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April 20, 2022

Interview with Steven Malcolm

We had the pleasure of interviewing Steven Malcolm over Zoom video!

Steven Malcolm intends to make 2022 his breakout year with the announcement of his third studio album, Tree, due out June 3, 2022, through IVAV, a division of Curb | Word...


We had the pleasure of interviewing Steven Malcolm over Zoom video!

Steven Malcolm intends to make 2022 his breakout year with the announcement of his third studio album, Tree, due out June 3, 2022, through IVAV, a division of Curb | Word Entertainment. He sets the tone for the project with the spellbinding track “Respect” produced by renowned DJ/Producer Sango and UMoore.

Malcolm is curving the fakes and claiming a stake as an exceptional force in hip-hop, no questions asked with “Respect”. The track debuts as Malcolm begins his 5-city Long Live The Hype Tour with Jude Barclay and Mark the Baddguy. The cool, commanding bop finds Malcolm bossing up on naysayers.

“Respect” is a follow-up to the bangers "Rooftop Freestyle" co-produced by Grammy Award winners BoogzDaBeast (Kanye West), FNZ (A$AP Rocky), and Dayme alongside “On Point” featuring Dove Award winner KB. After accumulating more than 58 million global DSP streams and 13.1 million YouTube views in 2021, Malcolm’s desire to elevate his name is a constant theme on his forthcoming album.

Tree is an eclectic depiction of Malcolm’s past, present, and future. The album features several award-winning artists such as Snoop Dogg, Shaggy, Social Club Misfits, and KB. It arrives on the heels of Malcolm’s 5-track EP All Is True which garnered wide acclaim and reached more than 1.9 million total streams.

All 16-tracks explore Malcolm’s spiritual depth and versatility as a hip-hop artist. From the international smash “Fuego (R3HAB Remix)” featuring dancehall icon Shaggy (5 million combined Spotify streams) to the Dove Award-nominated anthem “Glory On Me” featuring Childish Major & Taylor Hill. Malcolm mixes the spirituality of Sunday morning with the energy of Saturday night.

