At the intersection of rural roads and glittering boulevards, Malea McGuinness – singer, songwriter, and storyteller – arrives with Sweet, a fully realized suite of songs performed by her band with a Grammy-winning producer behind the board. It is a vibrant backdrop for the sound and soul of a compelling artist.
Live audiences certainly get it. With her commanding stage presence and expressive voice, Malea McGuinness can captivate 10,000 listeners at Summer Fest in Milwaukee opening for The Counting Crows, and for other marquee artists like Shawn Colvin, Kenny Wayne Shepard and Kenny Loggins, who she joined for an extensive tour. It was esteemed Los Angeles-based producer-engineer-mixer Jim Scott who suggested tracking Malea live with her touring band. “We had 10 days of recording,” she says. “But Jim knows how to bring out the best in every musician.”
The mélange of sounds reveals a profound reverence for the fabled Laurel Canyon era of Los Angeles country-rock that Malea updates with a decidely modern perspective. Among her co-writers is Nashville bard Gary Burr, an inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
A dreamy pedal steel introduces “Miss Moonlight,” a gorgeously melodic ode that frames a self-fulfilled woman dancing in the heavens. “Sweet,” the title track, is a wondrous affirmation of the powers of love. “Something To Believe In,” speaks to the tough realities in modern day America according to the artist. “People are having a difficult time – these lyrics come from when I was too. Art and music are here to uplift others.”
Malea is also committed to helping the four-legged members of our world through her live performances, where she donates a portion of proceeds from CD sales to animal charities and The Humane Societies across the country.
Born in Ft. Hood, Texas to a Korean mother and a Green Beret father, Malea’s early life was spent relocating and readjusting. Says Malea, “Childhood molds you. It gives you something to prove your whole life. We are all at different timelines and stages.” For Malea, it was a spotlight that led from her grandparent’s home the day after high school graduation to preeminent music colleges to a Broadway role in a revival of The King & I with Lou Diamond Phillips. Reinventing herself as a songwriter in Los Angeles, she began channeling her intuition, ambitions and celestial alchemy into songs.
Sweet, Malea McGuinesses’ third release, follows her debut, True Believer, and the follow-up,Close As Air. Supported by national tour dates, both secured broad exposure across satellite and terrestrial radio.
With Malea’s new record, it is all there: the declaration of self-discovery, the sacred value of life, and the power to love and to be loved: Real life stories, authentic songs, dues paid. The artistry is polished with grit, grace and gratitude. The result is ever so Sweet.