Malena Zavala’s romantic indie hit Could You Stay, should be the soundtrack to the next coming of age movie. Dreamy, nostalgic, it conjures memories of heartbreak and teen-yearning; summertime, daydreaming and dusty feet.
We nipped in to watch her perform on the JägerHaus stage at Vicky Park’s brand new All Points East Festival and were pretty mesmerised.
‘We dare you not to fall in love with Malena Zavala’s honeyed voice on this slow-burning indie tune.’
Could You Stay, is part of Malena’s very first album Aliso, a collection of hypnotic tracks exploring visual and cultural identity, self-doubt, acceptance, artistic freedom and of course relationships.
It’s impressive to think this young artist’s album was brought to life in just 6-months after her brother, her original band partner and music mentor married and upped sticks to LA, leaving Malena to face the music – as it were – alone.
‘I bought a drum kit and all the bits I needed and locked myself away in my studio – my parents converted garage in Hemel Hempstead – and just wrote.’
Despite it being Malena’s very first time writing music the album beautifully brings to life a whole lot of feeling. She was brought up on her muso father’s Beatles, Supertramp, and Hendrix records. She’s also into Devendra Banhart, Beach House and St Vincent. ‘When I saw Anne (St Vincent) playing her guitar for the song Surgeon, I was like – WOW – right, I’m going to do that.’
‘Just before I started writing I felt like I had a lot on my chest that I needed to get off. I felt like a lot had changed in my life, I felt like I had to prove a point and do something. When my brother moved I had to step into my own space. I was learning as I went. Bringing to life what was in my mind was so rewarding.’
Malena’s Argentinian background is a large part of her identity. ‘I have been brought up surrounded by strong, artistic women, my Argentinian ‘hippie’ grandma speaks in such abstract ways, we were always making dream books together and painting, she’s a real inspiration.’
She’s also influenced by the colourful aesthetic of the people she follows on instagram, the artist Ana Kras, Spanish influencer and fashionista Miranda Makaroff and Spanish fashion brand Paloma Wool, as well as her hip Jazz-band friends. ‘The way they play music and are so free really inspires me. Ghost Notes is a great place to watch music in London. There and Oliver’s jazz bar.’
And then of course, her brother ‘he taught me everything about music, and I still go out to LA when I can to see him, I love it there I always feel inspired while I’m there but I’m not keen on the politics at the moment.’
Her advice to girls growing up in London?
‘Sounds cheesy but it’s so true, just be yourself, be you, do you – and be unapologetic. Don’t care. Stick with your vision.’
‘Argentinian born Malena Zavala is set to take the world by storm’