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Transcript

Well, hello. It is Adam. Welcome back to bringing it backwards. A podcast where both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieve stardom. On this episode, we had a chance to hang out with Steven Malcolm over zoom video, Steven was born and raised in grand rapids, Michigan, and he talks about how he got into music, kind of a difficult upbringing, but at 19 years old that landed him at a hip hop church prior to attending the church. He was living in a house with some guys ahead of the studio downstairs, and while they were partying and doing their thing, he would be down in the studio recording songs. So when he landed at this hip hop church, after, you know, a bunch of friends ended up telling him like, Hey, you should go check this out. 1 (1m 9s): He studied there for a year before starting to write what became the Stephen Malcolm project. Steven tells us about putting out his first couple of records, being nominated for a Jimmy award on all of his releases, going for album of the year on his new record, performing at the GMAS, having a song hit top 40 on Christian radio and all about his new record tree. You can watch our interview with Steven on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at bringing it backwards. It'd be rad if you subscribe to our channel like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and tick-tock at bringing back pod. And if you're listening to this on apple music, Spotify, Google podcasts, it would be amazing if you follow us there as well and hook us up with a five-star review. 2 (1m 57s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcasts, wherever you listen to podcasts, 1 (2m 3s): We're bringing it backwards with Steven Malcolm. Well, I appreciate you doing this. Thank you so much. 3 (2m 9s): No doubt, bro. That's Katie poppy. Appreciate you. 1 (2m 13s): Of course. I'm Adam, and this is about you and your journey and music. And we'll talk about the new record as well. 3 (2m 22s): Awesome. 1 (2m 23s): So you just got to have a plane. I just want to address that real quick. Where are we flying from 3 (2m 27s): Man? So we are coming from Orlando, Florida. Where 1 (2m 32s): Are you? 3 (2m 33s): Yeah, man. How's it going 1 (2m 35s): There? Because actually my family and I are driving to Orlando, Florida on Saturday. 3 (2m 40s): Yeah. Now the weather was perfect brown as right here. Like, yeah, that's the one thing I'm going miss. We hopped out in Orlando, Arizona. I thought it was going to be a little warm, but it's a little warmer in Orlando. It was like, perfect. It's not like Florida hot, so it's perfect. 1 (2m 55s): Yeah. We're going out to the amusement parks, taking my kids to the amusement parks out there, this coming. Cause they got the obstacle and next week. So good to know that it's, it's going to be nice weather. Hopefully, you know, fingers crossed, but right on man. Well, are you originally from where Michigan? 3 (3m 12s): Yes, sir. At grand rapids, Michigan home of the great fluid and they wasn't 1 (3m 17s): Born and raised, 3 (3m 18s): Born and raised my brother. 1 (3m 20s): What was it like growing up there? 3 (3m 22s): And it was small, you know what I mean? It's, it's, it's a, it's a small city. It's like one of those small, big cities, you know what I mean? Not too much going on, but enough to not be bored. You know what I mean? 1 (3m 34s): It was good. And how did you get the music? 3 (3m 38s): And I went to church, bro. I walked into a hip-hop church, the age like 19 man and you know, me coming from where I come from. I hop in a cipher here and there. You know what I mean? Castle has asked me to rap, but I gave my life to Christ in 2010. And then after he actually wanted to serve the church, serve God's people and the pastor was like, yo, how about you start rapping? So I said, Hey, 1 (4m 3s): Wow. I haven't heard that's incredible. It is. Cause you're one of the few artists that I've heard. That's a hip hop, Christian artists. I think it's dope, but I haven't. I mean, I'm like tell me about this church that you had found that was kind of a hip hop influenced church. That's awesome. 3 (4m 20s): Yeah, it also is. It's in grand rapids to this day. I still attend. I still help. Lead worship is super dope and yeah, I was just like bruh hip hop church. 1 (4m 28s): Yeah. That's what I'm saying. That's so cool. 3 (4m 32s): I come from the hip hop culture man, and it's hard to mix Jesus in there a lot with activities that we used to do, man. And so I was real curious of, of what this, this Jesus looked like and felt like, and me, you know, a little bit about my backstory, I grew up fatherless and my mom just addicted to substances and bad men. And so I just always want sexified identity and purpose man. And so God is the perfect one to find that in. And that's exactly what happened. 1 (4m 57s): Wow. Yeah. I'm sorry that, that was, you know, you had that, but obviously he came out on top with what you have going on now. Incredible. And how did you get, how did you originally get into music? You talked about, you know, rapping what you got into the dress. But prior to that, 3 (5m 15s): Yeah, it was just a thing, bro. Like, yeah. Oh, so I lived in the house so long story short, my sister was stripping, coming home, doing cocaine, sleeping with all these dudes. I ain't trying to be around that. That's my sister. So I just left and stayed in his house with like eight other older cats. You know what I'm saying? I was doing their thing, partying, you know, living in their mid twenties, you know what I mean? And here I am, this, this teenager. And so they had a studio in the basement and they used to always just be like, yo, come down and rap, come down and rap spit some spit, some, you know? And so, you know, you just spit at someone. They said, especially something. So that's really how I really started just big bros who took me in a crib, had a studio in the basement and we would just play, they would party sleep with women and record music. 3 (6m 1s): That was our daily activity. 1 (6m 4s): Okay. With that though, like what was it like the first time they said, Hey, get up there. Do you spit something? Where's that 3 (6m 13s): I've always been a creative, you know, like I used to sketch, I still could sketch and just always been a creative. So it was another thing of like, oh man, I just created a song and it had a euphoric feeling to it. So it, I just wanted to do it again and again and again. 