s the conversation in full.
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Hi Malek – hope you’re doing well! Huge congrats for the new single, beautifully written, arranged and performed. For those new to your music, where are you currently based, and how often do you hit the stage to perform?
Thank you for the support and kind words! I am currently based in Los Angeles, California yet born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.
Prior to the pandemic, I would frequently perform at live venues, yet since then, I have focused on singing and songwriting in the studio and completing an album, scheduled to be released early next year. However, more stage performances are on the horizon!
What can you tell us about the inception of and creative process for We Can’t Stop?
We Can’t Stop was created from the need to inspire and encourage people to believe in the power of resilience despite any obstacles that come our way. It was written during Covid, a time when so many were alienated and questioned so many things.
The creative process however did flow; the song was co-written by myself and fellow singer and friend, Raed Saade. We started with a basic track that was done by my producer, Xavier Cevrin and Raed and I then created the melody and started to build upon that. We would chat about what messages we wanted to share and how this message will coalesce with who I am as a musical artist. I felt a responsibility to create something that is motivational and fun, as the world has been going through so much death and darkness. I needed to create something that was light filled and uplifting, hence, We Can’t Stop.
The collaborative process between Xavier, Raed and myself was very supportive, as we all wanted to create something that we can be proud of, while having it be energetic, fun and motivational.
The track builds up from a piano-led introduction to a wholly ethereal dance-pop realm – what would you say was your greatest influence in developing this versatile style?
The greatest influence in creating and developing this versatile style were artists like ABBA, Freddie Mercury, Tom Jones, and Gloria Gaynor. I wanted to fuse genres and styles in a contemporary way, while it being reminiscent and nostalgic of the days of disco and pop. We wanted to create an element of surprise, starting with a slow and angelic-like piano led into another genre that is intended to get people on their feet.
In what ways did singing as part of a church choir help you develop as an artist, and would this be something you recommend to all aspiring vocalists and performers?
Singing in the church choir provided me with the discipline to grow as a vocalist, as it helped me learn more about composition, arrangements, and harmony. Listening and singing in a group environment develops one’s ear and exposes you to different styles, genres and ways of singing. It helped me with technique and provided me the tools to sing properly, while developing my vocal range and abilities.
“I highly recommend all aspiring vocalists & performers to sing in a choir, as you truly are able to find your voice, while also learning from others.”
Given your extensive education, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and are there still aspects of music and creativity that you’d like to explore or learn about further?
The biggest lessons learned echo the lyrics of the song, We Can’t Stop, which is, …”no matter what, it’s in the passion” and to, … “listen to the voice within.” Without passion and trusting your inner guide, there is nothing. If you are passionate and resilient, then the only thing stopping you from reaching your goals is yourself, so… keep going, things will fall into place.
If your intentions are pure and serve a greater good, you will receive what you are putting out into the world. I truly believe that; cause and effect is everything! There are always aspects of music and creativity that I want to explore, as it changes as I change. My identity is one that is always growing, changing, expanding, and transforming; my music will always reflect that.
What was the best part of appearing on The Voice, and contrastingly, what was the hardest part of that process?
The best part of appearing on The Voice was the connections I made with fellow artists and creatives. The hardest part was the nerves associated with what to sing and whether or not it would resonate with the judges and the audience at the time.
Is the single from a longer project set to emerge, and are there accompanying visuals to follow – if so, anything you can tell us about that?
The single, We Can’t Stop, will be included in the album that is scheduled to be released early of next year….On the Right Track. It is a part of the journey of self discovery and evolution as a musical artist and as a human being. We Can’t Stop will simultaneously be releasing a music video which I’m excited to share, as it will be a spectacle to watch!
What’s your biggest ambition for the year ahead?
Next year, my intention is to release the entire album which will comprise about 9 songs, along with their music videos. I also have some fun projects that will be released. You can find me acting and singing on the soundtrack of the Christmas film, “Saint Nick,” coming out this season. I also have a slate of other films in the works and collaborations with Latin Grammy winner, Paulina Aguirre and the legendary, Roslyn Kind. Stay tuned for much more to come within the next year!