Welcome to another exclusive interview. Malukah is a Mexican singer, composer and streamer who lives and works in the city of Monterrey, Mexico. Malukah became famous when a video of her cover of the song „The Dragonborn Comes“ from the game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim became a viral video in November 2011. She has had many successful projects with Peter Hollens, Taylor Davis, Jeremy Soule, Jason Graves, Austin Wintory and many others or many exclusive projects for gaming studios. Her vocals can be heard in the games Far Cry Primal, The Banner Saga, The Elder Scrolls: Online etc.
And because she also likes Lindsey, we decided to make interview with this interesting artist.
Hi Malukah, how are you doing? Our readers might be interested in one particular question, why do you call yourself Malukah? Your name Judith de los Santos sounds beautifully, why Malukah then?
Malukah was the name I gave the first World of Warcraft character I created. A Night Elf Hunter. From that, it became the name I used for gaming services because it seemed more cool, and magical than Judith. Hehe! This nickname stuck with me when I started making video game music covers.
At the beginning of our interview, we have to go back to the year 2011 when you released your music cover of a song “The Dragonborn Comes” from a popular videogame The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on your YouTube channel. The video became viral in a short time and it has over 20 millions views to this day. Were you surprised by the positive reactions after the release of your video, or did you have similar experience with your previous videos?
I was very surprised by the response to the video. I was used to sharing music with my family and friends. Certainly no experience with something like this before. It was terrifying at first, even though many comments were positive, I was still afraid that the negative ones would discourage me from sharing music ever again. Thankfully, they didn’t! People were so encouraging.
The success of The Dragonborn Comes has been very important for your musical career. You even released a new album with the same name last year. Does it mean that this song is still close to your heart? Isn’t it sometimes annoying that your fans associate you with this song even though you’ve made many other successful tracks and collaborations?
The Dragonborn Comes is such a beautiful song. The source of the appeal of this music comes from the beloved Elder Scrolls franchise by Bethesda Game Studios and its wonderful soundtrack by Jeremy Soule. I am fortunate to be associated with it because of the cover I made!
Before we get to your music collaborations, can you tell us something about your musical beginnings, like when did you start to play, what’s your favorite musical instrument, who is the most inspiring person (artist) you have met in your life?
I began studying piano at 8 years old. It was my favorite instrument until I found the guitar at 13. To this day, the guitar continues to be my favorite instrument! Growing up, I wanted to learn as many different instruments as possible because I am intrigued by them. By how each one works very differently, but towards the same purpose. I took drum and percussion lessons, bass lessons… and eventually refocused on guitar and piano.
The most inspiring person I have met in my life is my mother. She is the one that inspired me to learn piano, being a piano player herself. She was a great source of motivation and a great example for discipline and doing what you love.
Talking about your private life, what do you like to do in your free time when you don’t sing or compose music?
I love reading and hanging out with my dog Thor. Going to the park with him. I also really love hobbies like calligraphy and brush lettering. They are the kind of hobbies that can help me relax. I also enjoy playing video games. Recently, I started a blog called Wonderlukah where I share little bits of the things I do and enjoy in life. This is another hobby that is a lot of fun!
You released your first album All of the Above in 2006 under your civil name Judith de los Santos. You have made a great progress in your music since then. I know that the album is popular among your fans and I love it myself. How do you rate your album after all those years? Do you feel a musical progress in yourself?
All of the Above is one of the milestones in my life. One of my most precious memories. I feel very happy that the songs have survived the test of time. I listen to them today, and they still feel relevant to who I am. Over time, I have become more aware of the technicalities of songwriting. I’m more familiar with structure and the over all sense of a story. This can be a positive thing… but, it can sometimes make me feel that I’m overanalyzing things and that the technical side is taking more importance than the emotional one. I’m currently trying to find a way back to a place where I can write without thinking so much about that.
Let’s go back to your present musical career. Your above-mentioned success started a number of interesting music collaborations. We can name for example creation of bard songs to the game “The Elder Scrolls: Online”, you collaborated with Jeremy Soul, Taylor Davis, Peter Hollens, recorded beautiful vocals to the games The Banner Saga, Far Cry Primal, Call of Duty: Black OPS II, III and others. Which collaboration do you appreciate the most and why?
Each collaboration has taught me something new and important. I can’t choose! Haha! I think that getting to actually compose music and sing for Elder Scrolls Online is the biggest steps forward I have ever taken. It was an honor to have that opportunity to work with an amazing group of people and be a small part of this game! I appreciate all the collaborations in my life, but ESO was the one that changed my life the most.
What are your plans for the next few months? Are you working on something new?
I’ve been working on finishing the songs of a new original album. I can’t tell you how excited I am to share new original music. It’s been so long! This I what I hope to focus on for the rest of the year. Also, in 2017, I had about half of a Christmas album done but wasn’t able to release it in time. I hope that by the end of 2018, I will be able to share a Christmas album!
Now we’ve reached to the point, where we would like to start talking about our favorite artist Lindsey Stirling. Lindsey has started as a YouTuber and, same as you, she has become famous for countless collaborations. I know you’ve mentioned Lindsey several times. How and when did you discover her music for the first time? Are you a fan of her? Do you watch her musical career and what do you think about her?
I first heard Lindsey when I saw the Skyrim collaboration she did with Peter Hollens. I was awestruck. The video was beautifully done and it was fantastic to see an instrumentalist move and run and jump because what we are normally used to is seeing violinists in a more classical, serious setting. I admire her so much for all she has achieved. Her perseverance, her passion and the amazing example she is to everyone that we can all follow our own paths.
You worked together with Taylor Davis who is another great violinist. Can you imagine working with Lindsey too? And would you like to?
Taylor is amazing. Another incredibly hardworking musician that I admire and follow closely. Getting to work with her on the Fear Not this Night and Banner Saga videos was incredible. I would be super happy to work with her again, and would love to work with Lindsey, too. Both lovely musicians!
You love computer games, do you have a dream game cover or any other song which you could imagine playing with Lindsey?
Oooh, interesting question. Maybe it could be fun to play a special arrangement of one of the instrumentál songs from Skyrim, like From Past to Present.
Speaking of favorite covers and tracks, do you have any favorite original song or cover from Lindsey that you like to listen to?
Shatter Me is my favorite Lindsey song. It think it’s phenomenal. Both the writing and the video direction. From her newer album Brave Enough, my favorite track is The Arena. Incredible melodies!
Lindsey played a concert in your town – Monterrey in Mexico during her tour last year. I can confirm that her concerts are full of energy from my own experience. Did you have the opportunity to participate or have you missed the concert?
I sadly wasn’t able to go to the concert here in Monterrey. It’s so great she was able to tour in Mexico! I hope to someday get to see her show.
We are getting to the end of our interview. I know that you have already visited the Czech Republic in the past. Can you briefly tell us on what occasion it was and how you liked it there?
I went to Prague years ago for a music competition called Eurotalent. The city was like something from a fairy tale. So beautiful. I wanted to stay there! And I hope to go back some day!
And we’re at the end of this interview.
On behalf of the whole Lindsey Stirling fanclub, I would like to thank you for taking your time and I wish you lots of luck in your musical and personal life.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to talk with you. My very best wishes from Mexico to you and all your readers!
Authors of interview:
Petr Dedek, Tereza Vlková, Kateřina Vaculová
Czech Fan Site: