Steven Malcolm is Michigan’s best kept secret. Sonically, the Grand Rapids wordsmith’s tonal versatility is unmatched, spotlighting his affinity for uptempo production, while also reaffirming his Jamaican lineage with a reggae undertone.
He has this natural tendency to expand on a concept without seeking validation, just melodic voice inflections.
Steven’s inception in music is faith-based, tracing back to the church. “I started making music when I began leading worship at my church in 2011,” he shares. With a purpose-driven approach to champion his claim to fame, the poppy crooner has made his presence felt by notching millions of streams across platform.
Most recently, with some assistance from Grammy-Award winning Reggae vocalist, Shaggy, the duo delivered a hypnotic remix to Steven’s latest strain titled “Fuego” — a motivational effort suffused with a Patois accent. “His energy, passion, and wisdom is like none other,” Steven revisits the full circle moment behind collaborating with the “It Wasn’t Me” composer.
A noteworthy mention without a doubt, penning a feature from someone of Shaggy’s stature is iconic in every sense of the word, but Steven is also cementing his musical legacy in his own right, one on-demand stream at a time. Listening to his music, there’s no way to pinpoint where the drama ends and the party begins, but one thing is for certain — Steven Malcolm doesn’t shy away from standing out. He embraces the challenge behind growing into his sound, organically. A man of purpose, our conversation follows below.
Who exactly is Steven Malcolm?
Steven Malcolm is a Jamaican hip-hop artist from Grand Rapids, MI. I grew up without my father in the household and my mother suffered from substance abuse. I found an escape in my gifts. Growing up, I played sports to keep me focused and worked hard to make a positive change in my family’s life. I hope my passion and devotion towards music inspires people throughout the world.
When and why did you start making music?
I started making music when I began leading worship at my church in 2011. Within months of being there the pastor asked me to lead [worship] with my songs. After performing, I noticed the impact my music had on the audience. Rapping on the stage felt right and I knew it was my purpose. I’ve tried to use my music as a tool to impact and inspire people ever since that moment.
With your roots tracing back to Jamaica, what was it like working with Grammy-Award winning phenom, Shaggy – that’s a huge mention.
Working with Shaggy was LEGENDARY!!!! He’s a great artist but more importantly a great person. His energy, passion, and wisdom is like none other. Honestly, it was the best experience thus far with a collaboration.
Thematically speaking, what is the overall message with “Fuego”? It’s such a high-energy release.
The overall message of the “Fuego (Remix)” record is to inspire people to be on fire when it comes to whatever you’re passionate about. I believe our energy is contagious, so with this record I wanted to display that fire in hopes to ignite the world.
What is the hardest part about divvying up your time, in regards to finding a work-life balance as a professional recording artist?
The hardest part has been living in the moment and turning my [creative] brain off. As a creator my mind is constantly racing with ideas. I always try to remind myself to be present, especially during family time with my wife. Staying out of my head and cellphone can be a challenge (laughs).
How do you feel about advocacy in the hip-hop community – are you a fan of artists using their platform for more than music-related discourse?
Advocacy is vital in the hip-hop community. Hip-Hop is the only outlet where we are free to say ANYTHING! It’s a culture that gives a voice to the voiceless. I’m a bigger LeBron [James] fan because of what he does off the court. If you’re a person of influence, you MUST use your voice for change.
All things considered, outside of the accolades, notoriety and money – what is the most gratifying part about your journey so far as an artist?
The most gratifying thing is knowing my music is impactful, authentic, and soothing to my fans.
With your aptitude for growing an international fan base, how important is it to find a commonality amongst listeners, on a global scale?
It’s vital to find commonality. The blessing for an artist like me is that I rap about real life issues and topics, meaning as long as I’m human, EVERYONE will relate.
Can we expect a follow up to 2019’s The Second City anytime soon?
The follow up is coming at the end of October. I have a nasty EP hitting the streets soon! It’s gonna change a lot.
What has a life of quarantine and seclusion looked like for Steven Malcolm in 2020?
Life in quarantine has turned me into Rocky Balboa! I’ve found time to become a gym rat again and I love it! Not to mention, I have a son on the way. So despite 2020 being crazy, there’s many blessings in the midst.