With a keen sense of heritage and true artistry in her blood, Malena Pérez is poised to make a memorable international debut with the release of her first full-length album, “STARS," a body of work sure to take listeners on a delicious sensory journey. Born in Atlanta, Georgia to a Cuban father and German mother, Pérez grew up listening to stories of her father’s homeland and the sounds of Omara Portuondo and Celia Cruz. In her own music, which blends Latin-flavored soul with downtempo, progressive jazz, the songstress explores these early influences and updates them for the modern lounge scene.
“My mother is a pianist and organist and so by default I was singing in the Atlanta Sacred Heart Church Children’s Choir at a very early age. My father started one of the longest-running Latin music radio shows in Atlanta on WRFG/Radio Free Georgia in the late seventies. So I grew up listening to Latin and Brazilian artists like Flora Purim, Mercedes Sosa and Astrud Gilberto and I feel like Latin music will always be at the heart for the music I make. But I’m also inspired by artists like Everything But the Girl, Sade and Minnie Riperton,” says Pérez, offering an explanation for her multi-layered sound.
While her parents were busy instilling a love of music in their daughter, they didn’t forget to educate her on her heritage. “I remember my father once put together an exhibit of rafts that Cubans used to come to the U.S. by water. Some of them just looked like broken branches. It amazed me what people went through to come to this country,” says Pérez, whose interest in the Caribbean diaspora has informed her artistic choices ever since.
Malena's debut 12 vinyl single, Free To Fly (Divine Recordings), written and recorded with Atlanta producer Michael Johnson (KetchaVibe) and remixed by JustOne of KemeticJust, introduced her bilingual vocals and jazzy Latin grooves to the house scene in 2004. When DJs from around the world began playing the track in clubs and lounges, the song quickly made a name for the blossoming artist. Malena was shopping in a local record store one day when the shop owner recognized her, pulled her aside and announced, “I just got off the phone with the distributor [of "Free To Fly"]. It's sold out. Do you have anything else?” Pérez knew she had to record more of her songs and find a way to release them. Her epiphany has led to the anticipated release of her album, “STARS,” a two year labor of love.
Malena currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she is preparing for live performances to support the release of "STARS" across the globe. For more information on Malena Perez and Cubanita Groove Records please visit www.cubanitagroove.com or www.myspace.com/malenaperez.