This week we got the chance to sit down with German-American artist Malik Harris in the build up to Germany’s Eurovision 2022 national final. Together we got to chat about his approach to music, his love of the Eurovision Song Contest, and got a tease for his staging plans. Learn more about Malik Harris in our interview below!
Hello there Malik and thank you for interviewing with me today! Why don’t you give our readers a quick introduction as to who you are?
Sure! First of all thanks for having me. 🙂 My name is Malik Harris, I’m a 24-year-old German-American musician currently based near Munich, Germany.
Wonderful thank you for that! And for those who are also unfamiliar with your music – what words or phrases would you use to describe your music?
Oh I’m so bad at describing my own music but I’ll try my best. I’d say it’s always honest and personal, it’s very colorful because I love trying out different things so my songs always sound different and there’s always something hidden in my music that you need to take time to find or understand..
I noticed that you describe yourself as a multi-instrumentalist as well – is there an instrument that you’ve always wanted to learn but never had the time to pick up?
Yes, I always wanted to play the violin and the saxophone. Hopefully I’ll one day get to pick them up!
Your YouTube biography also states that you’re a songwriter who utilizes “unconventional songwriting” in your music. Could you explain what makes the music you write so unconventional?
Sure. First of all, I’m an absolute phonetics-freak, so the way that words sound is super important to me.. so I’m not just writing lines whose ends rhyme, but where every single syllable has a phonetic meaning behind it and where most lines rhyme in the beginning, in the middle, in the end and in between. Also I don’t like rules, so a lot of my songs are built untypically, for example I love to rap so I often have an unexpected rap part in the middle of a pop song. I just really like trying new things. 🙂
What is one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you? Like something that they couldn’t just look up on the internet or on your social media?
I studied French and Spanish so I’m able to speak a little bit of both languages in addition to German and English.
And of course, you will be competing in Germany 12 Points this year for a chance to go to Eurovision. What motivated you to submit an entry this year to the national final?
It was my song “Rockstars”. A few weeks after I wrote it, my good friend Robin came up to me and asked if the Eurovision Song Contest was something I might be interested in. I immediately thought about the song and how great I think it would be to perform this particular song on the massive Eurovision stage because it’s so personal and vulnerable and I‘m sure that there are a lot of people who can relate to the lyrics of the song and who can derive some form of support through it, and that has always been something I want to do with my music. Also, “Rockstars” is so different than any other song I’ve ever heard Germany send to the Eurovision song contest, so I was like: why not go for something new? 😀
What are you most looking forward to in regards to the German national final? Is there anything that you’re scared or nervous about?
Right now I’m just super excited and I can’t wait to perform in the final! I’m really looking forward to the feeling of finally standing on a big stage again, after more than 2 years. Also I’m thrilled to be able to perform and share this personal and intimate song in front of all of Germany and then, hopefully, all of Europe.
Speaking of Eurovision do you consider yourself to be a big fan of the contest? Are there any entries that you’ve enjoyed over the last few years?
There are actually a lot of amazing entries that I really enjoyed over the years. Most of all I loved Lena’s super cute and lighthearted performance of ‘Satellite’ (of course :D), but also the intimacy of Duncan Lawrence’s ‘Arcade’ and the pure power of Måneskin’s show last year.
And on the subject of songs, talk to me a bit about your song “Rockstars” – what was the songwriting process like? Could you tell us a little bit more about the message behind the song?
I’d love to! I wrote “Rockstars” after watching an episode of my favorite show The Office and hearing this quote: “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the Good Old Days – before you’ve actually left them.” That moment was so intense for me, I immediately started crying and, after whiping away my tears, also writing this song. It’s about the Good Old Days of my childhood and youth, those lighthearted, mindless times when being happy was so easy and unconditional and how we all somehow leave those times behind at a certain point and get caught up in thoughts, doubts, our everyday lives and so on and so on.
I’m also trying to remind all of us through this song that we should stop always looking for the good old days in the past, but rather try to find them in the present, because they actually never really stop – we just have to change the way we’re looking for them.
Now are there any teases or hints you can give us about your live performance and staging for the Germany 12 Points show?
We’re still working on some things so I can’t tell you everything yet but what I can say is that the show will be very close to the dramaturgy of the song, so it will start super intimately and raw and turn bigger and bigger, resulting in a huge finish.
Also, the way I always perform live is alone on stage, playing all the instruments myself using my Loop Station. So in this performance I see myself starting on the piano, then playing the drums and the guitar and looping it all together while singing.
Now for those who want to connect with you ahead of or after the national final, where can they find you and your music?
Everywhere, actually. 😀 I just released my debut album last year and every song I’ve released so far can be found on all streaming platforms – I also always shoot big music videos which can all be found on YouTube. Also I’m very active on all social media platforms where I’m still doing everything myself and answer to every single message and comment.. even though that’s very very time consuming 😀
Alright, one final question for you – is there any message you’d like to share with our readers?
Well, in light of all the current events, I can imagine how many of you are feeling right now. These are very scary days and if you’re anything like me, you probably feel a little overwhelmed and powerless, but I think it’s important for all of us to remain hopeful, let our voices be heard, trust our democratic systems and partners and stand together in unity with the innocent people of Ukraine who are under assault right now. I pray for those affected by Putin’s irrational and horrible actions and hope you all out there stay safe. Love you all.
That is a wonderful message to end on, and of course I agree with everything you’ve mentioned. But Malik I want to thank you again for your time and we wish you the best of luck on March 4th!
Thank you so much! I really appreciate it and I enjoyed your questions a lot, thank you.