8Questions with Jessi Malay, Hapa Artist

I openly admit I am a gangsta rap fan. So I have to constantly remind myself that there is more music out there than 2Pac, Dr. Dre, and/or Snoop Doggy Dog. One talented hapa artist I’ve been following (that isn’t a gangsta rapper) is Jessi Malay. I have been lucky enough to have gotten to know her in the last couple of years and have found her to be more than just a “pop” singer. Jessi is intelligent (way more intelligent than me), beautiful, and most of all talented.

Check out her latest music video, Role Play, and you’ll see what I mean:

If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would it be?

Passionate to a fault, bi-racial and proud, relentless in my pursuit of art, love, success, and the balance in between.

Tell us about your latest project.

I am currently working on a dance based album of love and parties…I have been very inspired musically on recent trips to Rio and Bahia, Brazil, and through my studies at UCLA in the World Arts and Cultures/Dance Department where I learned everything from House Hip-Hop to West African and Samba. Many of the rhythms you will be hearing in my music are influenced by those beats and dance styles.

I am currently working with up and coming producer Deep Watters, songwriter Mika Lett (toured with Christina Aguilera, Macy Gray, Neyo, etc) Morgan Taylor Reid and Prophet (7Lions) to tailor a distinct sound that will run with and against the current dance trend in music.

Okay, a fun question. If you could dance any one dance perfectly, which dance would you choose?

I am most in love with Samba right now because the speed of the steps and the music you dance it to gives me some kind of natural high…lol

However, if there was one dance form I would love to master, it would be ballet. I have not focused on ballet since I was little and I think it’s such a beautiful and demanding style that requires years and years of discipline and training. I’d also really like to master the Dougie!!!! lol

Advice for young female Asian American/Hapa artists?

Be proud of being Asian American or mixed!! Don’t let any preconceived “Asian” stereotypes influence who you are, how you want to be perceived or what kind of music/art you think you need to do…We can be LOUD, SEXY, SMART, CHALLENGING, ECCENTRIC, and everything in between.

Finally, how can people find more about your music and about your exclusive Facebook contest?

Some of my music is currently available on iTunes…I am most active on my Facebook page  which is where you can also be a part of my “Role Play” contest. I’ve been having a lot of fun reading everybody’s Role Play fantasies and if you share yours and it’s juicy, you will win a $250 gift certificate to Victoria’s Secret! You can see all of my music videos and more on my YouTube channel. Also follow me on Twitter. I am also completely obsessed with Instgram (Jmalay)!

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About Koji Steven Sakai

Writer/Producer Koji Steven Sakai is the founder of Little Nalu Pictures LLC and the CEO of CHOPSO (www.CHOPSO.com), the first Asian English streaming video service. He has written five feature films that have been produced, including the indie hit, The People I’ve Slept With. He also produced three feature films, a one hour comedy special currently on Netflix, and Comedy InvAsian, a live and filmed series featuring the nation’s top Asian American comedians. Koji’s debut novel, Romeo & Juliet Vs. Zombies, was released in paperback in 2015 and in audiobook in 2016 and his graphic novel, 442, was released in 2017. In addition, he is currently an adjunct professor in screenwriting at International Technological University in San Jose.
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