Malea McGuinness
Winner of the Fall of 2010 Contest with Spinning
MALEA McGUINNESS’ remarkable story is told through her music, with
a world-class voice that has been heard on Broadway and in operas,
and now the singer-songwriter brings the songs on her new album
CLOSE AS AIR to life. Throughout, her warm, sensual vocals take flight
in an array of tunes reflecting her pop, rock and country influences.

Born in Ft. Hood, TX, the exotic beauty is the daughter of an Irish Green
Beret Father and a Korean Mother she barely got to know. Malea spent
two and a half years in Seoul, Korea with relatives. Then at the age of
five she was sent to live with her father’s father and stepmother on Long
Island, where she was severely restricted in her access to pop culture,
such as rock music, tv, and movies.
“I always loved to sing, but my grandparents kept telling me to be quiet,”
she laughs. “When I was young, I always used to perform in the
backyard, but I never dreamt of doing this for a living. I wanted to be a
school teacher.”
After attending prestigious music programs at Tanglewood, Oberlin
Conservatory and the Chautauqua Institution, MALEA went on to pursue
singing opera at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, then landed
a featured role in the Broadway revival of The King and I. But there was
something missing.
“I was burned out–and I wanted to express myself more than singing opera allowed me to,” she says about the career shift.
“It was just time to make a change into more contemporary music.”
MALEA made enough money doing commercial work that she was able to head to L.A. to reinvent herself as a singer-
songwriter, teaching herself to play guitar and making a name on the local club circuit, performing at the Viper Room, The
Roxy, The Mint and the Knitting Factory. She recorded her debut album TRUE BELIEVER with producer Scott Hackwith
(Pete Townshend, Iggy Pop, The Ramones), which she released independently in 2007. The first single, “Deeper,” hit 16 on
influential radio tip sheet Friday Morning Quarterback’s AC40 chart, while the follow-up (and first video) “Sweet Light” was Most
Added, climbing to 3, with both in rotation on Sirius XM Satellite and Triple A stations across the country. She performed before
10,000 fans at the Summerfest Music Festival in Milwaukee, sharing the bill with B.B. King, Bon Jovi and John Mayer.  
Malea  Toured the midwest this Summer with Kenny Loggins.  She also just signed an endorsement deal for her own
signature model acoustic and electric guitars with Korea-based Peerless Guitars.
Her intimate vocals, with a slight hint of country twang, recall some of MALEA’s own favorites, from roots Americana performers
Linda Ronstadt, Crystal Gayle, Emmylou Harris, Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow and Eva Cassidy to more R&B-flavored singers like
Roberta Flack, Laura Nyro and Elton John.
The songs on CLOSE AS AIR, such as the title track–which pays tribute to one of her close friends and personal musical
mentors–represent a longing for closeness and the kind of extended family MALEA feels she missed out on as a child, a
community that has formed on the Internet, where her music has been discovered by 40,000 fans on MySpace alone.
“It’s about having faith in something you can’t necessarily see or touch,” she says, “a higher calling, a higher being… Which is
ironic because the first song I started to write when I came out to L.A. was ‘Close As Air.’ I never realized who it was about until
I finished.”
You can hear that aching loneliness and isolation on “Stars,” where she sings: “There’s a wild and lonely child in the
airport/Standing there with tears in her eyes,” admitting, “That was me at five, waiting to be picked up my grandparents.”
Malea rocks out on her current single, “Spinning & Close As Air” are currently being played on national radio. She empowers
her listeners to keep their identities in a world that is “spinning so fast/we don’t know if this will last/we’re holding our
ground/don’t give up now/though it’s hard to be somehow.”
Two other stylistic directions are represented by the country-flavored “Birthday” and the orchestral soul of “Tonight,” which
celebrate finally finding her one true love after the bittersweet romantic misfires of “Memories,” about her time as a struggling
performer in New York City (“You were mine/For a time/And I knew you/For awhile”), and “No More,” where she gets rid of a
troublesome ex (“Crazy doesn’t work with me no more”). “Falling” and “Time Will Show” are about being able to count on your
friends for support in times of crisis, while her cover of the standard “Water Is Wide,” an Appalachian mountain song that could
have come straight off the T Bone Burnett-produced O Brother Where Art Thou?, demonstrates her love for what she calls
“real country music”: “Give me a boat/That can carry two/And both shall row/My love and I.”
CLOSE AS AIR comes straight from the heart that MALEA McGUINNESS wears on her sleeve for all to see, hear and,
hopefully, embrace.
“I have faith in my music and it will touch the people it’s meant to.”
Malea McGuinness

Winner of
Sonicbids Competition 2010

Malea's new self directed Music Video for "Spinning" is up on Youtube & about to be picked up by networks  so far over 100,000 plays in 1st week

"Malea McGuinness' music is a powerful blend of folk and rock with a mid-90's brand of pop-sensibility"  -Music Connection-

"... a wonderful new talent"  -Fox News

"Malea McGuinness is a very talented indie artist" -MTV ASIA
When “Sweet Light” from singer/songwriter Malea McGuinness’ 1st album reached #3 on the FMQB Hot AC charts, she used
the proceeds to start her own Indie Record Label. Now Malea has finished her 2nd studio album, “Close as Air” and following
the success of the first single “Spinning”on AAA radio, the title track has just been released as the second single.

Malea wowed radio programmers at the AAA Music Conference in Boulder in August. She recently opened for Shawn Colvin &
Toad the Wet Sprocket.  This Summer Malea made her fourth appearance at Summerfest Music Festival with Counting Crows
and finished up her 2010 Summer Tour with Kenny Loggins.  Malea will be opening for Kenny Wayne Shepherd later this
month.  Malea has received many awards for her talents as a singer/songwriter, but she’s most proud of her work in the
communities where she performs. She spends as much of her time on tour as possible, raising money and awareness for local
Humane Societies by making videos for her animal lover blog.
Malea McGuinness Links:
Malea has opened for: Crash Test Dummies, Shawn Colvin, Counting Crows, Kenny Loggins,
Augustana, Gavin Degraw, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Ambrosia, Marc Ford, Kenny Wayne Shepherd,
Kevin Bacon, Donovan, Tyrone Wells, Terri Nunn, Roger Clyne and the Peace Makers, Boy Hits Car,
Todd Rundgren, Ed Burns and The Blue Jackets, Green River Ordinance, Willie Porter, Uncle Daddy.
We’ve just put up a bunch of new videos of
Malea playing live from her June midwest tour
with Kenny Loggins.
Review from Gary Allen
Close As Air


“This album is another big step forward. Malea can sing it soft like an angel,
or belt it out loud and strong. An amazing vocalist.” - Bruce Winter,
A mysterious lens dropped into Malea's guitar case while busking
at Venice Beach leads to a spinning kaleidoscope effect.
Malea McGuinness "Spinning" official video
Tennessee Concerts Song Contest