Chris Malinchak: “Create when you feel inspired!”

Create when you feel inspired! Only do things that feel good! And be physical.Between tunes, go run up to the top of a mountain and back! Find some scaffold and do some pull-ups! Or throw around some weights! This is hugely important. Your body must be driven. As part of our series about rising music stars, I […]

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Create when you feel inspired! Only do things that feel good! And be physical.
Between tunes, go run up to the top of a mountain and back! Find some scaffold and do some pull-ups! Or throw around some weights!

This is hugely important. Your body must be driven.

As part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Brooklyn-born, New Jersey based producer/DJ Chris Malinchak who has reached the hearts of fans internationally through his worldly fusion of jazz, r&b, and electronic music.

Active on the scene for over a decade, Chris shot to international acclaim with 2013 hit single ‘So Good To Me’ which catapulted him into becoming a household name, racking up over 53 million hits on YouTube alone. The track hit #1 on Shazam’s most searched songs, and gained the attention of one of electronic music’s most coveted tastemakers including Pete Tong as well as adored international superstar Adele who called the track “Beautiful.”

Releasing on the highly sought after now defunct label French Express, this was followed up by ‘If U Got It’ the following year, a similarly sunkissed dance track that reached #7 in the UK Dance charts. Chris proceeded to release music via his own imprint 2 Crows as his music career continued to blossom. As did his touring career, Malinchak found himself gracing the stages of Coachella, Creamfields, and BBC Radio One in Ibiza and, more recently, making regular appearances at Elsewhere in NY and Sound in LA.

In 2017 Chris met Canadian pop darling Kiesza known for the crossover hit ‘Hideaway’, launching the beginnings of a fruitful friendship from 2018’s “Mother,” praised by tastemaker Paper Magazine for the music video’s “effortlessly cool audiovisual experience” to their collaborative EP ‘Weird Kid,’ which racked up almost 6 million plays on Spotify alone. More recently, he’s been guiding the singer’s path back to songwriting following her traumatic brain injury in 2016, and working on their forthcoming collaborative project MALINKIESZA.

Fast forward to 2020, ‘The Godfather of Chill’ fittingly re-launched his legendary weekly Friday night show on Sirius XM Chill. He has taken the lockdown period to launch ‘Friday Night Live’, a regular live piano performance that sees him play what comes to mind/heart and record via Instagram Live, a testament to his abilities as a multi-instrumentalist outside of the world of electronic music.

Malinchak, who refuses to be constrained by one genre, is getting ready to release his most ambitious project to date, Night Work, due out in 2021 via Ultra Music, his first original full-length album. For Malinchak, there is no limit to the future: “The sky’s the limit, baby! I couldn’t be more excited. Truly. And I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I appreciate it thank you! Whoa…well, that’s a story. Certainly music has always been a part of it. And more than

that. It’s been a constant companion since I got here. I really can’t remember not playing. I started the piano very early on.
And I was lucky to be mostly left alone while still being nurtured.

I mean, I would get up every night at midnight to practice during those early years.
It was intense. There were things I needed to do. And nobody ever asked me to stop. I’m grateful for that.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ll have to go with my Dad’s motorcycle accident. He would take his Harley out most mornings just for the fun of it. I was still nearly a baby one morning when the phone rang. My Mom picked it up. Moments later we were on our way to the hospital. A few months later he made it home. But he needed to be still. This is something he can’t do!

haha So, he decided to learn to do something he always wanted to do. Play the piano.

They got an upright, and I literally lived on it. It would be many years before my feet would reach the floor. He built me a special footstool 🙂

Truth is I never gave a single thought to what I would “do” one day. It just kind of all happened. Life just happens. Making and sharing music was bound to be a part of it.

You know, I’ve always loved the feeling of not knowing what’s next. Wake up and go! Just see what happens! Be curious and do things.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

There are lots! But as I’m writing this, one in particular jumps to mind.

It was the first show I played after releasing “So Good To Me”. This was in LA. “So Good To Me” came out just the week before, and when I closed the set with it, everybody already knew the words. They stopped dancing and just watched and I could see it in their eyes. I could feel it. Whatever that moment was saturated me. I teared up.

