Premiere: Malina Moye reinvents the Minneapolis Sound on 'Enough'

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Malina Moye.
Malina Moye (Courtesy the artist)
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As an internationally known artist, Malina Moye has a lot going for her right now, but many people might not know that she has a Minnesota connection.

Although she was born in Ohio, Moye and her family moved to Minneapolis when she was still fairly young. Growing up in a musical family, there were always well-known artists stopping by their home; they would also spend time jamming with Moye and her cousins and inspire them to keep working on their craft.

"Imagine like actually being a kid, jamming in the basement with George Clinton, Babyface," she says. "This was just normal. So people always say, 'How did you get your music like this?' Well that was just a normal everyday thing for us. We had to go to school up in the day but, my mom, it was a very strict policy — school, we would eat and then it was in the basement, practice."

As Moye and her cousins got better, they formed a family band — Les Moye — and began playing shows in the Twin Cities, where they continued to be inspired by the musicians they met. One day Moye got to meet the most famous of them all, Prince. Before they had moved to Minnesota, her dad had joked that she might get to meet him one day, and when the day came for her to meet Prince, she wasn't shy.

"I went to him and I said, 'Excuse me Mr. Prince, my name is Malina Moye and I would love to be the lead in your next movie.' And as an older person I look back at that and think how funny that must have been, because I'm like a kid — I've got braces and acne and just everything — and he was just so cool," she remembers. "And I remember he did a little spin and turned around and he looked at me and he was like, 'Oh my god,' and he realized that I was a kid, right? And he was like, 'You know, I don't have anything that would fit you.'"

Although Moye didn't get a role in Prince's next movie, she did get a call back to Paisley Park.

"The next thing I knew I had an opportunity to go to Paisley Park," she said. "Being really young and watching Prince play guitar, piano, just being in that environment and singing for me, and I was just like, wow, and that's when I thought, 'You know what? I can really go out and do something.' When we were done I went up to Prince and said, 'You know Mr. Prince, after all this I think I can go out and really become somebody.' And I remember him saying, 'Well, I look forward to watching it.'"

For Moye, the time she spent at Paisley Park inspired her to work hard at her dreams. She continued to play in her family band while growing up in Minneapolis, but finally she had to make the hard choice to go off on her own. She left Minneapolis and moved to Los Angeles, but when she got there, things didn't come easy. She was homeless for a little while and struggled to make ends meet.

"I remember my mom, she's a wonderful mother and I would never put anything bad on her at all. She said, 'You know what, Malina? You leave with what you got.' So I did. And of course she didn't know how bad it really was, and I think that after the first few months it was crazy because I was like, 'Oh my god, I don't know how I'm going to do this. Something's gotta change, I've got nothing."

Moye eventually got back on her feet, working as an actor while she continued to pursue her career in music. Now she's an internationally known artist whose last record, Rock & Roll Baby included a guest turn by funk legend Bootsy Collins. With her new album, Bad As I Wanna Be, about to be released, Moye says she will never forget what she learned from Prince.

"I just always looked at that was like so special because I just loved Prince and when you're a kid, actually meeting someone that you like and then having them really take time and pour something into you makes you feel like everything really can happen and everything is possible," she says.

We're pleased to premiere Moye's new song, "Enough" (listen above), a pop ballad that speaks to being true to herself and not worrying about what others think. The song is also featured in a new feature film, The Samuel Project — and Moye herself plays a supporting role. Bad As I Wanna Be will be released on March 23, and is now available for preorder.

Simone Cazares is a student at Saint Paul College. Originally from Miami, Fla., she survives Minnesota's cruel winters by immersing herself in the Twin Cities music scene.


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