Since Malakai was a Finalist on this year’s Britain’s Got Talent where he received Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer, last month saw Malakai release his debut album Golden, which reached number one in the UK classical charts and features the songs performed on the show, along with other favourites. Malakai has released two music videos for his songs Pie Jesu and Benedictus, both filmed at St Paul’s Cathedral, and he performed with the English National Opera for Classic FM Live at the Royal Albert Hall this year, a venue he’ll return to on September 7th for BBC Proms. On stage, Malakai sang the role of Oberto in Alcina at the Royal Opera House, which won Best New Opera Production at the 2023 Olivier Awards. Catching up with Malakai, he talked to us about the release of his debut album Golden last month, receiving Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer and being a Finalist on this year’s Britain’s Got Talent and his time in Alcina at the Royal Opera House.
How did you feel releasing your debut album Golden on 21st July and what has the response been like from your listeners?
It’s been amazing to be able to listen to my album, to be able to say, “Let’s play Golden!”. It’s been great. And a lot of people bought it, because it got number one in the charts and everything. So it’s just, like, really cool!
Can you tell us about the album and how was it choosing the tracklist?
Choosing the tracklist was kind of easy because it was mostly songs from Britain’s Got Talent and then other songs that I thought would sound great, like Ombra mai fu and these types of songs that I thought would sound nice. Recording Golden was really easy and fun to do.
How was it seeing the album come together?
Seeing the album come together was great, because obviously there was the photoshoot and we got to take a lot of videos and pictures for the different songs and that was really cool to look at as well. We had a good team.
What was it like filming your music videos for Pie Jesu and Benedictus?
When I filmed, it was really fun because for Benedictus, I was on top of St Paul’s Cathedral and that was really high up and you could see all the landmarks of London. When I was recording Pie Jesu, I was in the big hall of St Paul’s Cathedral, which was really fun as well because it was really lit up and beautiful.
Who do you think will enjoy listening to your debut album and why would you recommend downloading/buying Golden?
I’d say that everyone can listen to my debut album. It has different types of music on it and it’s just really cool to listen to.
How did you find the experience being a Finalist on this year’s series of Britain’s Got Talent?
When I found out that I was going to become a Finalist, I was just really surprised and shocked because I didn’t think that I would make it that far. And obviously a lot of good things stemmed from it!
What did you enjoy most about your time as a contestant and how was it preparing for your performances?
What I probably liked the most about being a contestant was getting to meet other contestants, because they were all really nice and lovely people. So it was really fun to hang out with them.
What was it like receiving Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer and hearing the judges’ feedback to your audition?
When Simon Cowell gave me the Golden Buzzer, I was, like, really happy about that because that was an irreplaceable feeling. And he was one of the people who I didn’t think would give me Golden Buzzer!
Was there anything that encouraged you to audition for Britain’s Got Talent and how was it filming for a live TV talent show?
Well, I just saw the audition poster, so I thought, might as well audition! Why not? And the filming was really long, because we had to be there really early and be there until really late for interviews. So it was really long, but also fun.
Earlier this year, you performed at Classic FM Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the English National Opera, can you tell us about this?
When I performed at the Royal Albert Hall, that was also an exciting thing to do because there were a lot of people there. And the hall looks really nice, it was amazing to perform in. I’m really excited to perform there again at the BBC Proms on September 7th!
How was it meeting Andrew Lloyd Webber in June and duetting with Aled Jones last year?
Meeting Andrew Lloyd Webber was really cool because he is one of the first famous people that I met and he was really nice. And when I sang with Aled Jones, it was really fun to work with him since he is so energetic. I look up to him.
You sang the role of Oberto in the opera Alcina at the Royal Opera House, what was the show like to be part of and how was it having Alcina win Best New Opera Production at the 2023 Olivier Awards?
Being a part of Alcina was exciting as well because that was so unique. There were different animal head costumes lying around and there were some different garden equipments, just a lot of cool stuff because Alcina is a really wild opera. It was wonderful to be a part of. And I found out about the Olivier Awards when I’d searched it up. That was really cool to hear and to be a part of.
Where does your love of music come from and how did you get into it?
My love for music comes from listening to music a lot when I am at home because my family listens to music a lot. So I just picked it up from there. And I started learning music at St George’s Cathedral which was the first choir I was a part of, so that was where I started music.
Do you have any favourite singers/music artists to listen to and how do you like to spend your free time?
Hmm, I just listen to a lot of old music, and jazz. Anything from classical music, to Frank Sinatra, to Harry Styles. I do listen to pop a lot. I like to spend my free time playing games on my PS5 or playing sports outside such as rugby and footie.
Have you been given any advice over your time as a singer so far that has stuck with you?
Probably to save my voice, or not to overuse my voice. A lot of music teachers told me that.
What are you hoping the rest of the year brings for your career and do you have any upcoming concerts or events that you can tell us about?
Well, I hope that I get to visit different countries in the near future. I’m going to Japan and the Middle East this year to sing. I’ll sing at the BBC Proms on September 7th and have more concerts lined up!
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