Michael Malarkey was born in Beirut, Lebanon to an Irish-American father and a British mother, who was of Arab and Italian origin. Growing up in Yellow Springs, OH, Malarkey relocated to London where he he studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and while studying acting he begun to immerse himself in music and songwriting, which he found being a form of poetic journalism and an endless journey of self-discovery; however, he may be best known for his role as Enzo in The CW series The Vampire Diaries.
Malarkey’s debut effort Mongrels, which is slated for a September 8, 2017 release through Cap on Cat Records, and the album’s material reportedly reveals his eclectic musical taste while being an exploration of the duality of both his nature and of human nature. Interestingly enough, the album was recorded by Malarkey alongside Tom Tapley and Brandon Bush in Atlanta and while Tabley and Bush assist to provide a subtle Nashville/country vibe to the proceedings, they manage to do so in a way that isn’t the prepackaged new Nashville bullshit about trucks and beer; in fact, they do so in a way that further emphasizes the introspective nature of the material. As you’ll hear on album title track “Mongrel,” Malarkey’s sonorous baritone croon is pared with a sparse and moody arrangement consisting of twangy guitar, softly padded drumming and chiming keys and while to my ears nodding at Pearl Jam’s “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town,” Malarkey’s latest single possesses a quiet yearning underneath its deliberate attention to craft.
Directed by Adam Loveday-Brown, the recently released music video for the album title track, follows a lonely and pensive Malarkey sitting in the woods, with notebook in hand, reminiscing on his life and on a lover, who is no longer around. How and why that relationship has ended is left open-ended and to the viewer, but the video portrays the protagonist’s life with his lover as a period of brilliant light, with his cabin being bright and airy and without her, his life is drab. The cabin feels and looks shabby and claustrophobic and yet everywhere her ghost has left an inescapable presence.