Malina Moye: “The music business makes you question things, so you have to know your worth... Like Eddie Van Halen said, ‘If it sounds right, then it’s right’“

Malina Moye
(Image credit: Isaiah Mays)

As she prepares to unleash Dirty, Malina Moye’s ethos is simple: “The music business makes you question things, so you have to know your worth, be undeniable, so you’re never ignored. Like Eddie Van Halen said, ‘If it sounds right, then it’s right.’”

When we think about guitarists who have flipped a Stratocaster upside-down, capsizing the world along with it, a few come to mind. But it’s Moye’s gutsy style that has kept lefty-leaning licks at the forefront.

“I would get crazy looks from folks shocked to see a woman playing like I do,” Moye says. “They were even more confused that I played upside-down. They’d say, ‘Sweetheart, you’re holding the guitar wrong; it goes the other way.’ I would say, ‘Oh, okay,’ start playing, and they’d feel stupid and apologize.”

Moye knows that when slinging one’s axe, sometimes one must kick up a little dust. When asked which of Dirty’s tracks best represents her, she says, “I’d have to go with F.I.N.E. I love the guitar tones and the feel. I had to use two guitars in the recording process to get what I was looking for. And I like Courage, too. It has delicious chords, is full sonically and has layers. One note in a chord can easily change the structure. It’s the little nuances that shape my voice.”

Moye has established herself as a player deft in melding funk, blues and rock. But with her last record, Bad As I Wanna Be (2018), she began to heavily introduce elements of contemporary music into the mix, leaving fans to wonder how her sound might further progress.

“I wanted to continue that sound,” Moye says. “I wanted to make something contemporary that reflects my DNA. The theme of Dirty is taking the high road when others do you wrong, which is hard to do. But forgiveness is for you, so you can move on and live a spiritually free life.”

Moye’s penchant for blistering guitar accented by expressive vocals and a demonstrative stage presence have become calling cards. Defined by her early influences, Dirty finds the 38-year-old southpaw preparing to establish her definitive sound.

“I’m constantly learning, and my goal is to continue cultivating my sound and style,” Moye says. “Maybe it’s different guitar tunings or places in my voice I wouldn’t normally sing. I’m striving to expose more of myself – my honesty and truth with as much creativity as possible. Music is a personal journey. It’s really simple; either you get it, or you don’t.”

  • Dirty is out now via WCE Records.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Andrew Daly

Andrew Daly is an iced-coffee-addicted, oddball Telecaster-playing, alfredo pasta-loving journalist from Long Island, NY, who, in addition to being a contributing writer for Guitar World, scribes for Rock Candy, Bass Player, Total Guitar, and Classic Rock History. Andrew has interviewed favorites like Ace Frehley, Johnny Marr, Vito Bratta, Bruce Kulick, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Rich Robinson, and Paul Stanley, while his all-time favorite (rhythm player), Keith Richards, continues to elude him.