King Mala is an alternative soul artist based in Los Angeles. AKA Areli Castro, the El Paso born musician pens songs which touch on themes from lust, sexuality and badass femininity.
Not afraid to spill her guts, the songwriter set out with the hopes to spark confidence in both herself and her listeners, creating music that will make you walk taller and speak louder. Both her music and visuals experiment with masculine tropes, sharing «There’s something about taking something traditionally masculine and wearing it as a woman that makes me feel really powerful». These masculine threads weave throughout everything she does, hence King rather than Queen and «Mala» which roughly translates to «bad bitch» in Spanish. Sharing her feelings from the bottom of her heart King Mala encourages you to dig deep and connect with your inner-self. Life is messy and we shouldn’t feel ashamed to show our emotions and speak our mind.
Her latest single «She Calls Me Daddy» oozes with sass and power, with the songwriter claiming her sexuality and putting expectant men in their place. The song narrates her experience of men trying to steal her girl right in front of her eyes. King Mala describes this as «a sucky reality of being in a queer relationship». Eliciting both a gentleness and fierceness, King Mala uses darker themes, turning them into lighter toned songs and taking some of the weight off of the troubles of life.
«She Calls Me Daddy» has a gentle, playful tone. With a laxed, trippy beat that sits under a muffled, easy-going bassline, the song progresses to subtle piano and stabbing synths, adding a tasteful glaze of character. The production unravels like a witty story – in its simplicity it leaves the crown for the musician’s phenomenally clever and mesmerising lyrical ability. Playing on metaphors and sharing moments of her experiences through a King Mala lens, the track allows her to take back her power and own who she is. She confesses, «The whole ‘I’m gonna steal your girlfriend’ vibe was so cool to play around with but in all seriousness I really just want to normalise queer relationships and empower women and non-binary folks and make them feel badass».