1 (6m 29s): Did you write out your lyrics first or just go up there and kind of off the off the da 3 (6m 35s): Wrote off what off there. But that's one thing that me and my cousin used to do a man, like when we would link up, we would just be like, yo, let's just freestyle for like 10 minutes. We'd throw a beat on and he'd go out, go just for fun, man. So the tools were being as sharpen, looking back, you know, 1 (6m 52s): And with any of those recordings from that house, did you ever save any of that or put it out or was it just kind of there 3 (6m 58s): Literally still one on YouTube today? Nobody will ever find it, But I got a song, a lie around cussing my head off, talking about this craziness. So yeah. 1 (7m 13s): Okay. So there's one up there, but no one. Yeah. It's buried. It's buried down there. Okay. Well, okay. So what, what makes you go into this church? What you said 19 was when, when this like, you know, happened, 3 (7m 30s): You know, 19, you know, so it's a pivotal age for us, you know, and we're graduating high school going on to college, becoming a young man. That's when we're finding our identity, finding our apartments, find our calling, finding out, you know, what kind of stamp we going to leave in this world. And me, you know, coming from where I come from, I want to be different. I want to change, you know, my family structure. I want to change, you know, the generational curse that's at hand bro. And so you man, I, I just, just decided to take that step man, take that step. And then with the music just came with it. So, so hold on. What was your, what was your main question again? 1 (8m 10s): I was just wondering like, was there like somebody that came to you and was like, Hey, you should check this church out. Or were you just like wandering selling the streets? Or like, how did you find the place that originally kind of started this? 3 (8m 20s): Yeah, just people bro. Like that's why it was like solely the Lord because here I am just this regular kid, you know what I'm saying? Going into the YFCA hoping. And then the homie that I actually was, I really good friends with man in high school, on the varsity team on summer, we went to parties together, did some craziness together and next thing you know, I'm at the YFCA and I'm like, yo man, what you been up to well is I am. And I gave my life to Jesus ASA, like Robin at a fire. This dude got drunk and busted out a window with, have just punched a window out to get out the house. I used to do crazy stuff. There started here, this dude, something while he's living for Jesus. 3 (9m 2s): Now it's just kind of weird and different. And he was a young black dude. You know what I mean? From where I come from, it saw, it was just like, it just hit me different. And I knew, and I knew where he came from. And so he told me, and then next thing you know, another person, somebody, you know, you should come check out. This hip hop church man is popping in the city. And I'm just like, why is everybody inviting me to this hip hop church? And then finally the third time was a girl. You know what I mean? That's what always gets me. I was trying to show it here, what you're doing tonight. Yeah. You know what, let me stop playing. I ain't really ever been to church because, you know, I, I feel like when I was a kid, I walked into church and it was like, pick up your pants and take off your hat. 3 (9m 45s): And so that kind of know saying rubbed me the wrong way. So I was just in the mindset of, you know, I believe in Jesus because I don't want to go to hell typical American tank. And so you <inaudible> on my man. I got to see this giant. I was trying to kick the was shoddy. So let me, let me check this mug out. And yeah, like I said, man, coming, you know, my background is searching for identity, searching for purpose, searching for something, bro. God met me where I was man. 1 (10m 14s): And once you get in there, like, are you start imagining attending pretty often. And then how quickly are you starting to, like you said at one point last year wrap. Yeah. Not, not even that, but like, you know, intertwined your, your skills with, with rapping and you know, kind of bringing that to the parish or whatever. Yeah. 3 (10m 35s): Mozhdah it was after a year, man. I wanted to, I wanted to get rooted, take a year to, you know, learn the foundations of what it is to not just be a Christian, but be a follower of Christ. You know what I mean? Like what does it look like to daily live out? You know, being in your word, praying, making disciples fellowship in which your brothers and sisters. So I just really surrounded myself for a year with nothing but homeys from the church, surrounded my life with doing nothing. But you know what I'm saying? Fellowshipping with the bros cut. Now I cut out secular music for a long time and say a lot. I stopped cussing. And so yeah, man, a year it took a year for me to really get rooted Rowan and really know what I'm talking about. 3 (11m 20s): Not just pick up a painted blue, I'm a Christian God, Because I want to know context, you know what I mean? And really be able to speak it in and not only speak, it was just live. You can only live it if you really get rooted. So after a year, man gas was like, it's time to get up off your book, get out the pews and serve these people. So, 1 (11m 44s): So did, did it start with a w S like leading the worship? Is that where it started? And then from there you kind of like turn into like recording 3 (11m 54s): Started off with leading worship and then we wanted to do something for the youth. And so basically we got a grant and we built a studio in the church to teach high school kids, how to record music producing. And so then we had that at hand. And so basically I started living at the church, literally living at the church and recording on night. You know what I mean? So I pumped out like three projects as an independent artists that nobody's ever heard before. But yeah, that's when I was sleeping at the church man and teaching high school students, how to engineered themselves. 1 (12m 29s): Oh, wow. And from, from there, like how, what was, what was the next step? I mean, you said you put out three records into Pandora and no one's heard, like how did you get to the next level? 3 (12m 39s): So as independent artists, I get a lot of contests and I would lose every single one, 1 (12m 46s): Like a rap battles. They're like, what kind of content? Battle 3 (12m 49s): Battles, open Mike contests. You know, if a Rapper's coming, you know, city block contest to open up for them, I'm doing these contracts. And then I got like a show the next day getting paid and I'm still losing all these contests. I'm putting out like fire content with these contest, losing, losing, losing, losing. And so I'm like, yo, I'm done doing contests. And then this one artist named cannon did a fast rap contest. And me like, that's my bread and butter homie. I'm like, Was like, yo, you have to do this. I'm like, nah, bro, I'm done doing contest. And I'm out here. I'm a legit artist doing shows, getting paid, but I'm losing to these nobodies. 3 (13m 31s): Nobody's heard of, I was losing, I lost weight youth pastor it's opened up for 80 many of Garbage, but he had his whole youth vote for him. So it was 1 (13m 42s): Oh, popularity contests. 