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Singer Maalavika Manoj throws ‘Caution to the Wind’ after a rough period

It was a time to revitalise for singer-songwriter Mali (aka Maalavika Manoj) after the release of her debut full-length album, Caution to the Wind (April 2021). The period of catharsis healed the indie artiste who is now back with a single, energised and inspired. “It was a mildly difficult period in my personal life,” reveals the Mumbai-based artiste about her hiatus. “I had worked on my album for over two years, and needed a break from the cycle of recording and releasing. I decided to take a year’s break. I needed to come back fresh for this one.”
About finding oneself
Titled Ashes, the track, deeply personal, represents, “the death of an older self in the face of navigating love and loss.” It’s a song about feeling a strong sense of connection with the other person after they’re no longer around.

Mali doesn’t hold back from sharing. “The track was inspired by a breakup two years ago. It took a lot out of me and was part of the reason I needed to take a break to heal. I found myself questioning everything about myself. The song itself was almost an open letter to my ex asking how he was doing in that period after the breakup when we weren’t communicating with each other,” she says, adding, “writing Ashes provided counsel at a time when I felt completely alone.”
Folksy tunes, dream pop
Treading a rather simple acoustic route than her earlier songs, Ashes, released last week, combines folk and dream pop influences. The track features Jishnu Guha on guitars and Mali on piano and synths. There is also an accompanying music video, filmed in a medieval castle in Clam, Austria. Mali offers a sneak peek, “The music video was filmed in the summer I was in Austria. I was helping out at a concert season which took place on the grounds of a medieval castle. I requested the count of the castle if I could film the music video there, and he agreed. I got cinematographer Fabian Uitz on board to shoot it and a few of my friends helped out. It’s a single take of a video of me walking through the castle rooms singing the song.”
A melancholic oeuvre
Rush, Play, Age of Limbo, Mango Showers, among several others Mali’s tracks often find inspiration from melancholy. What about the emotion inspires her to create? “Melancholy makes you sit down and take stock. When you’re happy you want to stay in the moment, and enjoy it. But when you’re down, you want to dive deeper and go inward. Change in general is something that inspires my writing and this type of change really brought out a different side,” notes the musician.

From performing at festivals in India and abroad, Mali is among the names in the famed Lollapalooza (music festival) line-up. “I’m excited about it. There’s a lot to do in preparation, and I can’t wait to get started,” offers Mali, who has been writing a lot of music which she plans to release as singles over the next few months. “There’s just much to do and so little time,” she signs off.
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