PACSUN Feature | The Golden Voice of R&B
by Christine Kim·
Meet Malik the rising artist taking over charts and our hearts by storm.
Malik grew up in a small town in Iowa and was exposed to music early on through his dad. Before he graduated from high school, he traveled across the country to Los Angeles to be a member of Next Town Down – the next great R&B vocal group to bless our ears.
To quickly fill you in Malik, Leon, Tre'von, Terence, and Chris are the five talented artists in Next Town Down. After uniting as a group, they exploded on Musical.ly, becoming the fastest growing music group on the app's history. On top of that, their viral Youtube videos garner millions of views. If you're a R&B lover or appreciate the "evolution of..." music videos then guarantee NTD will be your next artist group on repeat.
Malik's charismatic and talented voice has taken him far in his music career at a young age. A rising start doesn't happen over night, but in his case it happened in a span of few years. Read on to know the inside-scoop.
UPRISERS: How did you get connected with Michelle K. Hanabusa?
Malik: I want to say around two or three years ago. So kind of like around the beginning of 2018 end of 2017. It was with the guys from Next Town Down. She vibed with us and saw us for one of our shows that we were doing down in Anaheim. She got us right and hooked us up with some merch. She's always been good to us – that's always a bonus. She styled us, kept us fresh, looking presentable, and coordinated. From there, we kept the relationship.
How did Next Town Down become a group?
So three of the guys in our group: Terrance, Tre'von, and Chris, they met through social media. Just kind of like how a lot of kids are meeting nowadays. They're singing together, collaborating on certain ideas and thought it'd be cool to start some kind of Black R&B boyband. They started searching online and found our youngest member, Leon who was touring on the Michael Jackson tour. At this time, I was in high school and posted IG covers of me singing and Tre'von was the one that found them.
Once we had all met, it was kind of like the magical moment when you could feel the chemistry. It was one of those crazy moments. I remember the first night we got together, sang, and thought out loud together, the synergy that came from that moment. We kind of knew that this is the group.
How did you get introduced with music growing up in a small town?
My dad is a D.J., so I was around music. But in terms of actually singing and trying to be an artist, it was around my sophomore year of high school. I went up to visit my mom for the summer. I had my sister's car to drive. And when in high school I was able to get a permit, I didn't have my license yet, but I could still drive. I was driving during the summertime and I got in a car accident. I totaled her whole car so I got grounded. This is when I taught myself how to play guitar, which I got for Christmas. I started singing on this app called "You Know." From the feedback, I started thinking I could be an artist. But I was juggling football and basketball. It wasn't until my junior year, when I started songwriting more and started singing at my church back at home.
What is the message you want to relay to your listeners and audience through your music?
I think the message I want to give off, the overall theme is just by focusing it all on like spirituality and mental awareness.
Number one it’s alway for women. I know my biggest audience are women. Having five sisters and seeing the kind of struggles women go through in society, I want to be able to uplift them.
Also trying to build some sort of stable confidence in people, whether it's them seeing me being confident or seeing me being vulnerable, but giving myself to people and letting them react to that. And also to have fun. The main message is really to uprise and uplift– keep moving things forward.
What are your goals moving forward?
Keep developing whether it's in production, writing, and music. Even out of music, I have aspirations to try to make the league, like the NBA. Keeping those little goals in mind. Staying healthy, getting to the gym, and meditating when I can even when I'm discouraged, just have to keep the bigger picture in mind.
How excited are you to be part of the PacSun campaign?
I was so excited about it when Michelle hit me up. Especially because PacSun is really big in the midwest. I remember back in high school it was the go-to store to find some drip that wasn't too expensive. And obviously teaming up with Michelle, getting to see all her hard work have come into fruition. Who knows, in four years UPRISERS might be in Bloomingdales or whatever it is. Just to see the evolution of it is crazy.