This is Nice to Meet You, for all your need-to-know information on the need-to-get-to-know new voices in pop culture. Think of it as a blind date, if the date were cooler than anyone you’ll probably ever go out with. Allow us to break the ice; we promise you’ll fall in love.
“I don’t know if I was supposed to say that—fuck it,” says Oliver Malcolm, a 20-year-old multi-hyphenate and the UK’s most exciting musician right now. The Swedish-born talent got his start DJing at the age of 12, teaching himself to “spin records” and eventually learning to produce. Now, having worked with some of the freshest underground musical acts around like Joey Bada$$, Aluna George, and Tinashe to name a few, the London-raised musician is ready to become a star—a bright shining pop star exuding raw talent, funky music, and bold fashion choices. With “The Machine,” the rebel anthem from his upcoming EP, out later this year, it’s clear that this visionary London bad boy is here to make noise, spread love, and fuck shit up, just a little bit. Below Malcolm reveals a few personal things, from his hidden talent to his side hustle.
On his side hustle: I’m writing a book. I paint. I’ve written a short film. Obviously, I got more music videos coming. Treatments for some really cool videos actually. I’ve been writing a lot. I do a lot of poetry. I’m putting together the poetry book. That’s a future project.
On his hidden talent: I’m a black belt in Judo. I did it for seven years when I was seventeen. It always stays with me. I didn’t go to a lot of fucking classes and shit. I got the urge the other day, though.
On the relationship with his homies: I got mad at one of my homies. I didn’t have to get that mad. He did something, but he was just doing it out of good intention. I got defensive. Then I looked in the mirror, probably the next day when I’d calmed down, “Damn, I didn’t have to do that. That’s embarrassing.” I called him up. “Sorry, bro. I turned up for no reason. I’m embarrassed.”
On happiness: It’s just about improvement. Music, family, good times, good vibrations, love. What really, down to the core, what makes you happy? If we approach every question down to the core, what makes me happy: It’s love, man—love for things and thus receiving love from things. A candle doesn’t lose its own flame, it just lights the other candle.
On what makes him nervous: Instantly my mind went to think of nerves as bad things, but nerves could also be good things. What makes me nervous in a good way is the idea of performance. This is something I’ve been exploring more recently because I’ve never really done a full live show or a full live performance. I’ve seen that vision of me on the stage performing, wow I’m actually putting into physical practice the idea of performance and the idea of embodied energy.
On his upcoming EP: This project I got coming up it’s like an eight-track thing. It’s called the Inevitable Disappearance of Oliver Malcolm. I don’t know if I was supposed to say that, fuck it. That’s what I called it. I’m currently working on the cover art for it. I’m very excited about it. I made so much music since I started singing when I was back in London last year. I was figuring out this whole singing thing, but these were the first eight tracks I was proud of.
On the impact of music in his life: I got into this world of making music just through being a fan of music. I’m like an ultra music geek nerd. I will listen to everything and anything. I love it because it makes me feel some type of way. I love it because it can make certain moments in life feel like a movie. Man, I’m just so obsessed with music. Honestly, I would say, my longing to create cool pieces of music are the reason I do ti.
On his musical inspirations: Every day it changes. Off the top of my head, Kanye [West], Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Pete and Gabriel, and Buju Banton. I’ve been listening to recently. Billy Boy and Little Harry, they got some really cool shit, man, all different countries obviously, like Colombian and Peruvian music too.