And I just thought of a letter written by a middle school student from England. He told me how much my music means to him. He listed every song he loves. He also shared the daily struggles he faces with his health. It isn’t possible to measure how much this means. It is an absolute a joy and a privilege.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

There aren’t really mistakes 🙂 But you best believe you learn along the way! So…Radio 1 flew me out for their annual Summer Ibiza event right after “So Good To Me” blew up. This was the first time I played a show on this scale…big crowd, cameras everywhere…I walked up to the stage as Pete Tong finished delivering his glowing and commanding intro.

I stepped up to the table, hit play and….silence! What is this?? We tested everything! Uh-oh!! haha Don’t worry, I got things going 🙂 I switched out the decks and all was good and even took us out on the piano! Crazy!

Lesson? Expect the unexpected. You gotta be ready for whatever. Soundchecks mean nothing!
Truly, be prepared. Be flexible.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

For sure I’m excited about my first album coming out. It’s called Night Work. But we certainly aren’t waiting for the album to hear new CM! haha I’m always putting out new tunes 🙂
The Letter EP is one of my more recent releases. I’ve got other things on the fire too, but I’ll tell you about these when their paths become clear. I also thoroughly enjoy doing my weekly radio/mixshow appropriately called The Malinchak Show. I started it back up with my crew at Sirius/ XM last Summer. They’re family over there 🙂

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

I can’t imagine the person I’d be had I not had the good fortune to ceaselessly meet the gifted and beautiful and open-minded people I’ve met since my journey here began.

And you know, it started so early that I hadn’t yet seen or heard the unfortunate things one will run into in this world.

All that mattered was how good you felt with them. The ideas and stories shared. The wisdom exchanged. That’s all that should ever matter.

That’s all that does matter. That’s not a simplification. It goes without saying that every single soul is here with boundless gifts to share. But the struggles and issues and scars are there too.

We’ll get there. Patience and kindness and a willingness to learn will go a long way.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

So ok. Here’s what I would say to somebody just getting in it.

Be open, listen, learn, love, and ALWAYS follow your instincts. Lots of people say lots of things. Especially when you’ve got a hit on your hands. And they’re good people with good intentions!
But ultimately you know what you need, what you want, and what feels right. And remember, your instincts have gotten you to where you are now. If your heart’s in the right place, you can’t go wrong 🙂

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Create when you feel inspired! Only do things that feel good! And be physical.
Between tunes, go run up to the top of a mountain and back! Find some scaffold and do some pull-ups! Or throw around some weights!

This is hugely important. Your body must be driven.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

A single thought. A vision. A dream! All of this preceded by a feeling. I felt sad just before when I was riding my mountain bike and chanced upon a big beautiful healthy tree cut down and lying in pieces by the side of the road. I teared up. This magnificent creature was destroyed.

Why? And at what cost?

How can we teach? How can we inspire respect and appreciation for life? For all life?
Let’s figure this out. Together. I’ll happily lead the charge! When we do, I suspect so many of the problems we face will cease being problems.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Oh my goodness this is SO true. The list of those I am grateful to is endless. But at the top is my father. In so many ways. He has always been and always is there for me. He was my first friend.

We would endlessly take walks when I was tiny and and we would talk and talk and he would listen to all I had to say. I am endlessly thankful because in truth there were very few I felt I could share with.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I was little and upset with my Dad. Just a misunderstanding, a frustration…but it happened at night and I went to bed feeling sad and angry and I went out of my way to not say goodnight. He came in my room gently and sat on the edge of the bed and spoke to me in a way he had never spoken before. He simply said never go to bed angry. And he’s right.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Oh geez…that’s a tough one! One person? David Attenborough.

Maybe he’ll join our quest.

How can our readers follow you online?

@ChrisMalinchak on the socials. And I’m always putting up new music so Spotify, Apple Music…let’s make this simple haha everywhere 🙂

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

This felt special 🙂 Thank you!

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