(Issue 18) Music Feature: An Indivisible Art Collective & Nomad Mal

header image by Phil Visions

by Laquavia Alston

In my mind, An Indivisible Art Collective is some sort of ode to MTV’s Unplugged, Making the Video, VH1 Behind the Music, Pop up Video and 106 and Park; a euphoric musical space where nostalgia is conjured. It’s a recreation of when we got to experience artists develop and create in what seemed like real time. From live shows to day parties in Cabo, we saw artists create the vibes they wanted, jam with folks who didn’t quite look or sound like them and somehow create a strong sense of culture. Bringing in a new wave, a new vibe. 

An Indivisible Art Collective (AIAC) is an art education non-profit, focused on bringing together local businesses, artists and art educators who value community building and racial equity in the nation’s capital. Our initiatives promote individual creative growth and work towards bringing community events, art education and food security to D.C.’s marginalized youth and residents. We believe in fostering an open dialogue of resistance through storytelling and raising the voices of Black and brown folks, women, and queer identifying artists. Art is fundamental to spiritual wellness and liberation. It’s a human right. 

We, as a Collective desire to live these freedoms and bring these ideals to the community. Artistry is a way of life, it encompasses all that we are as humans who have decided to create. 

I’m excited to invite you to a new element that will bring this vision closer to a reality. Over at AIAC, we are developing a new podcast called Chit Chat. We plan to bring you the individual journeys of artists from our incredible network, in their own words. This experience begins with Malcolm Hinton, a DMV native, collective homie and multifaceted creator. 

My interview with Malcolm reminded me of why we started the collective, back in 2017. This entity exists as a playground for the developing artist, initiative and experience. We provide spaces and ideals, we tap into our natural resources and we do the damn thang! From art education initiatives with our junior version, Art Hour, to city wide festivals, our DC presence is felt and supported. And it’s just the beginning. Like the city, Malcolm has the drive and resilience to make it in any way he desires. Also known by his stage name Nomad Mal, Malcolm states that his Nomad persona is always on the go, forever creating and always exploring. Nomad is the machine and Malcolm is the human operating behind the curtain. 

In episode one of Chit Chat, Malcolm shares his exploration of different mediums. “I’m a graphic designer as well. I actually am an actor on the side. I do a lot of music performance, but for the people who do not know me, I also work as a technician for audio visual, you know, working in different layers in different spaces,” Malcolm says. “It all kind of combines into this one element that I was wanting to display to my supporters, to everyone I’ve collaborated with, as a whole, I’m not a limited artist——in these trying years I’ve developed my skill set in these different areas, picking up as many skills as you can along the way—-you’d be surprised where that ends up landing you.”

As Executive Director of AIAC, I am always sharing with artists the importance of entrepreneurship. Are you an artist? Cool, consider yourself a business entity. Now, where do you see yourself performing? What does your set list sound like? Are you prepared to share your content with these venues? These are big questions and standards here at AIAC. When you consider yourself an artist you have a responsibility to market yourself and what that looks like fully depends on you. Malcolm shares that he didn’t really consider this element of artistry when starting out on his journey. 

When it came to the topic of photoshoots, music videos, and the likes, Malcom said, “I didn’t, you know, envision myself having to think of outfits and stuff, and like really kind of give more of like a front forward image…” I interject excitedly, “a visual representation of your music.” Malcolm continued, “Exactly. And now I have to think of themes for my projects and things of that nature. And naturally, I’m very reclusive. So I really don’t care for people’s opinions. Now I have to kind of care what my representation is going to be in these photo shoots and stuff. So just having that process has been very, very enjoyable. Interesting, but very enjoyable.” 

In our discussion, Malcolm mentions a ten year period leading up to now, full of learning and gaining insight. He explains to me that it was a time of visualization, focusing his vision into full blown artistic development in 2019.

“2020 was when I really wanted to develop myself as a businessman, I started developing myself as an artist, because it integrates and it’s very, very parallel,” Malcolm said. “I find that they are one in the same. And I remember being towards the end of college, knowing that the real world is waiting for me and understanding that the job market is going to look different for an artist. Like you are kind of like the traveling salesperson, right? Your commodity is your natural resource. So it’s something that you carry around with you all the time. How do you find the balance between marketing yourself, and then also just, I don’t know, journeying?”

Malcolm goes on to credit balance as the key to continuing an authentic soul journey towards his artistry and being a “traveling salesperson.” He states, “I’m just blessed that I’ve been finding success in just being myself and putting on stuff that personally relates to me.”

During our friendship and working relationship, Malcolm has proven himself to be stand up. We connect on continuous levels of consciousness, artistry, Blackness and of course, music. We have a few tracks available on Spotify… OGUN ft. Nomad Mal can be found on my latest release Moon Signs and Origami is Malcolm’s single with a lil background noise from me. We share a collaborative energy that spills over into both our entities, AIAC and Malcolm’s multimedia platform called NOIZE. 

As our conversation continued, I asked Malcolm about some of his influences. Malcolm credits Kendrick Lamar and J Cole, Lupe and Isaiah Rashad, the Internet, and even Coldplay. “The Gorillas is one of my all time favorite groups, I was such a music head growing up and I still am,” Malcolm says.

Shout goes out to Nomad Mal! Let’s continue the conversation over on Spotify! Listen to Chit ChatL: Episode 1 for the rest of the conversation. You can find Nomad Mal streaming on all platforms and performing next with Creative Suitland on September 8th for the Porchfest/90s Block Party. I’ll be performing too! 

Laquavia Alston, Mezzo Soprano is a local D.C creative and arts ambassador. Building community that supports and uplifts its creatives is her biggest inspiration. Alston is the founder and owner of La Mezzo Voice Studio, and Co-Founder of An Indivisible Art Collective. Since 2017, The Collective has served as a safe space for traditionally marginalized artists of all disciplines. The Low Country served as a backdrop to her fine arts training and first residency as an artist, keeping her connected to her roots. Through travel, experience and study, music and art have given Laquavia an expansive world view. Laquavia believes that the artist is formed when human creativity communes with the divine. This connection to energy has created worlds and everything we all love. An Indivisible Art Collective is committed to fostering this vision into the future.

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