3 (13m 46s): But anyways, I was like, eyebrow, I'll do it just because my PJ's begging me to do it and private easy. Cause I love to ride fast. So I blew it and I won and an ANR from the label, seen that video and sign me so wow. Sydney from the nine to five, put me on a full time music schedule and took me around the world. And now I'm talking to you. 1 (14m 11s): Wow. So was that when you, okay, so you signed them with this, you signed this deal and they put you in the studio. What to record? What became, what your first record. Okay. What was it like putting that out? I mean, it sounds like, you know, it was, life-changing obviously, I mean you went from a nine to five to now you're full time doing what you love to do. 3 (14m 34s): Yeah, man. Yeah. I mean, it's just, you know, the grind kicked in bro. Like, You know, I'm a worker bee and so yeah, man, it's just basically, you know, Tony start getting out of the cave and going back to the office and making the Ironman suit now. 1 (14m 52s): Yeah. And both of those records got, you know, wards and you know, they did really well on Christian radio. And like what was that like hearing him just kind of seeing that. 3 (15m 2s): Yeah, the, the double-up was dope, bro. Like the level up was super dope and I feel like glory to God, man. It was super quick. Like I got homies back in the city. That's been rind in for, you know, 10 plus years. And hasn't been in front of as many people as are, or got the opportunities that I had. You know what I mean? I've only been doing this thing for like eight, nine years. You know what I mean? And it's been super successful and dope. So yeah man, the level of his, his, his being crazy, crazy, but you know, just consistent reminders not to get uncomfortable just to keep going and keep working hard. 1 (15m 38s): Yeah. You got to perform at the GMA awards. W what was that like? 3 (15m 41s): Yeah, man. So that man that was like slightly, I felt like I could retire when I got off stage. Never 1 (15m 48s): Landed. 3 (15m 48s): Right. One of my favorite artists is Michael Jackson man. And what autumn license, the production. And we had a whole like dance team and just the whole performance made me feel like, all right, I'm good. I can, I can step away and retire. Not. 1 (16m 3s): Yeah. And then to get nominated every record you put out that's that's incredible. Yeah. 3 (16m 9s): I'm trying to go for album about a year this year, man, 1 (16m 13s): With this new record 3 (16m 15s): With tree. 1 (16m 16s): Tell me about tree. 3 (16m 18s): Yeah, man. So it's my third studio album. Me being in Jamaica and Jamaica. It's pronounced three tree. I'm a family of three. I got a wife and son. You know what I mean? I'm in love with the Trinity. Just all makes sense. Yeah. I mean, and I feel like I just live by the motto of, of getting rooted. You know what I mean? Like I was telling you it's a bit year to, to get rooted and that really paid off because I stand firm firm as a treatment regimen. 1 (16m 44s): So like that I learned 3 (16m 45s): Tested in the valleys, bro. You know what I mean? We, we hear baby. We touring, we hear baby. 1 (16m 52s): That's cool. That is so cool with, with, for this record. Was this something that's you like, tell me about where you were when COVID hit. I mean, you had a record out in what 20, you had a record on 2018 or 2019, and then this happens and then what, what are you like, okay. Now has this whole thing been swept out from under me? Like, how are you feeling at that time? 3 (17m 16s): I was feeling very unemployed. You know what I mean? Out to, so, you know, good old time we're back. Yeah. You know what I mean? But no, I was very discouraged during not discouraged uninspired, so I didn't even write anything. My NR with bug me to write one producer had to hit me up and act. But one of the inspired man, because my favorite part is going out in and rapping to the people like going out and the gospel. That's what I'm passionate about. That's why I started and that was taken away and I couldn't do it. So I was uninspired until my son got here. 3 (17m 57s): My son was born in 2021. And so 1 (18m 2s): Congratulations. Thank 3 (18m 3s): You. Getting out of COVID. So yeah, man. 1 (18m 8s): So when he's born, that kind of sparked the, the creativity again, to, to start writing again. Wow. 3 (18m 17s): I heard about that. And so yeah, now we're back doing shows and yeah. So I think that was all this true that I had dropped like during like, well right out of COVID. Cause we literally all this truly P we made before COVID and we needed like two more tracks and that's when I got uninspired needed, two more tracks could make anything until like the end and then I crank those out and then we were able to put all this shoe out. And so that was super cool, man. And then we moved on to tree tree has been my favorite so far to work on. 1 (18m 49s): Why would you say that? 3 (18m 51s): Just because I got back into my element. So remember when I told you about, you know, when I was living in that house with a bunch of dudes and they just had the, the studio in the basement, I remembered how I used to work. Like obviously they would be up all night partying, so I'd be the only one up in the morning. So that's what I used to get my recording and it would just be me. And so for the first time, you know, it was just me in the studio, like the label got me an Airbnb downtown and it was just me for all the other records. You know, you have the producers and the co-writers in there and a studio full of people <inaudible>, You know, and you get a little self-conscious and you know, I want to make weird noises and crazy ad lives, but I feel weird if someone's sitting right next to me. 3 (19m 36s): And so I was able to like really be myself and dive in. So whatever creative bag I wanted to. So literally that's how its tree was made me in an Airbnb with a folder full of beats. 1 (19m 48s): No, that's amazing. I love that. And I hope you get a man I'm, I'm rooting for you on the album of the year, at the GMAS this time around and revelations in the record. And I really, again, appreciate you doing this. I know you're just fresh off of planes. 3 (20m 6s): And I was telling my homie, man, all I want to do today is eat and sleep. I got what I'm about to do. 1 (20m 14s): One more quick question before you grab your chicken. I want to know if you have any advice for aspiring artists, 3 (20m 20s): Man, absolutely dogs. So aspiring artists, man, if you're listening, if you're paying attention to what we're talking about right now, I have two things to always remember, stay faithful to the craft, whatever your craft is, stay faithful to it. Think about what it means to be faithful to your partner. You know what I'm saying? You wake up looking forward to be with them, seeing them, loving them. So be like that to your craft, man, don't go a day without talking or spending time with your craft. So be faithful to your craft. And then the second one is be obedient to God because obviously we were all created. So we have a creator. He knows the master plan. If we get on a chord with him that we know to match the plan as well. 3 (21m 0s): And so stay obedience of God in his calling in your life and you'll see him take the wheel and take you up and just stay faithful to the craft. Man, be the hardest worker in the room.

