THIS isn’t your typical fairy-tale with a hopeful promise of a “forever after”, but the story of a young woman poised and destined by song to be one of the next big talents to come out of Africa. Maleh (Malehloka Mary Hlalele) began her musical journey in the heart of the majestic mountain kingdom of Lesotho where she was born and raised.
The songstress’ professional singing career took off during her final high school year, when she joined Afro pop group Kaya, which released its debut album ‘Kunzima’, winning the Metro Fm best newcomer award in 2005. She later parted from the group to further her studies at a film college in Johannesburg, where she majored in Cinematography.
After graduating, Maleh began working for events production companies as a freelance coordinator for some major music festivals. Having dedicated a few years to discovering the realities of the music world from behind the scenes, it would not be long till the stage would call the songbird back.
She says about working backstage at one of South Africa’s most prominent jazz festivals (Standard Bank Joy of Jazz) “I was most inspired by artists like Chriss Botti and Lalah Hathaway that night, and I knew that getting back on the stage and reviving my singing career was what I needed to do if I was going to find purpose in my life”
After deciding to forsake the corporate environment, this talent was very soon to be heard, back on the airwaves with hit collaborations including Dj Qness – ‘Uzongilinda’ & ‘Time’, Dj Ganyani – ‘Not so Far” and the international hit with Dj Kent – ” Falling”. In a search to find her own identity Maleh has spent time working on a sound that would be the authentic representation of her true spirit.
Maleh’s much anticipated album Step Child is many things, chief among them it is a 12 track neo afro soul album fuelled by intuition, sensuality, and creativity brought by her own writing skills and other writers with a strong desire to incorporate her cultural roots with her urban vibe.
Songs such as the title track – Step Child add an unshakeable warmth of her heart and search for her own self worth as she like many young women step into the sometimes- difficult journey that is womanhood.
* Step Child has achieved much success with singles “Under My Skin” and “Chimsoro” receiving high rotation air play on commercial radio stations and topping radio singles charts throughout the country.
* Step Child was nominated for the 2013 Metro FM Music Awards for ‘Best African Pop’ and ‘Best Contemporary Jazz’ categories.
* Step Child won the 2013 SAMA Award for the Best African Adult Album whilst also being nominated in the categories of Album of The Year and Best Female Artist of The Year.