Singer/songwriter Malea McGuinness is known for her powerful, sensual voice and intimate lyrics. (Take a listen below!) The Korean-Irish American sang opera and on Broadway before turning to her true musical style — an amalgam of pop, rock and country. She shows off her skills — and bares her soul — in her latest album Close As Air, where she sings of the loneliness she felt as a child. Malea spent the first two years of her life with relatives in South Korea before moving in with her strict grandparents in Long Island. She sings of that transition in her song “Stars”: “There’s a wild and lonely child in the airport/Standing there with tears in her eyes.”
Here, Malea lets us in on one of her fondest memories on tour.
This year I was invited to come back and perform at Summerfest, the world s largest musical festival, in Milwaukee, Wisc. It s like being a kid in a candy store. You might have Tom Petty, Train, The Roots, and Kid Rock all performing on different stages the same night! Needless to say, I always have a blast and look forward to it all year. This year I played the Harley Davidson Stage. With all the Harleys mounted and displayed on stage, playing some of my songs, some Allman Brothers covers, I always have to pinch myself.
What makes this show the most fun for me is the audience. I was halfway through my set when I noticed this adorable little Asian girl wearing one of my T-shirts smiling at me. I smiled and sang to her. Though there were thousands of people, I think she knew I was singing to her.
After the show, I went over to my merchandise table, where I get to meet and greet my fans. It is probably my favorite part of the show. It’s a lot of fun to answer questions about my music and get a chance to thank my fans for their support. The little girl from the audience came up to me — her name was Lulu. She had a card and gift for me. I was so blown away, so touched that she had thought of me. She made me a card with her picture, which is now up on my bulletin board, and a pair of earrings I’ll always treasure. After spending some time with her I took down her address from her mom. As soon as I arrived home, I opened my jewelry making case and made something special for her and her mom.
And that’s what music is all about. Making people happy. It doesn’t get better than this.
– Malea McGuinness