Malina Moye Discusses Her New Album, ‘Bad As I Wanna Be’

(Image credit: Josh Schultz)

Bad As I Wanna Be is the third album from acclaimed singer/songwriter and southpaw guitarist, Malina Moye. An album of genre-defying sounds that fuse elements of funk, rock, blues and soul and draws from Moye’s wide variety of influences.

A celebration of self, Moye draws from personal experience in songs like “Betta Than U” and “Enough," the latter of which also appears in the upcoming film, The Samuel Project. Bad As I Wanna Be also marks Moye’s first #1 on the Billboard Blues Album Chart.

Guitar World recently spoke with Moye about Bad As I Wanna Be and more in this new interview.

You mentioned that Jimi Hendrix and Prince are huge influences on you and your playing. What was it about their artistry that appealed to you?

It was the freedom they evoked as artists in how they played; what they looked like, the clothes that they wore and the expressions they had when they played. With them, there was always one common denominator, and that was that it's okay to be different. That's what makes you you. I think that when it comes to the artists you love, in a crazy way, you see a piece of yourself in them.

How would you describe Bad As I Wanna Be in terms of its sounds and how it relates to some of your previous work?

It’s a continuation of my last album, Rock & Roll Baby, but with a more produced sound. I wanted to make it as close radio-friendly as we could, but not to miss the essential elements of the guitar. With Rock & Roll Baby, we made a guitar-driven record that showcased what I wanted to project. With this new record, I wanted to focus more on the songwriting and the melodic [and] draw on my influences from growing up in Minnesota. That sound is in my DNA. I wanted to explore that lane but at the same time continue to evolve and make it a little more contemporary. This album came from a very special place.

What inspires you when you write and create?

It could be many things. With the song, “Betta Than U," that started when I was just tuning up. Other times, someone will say something or throw on a track and I’ll hear a melody and start to write. When someone touches a nerve, it's amazing how your body and energy and the process of what you’re feeling reacts. It flows like a faucet.

What else can you tell me about “Betta Than U”?

It started out when I was tuning and warming up. All of a sudden, the line just came into my mind. I started playing it more and more. Then I thought, what if we did it in the vein of Queen's "We Will Rock You" and Joan Jett's "I Love Rock & Roll"? I wanted it to have a lift to it. It was powerful. I even remember being in the studio with the lyrics. One of my background singers looked at them and said to me, "Damn, Malina. Who pissed you off?" [laughs].

How about the track, “Enough”?

That’s one of my favorites. I wanted to express an emotional journey of the ups and downs a person can go through. When you listen, you’ll hear the dynamics of the band and the guitar solo. I wanted to give it as much feel and soul as possible.

What’s your current setup like?

For me, when you find something that works, you go with it. I've always been a big fan of Fender and my Strat. It's a left-handed body with a right-handed headstock. Everything is restrung backwards. I’m using DiMarzio pickups, Dean Markley strings and a Hot Rod Deville 212.

Are there any other projects you’re currently working on?

Not only did I contribute a song, “Enough”, for the upcoming movie, The Samuel Project, but I’m also acting in the movie as well. I play the role of Violet Leroux, an art director who gives a young boy an opportunity to change his life.

What are you most looking forward to about this next phase of your career?

There’s so much to look forward to right now. I’m excited to get back on tour. To take the music and meet people and new fans. I wake up every day just grateful and blessed to be where I am. I’m excited to explore more possibilities; to continue to challenge myself and to take it to the next level. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that you did the best you could do.

James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.

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James Wood

James is a guitarist and freelance writer who's interviewed some of the biggest names in music. He is the author of four books and his writing credits include work for Guitar World, AXS and Yahoo! as well as for his hometown newspaper where he writes on a variety of topics with both passion and humor. As a guitarist, he's performed everywhere from local bars and nightclubs to some of the biggest stages in front of thousands of music fans.