One of my favorite things about the music industry is linking up with badass, amazing womxn that rock. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview a fellow Ernie Ball endorsee, Maleny Mikels, who has recently released a new music video for her song “In Between Worlds.” I invite you to check out both versions, the electric version and the acoustic versions of the song, and read more about this boss Womxn below.
Tell us a little bit about you. How did you come to play guitar, and what inspired you to pick it up and say, “this is the instrument I want to play”?
My name is Maleny Mikels; I’m a guitarist and a composer. I’m also a writer and a former lawyer. I’ve always loved music. I started playing the keyboards at the age of five, where I taught myself how to play until I was around seven years old when I began taking a few lessons.
I first fell in love with the guitar when I was eight years old. There was something very special about the sound and expression of the instrument that made me realize it was meant to be the instrument that I played. I remember listening to Ottmar Liebert and Paco de Lucía when I was a kid and being amazed by their music and the sound of the guitar, which led me to eventually studying classical guitar when I was eleven or twelve years old. It wasn’t until years later that I switched to electric guitar after listening to Mike Stern, and the rest is history in the making.
Where do you live, and what do you do in the music industry?
I live in New York City and Mexico City. I’m currently in Mexico City but rotate between the two during the pandemic.
I work as a composer and session musician, both live and in the studio, but I have also been working hard on my solo project after just releasing my first single, ‘In Between Worlds.’
You just released a new single called “In Between Worlds.” Tell us what the title means and how you came to name it.
My first single is called ‘In Between Worlds’ because it’s about being caught in between two worlds, referring to living in a physical world while there’s so much happening around us that we can feel and perceive, but most of the time, we can’t see, which is in the realms of the spiritual world.
I love the instrumental. What inspired this song?
Thank you! I wanted my first single to be as personal as possible and to reflect everything I am and feel. Even though it is an instrumental song, I think it is as personal and honest as it gets. I was inspired by my own experience in this world.
Tell us a little bit about the main difference in feeling between the electric and acoustic versions you recorded. What things do you want the listener’s ear to be drawn to?
The technique on the guitar is a little bit different on both versions. Since most of the song is fingerstyle, there are some parts where the arpeggios go up to 147 bpm in sixteenth notes. My main challenge while recording this was to play as clean as possible. On the electric guitar, it was quite easy, but on the electro-acoustic one, it was a bit of a challenge because the electronic system of my Godin guitar picks up everything, like every little sound! Even if I moved my right arm a little bit, it would get recorded, lol. Also, the strength applied on the fretboard is very different on electric vs. acoustic guitars. The genre is what people would call classical crossover or contemporary instrumental. The main version (which was recorded with my Ernie Ball Music Man electric guitar) has some programmed drums and percussions, so it gives a more contemporary and fusion sound. The acoustic version (which was recorded with my Godin electroacoustic guitar) is just guitar, bass, and strings, and it falls more-so towards the contemporary classical side. The string instruments have more presence, and the bass line is a little bit different.
The acoustic version feels closer and deeper to me.
Do you plan on making more music? If so, when can we expect to hear something from you?
Absolutely! I hadn’t worked on my solo project before since I was busy working on other people’s music (which I truly love), but now that I’ve finally started working on my solo project, I want to put out as much music as I possibly can. I’m working from my home studio, and I’m planning on releasing more singles and videos this year!
What do you want your fans and the listeners to take from your song?
I want everyone who listens to ‘In Between Worlds’ to be touched somehow and to feel something inside them, whatever that is in their personal experience. I’d also like people who don’t listen to instrumental music to give it a chance and see that there’s so much to be said just with music.
What advice would you give to any young girls or female-identifying musicians looking to make a career in the music industry?
I’d tell them to never give up and to always believe in themselves. Even though society is moving towards equality, there’s still so much to do and to improve regarding giving respect to women. As young girls, it is very likely that they’ll encounter disapproval and disadvantages at some point, so the best they can do is not to listen to negative and retrograde people and to work hard on their art. Also, to get to know their instrument as much as possible in every way and to never stop learning.