Steven Malcolm Profile Photo

Steven Malcolm

Hip-Hop Artist

Steven Malcolm makes faith-driven hip-hop that's as unique as his multi-cultural background. It's a diverse sound grounded in rap's rhythmic delivery, pop's modern melodies, and God's word, glued together by a street-smart artist whose music has earned five Dove Award nominations and more than 57 million streams.

Released in 2021, All Is True blurs the boundaries between Christian music and larger-than-life hip-hop, delivering universal songs about faith, family, and fidelity. This is hip-hop with a heart, mixing the spirituality of Sunday morning with the energy of Saturday night. It's also an extension of the sound Malcolm has spent the better part of a decade crafting. Raised by a family whose JaJamaican-born patriarch was deported back to the Caribbean when his son was only 10 years old, Malcolm first turned to music as a source of stability. He found success in the hip-hop underground with his independent debut, Monster's Ink, then built a larger audience with 2017's self-titled Steven Malcolm. Nominated for three GMA Dove Awards, Steven Malcolm was followed by The Second City, which debuted at Number 11 on Billboard's hip-hop chart in 2019. Tracks like "Fuego'' highlighted his Jamaican roots and reggae influences (both of which were showcased on several remixes, which found Malcolm working alongside collaborators like Shaggy, R3HAB, The SoulBots, and Melanie Pfirrman), while a Dove-nominated remix of "Even Louder" featured his duet with seven-time Grammy nominee Natalie Grant.