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by Sabrina Fearon-Melville

With a Dove award under his belt and over 35 million streams, Steven Malcolm is breathing new life into a forgotten Hip Hop world.

Press play on Steven Malcom’s tunes and you’d be hard-pressed to not think that the soulful singer hasn’t been a church kid listening to gospel music all his life. “I didn’t grow up in the church, I didn’t grow up Christian, just grew up a regular kid. I started off listening to Bob Marley because my father’s Jamaican; so all we had playing in the household was reggae music.”

From the sounds of Bob Marley and the Wailers through to discovering Hip Hop music legends like Snoop Dogg, Steven’s early childhood was shaped by both the music his family raised him on as well as what was being played by his peers. So, in 2010, at just 19 years old and on the cusp of “a young man becoming a man” Steven found God, and started making music that felt like he had really found his purpose.“You’ll always hear my foundation,” he tells us, “reverting back to my faith, because that’s what got me started on music.”

And since, he’s worked to make a name for himself in a space that is still coming to terms with the cross-pollination of gospel as a musical genre. Having been nominated for New Artist of the Year once and Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song of the Year thrice at the GMA Dove Awards, Steven isn’t showing signs of stopping or slowing down at all. In fact, he’s keen to tell us that even after his most recent EP,  All Is True, which was released in July that it’s only “a great appetizer for what’s to come, which is the album in 2022”.

But in focusing back on the present, and All Is True, which features nominated single ‘Glory On Me’, Steven’s process for this EP was unlike the way he’s worked on previous projects. “Shout out to my producer Street Symphony and the Track or Die team,” he tells us, “I wanted them to produce the whole EP, so they flew me into West Palm Beach. And I didn’t really know what to expect, it was a whole different process than what I’m used to.” Working from 5 till 5 in the studio to finish the EP wasn’t something Steven had envisaged when embarking on the project back in 2019 but it’s where they ended up. “It was the first time I had co-writers as well, so it was definitely a quick, really dope process. We honestly finished the whole thing, November 2019, pre COVID.”

Steven then went on to add additional records, ‘Auto Pilot’ and ‘Glory On Me’, both written during the pandemic and by Steven alone. It was also the period that his wife was pregnant with their son, which turned out to be muse enough for the artist: “[My son] inspired it, honestly. It came easy.”

When we ask him how his peers have reacted to the EP once completed he told us, “It’s always dope when you get acceptance from your peers, you know, or like people you look up to. One of the homies in our genre that I’ve really looked up to and I’ve always listened to his music, he hit me with a text like, “bro, all I’ve been listening to this week”, and it’s ‘your EP man, like, it’s fire, and soul’.” In looking to the future, Steven would really love to collaborate with either “Big Sean or a Marley”, as well as go back to his musical roots: “I’d love to do a reggae record one day”.

And whose music has gotten Steven through the tumultuous last 16 months? Well he loves Sir and Nigerian sweetheart Tems: “She’s on Drake’s album, but my wife put me on her a minute ago. She’s got a dope EP out.” Also with his ear to the ground on recent releases, Steven’s been listening to J Cole, Kanye West and Drake.

Looking ahead to the future, Steven’s super excited to get back on the road to tour, “Honestly, it feels like a long time coming because I’ve always been on the road, I’ve always been doing shows from even when I was an independent artist and working part-time at Nordstrom. Like I was always just doing shows. So now to actually just have this and have everything be official, it just feels like I like it’s about time that the world in these cities and my fans can actually like experience Steven Malcolm raw, uncut and just at my best So I’m excited.”

Steven Malcom’s EP ‘All Is True’ is available to stream now. 

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