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New Zealand pop music's next big thing

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/06/2016 Danielle McGrane

New Zealand pop singer Maala was someone else in a previous life.

The electronic pop artist was once a singer/songwriter called Evan Sinton who came third on New Zealand's Got Talent in 2012.

But at the tender age of 21, the Auckland native has turned his back on a life of performing cover songs

"I was a singer/songwriter, playing more acoustic guitar, and I suppose ... I felt limited by that," Sinton said.

It was a twist of fate that eventually pushed the singer into a change in musical direction.

"I was in my acoustic guitar zone and my car got broken into and my guitar was stolen," he said.

"In a way, I had to work from scratch and find a new way to put the music together. I suppose that's how I accidentally moved into putting more of it on the computer."

Sinton started working with keyboards and music production program Logic and, not long after, Maala was born.

"The music lended itself to a new name," he said.

"I wrote out the alphabet and picked some letters that looked cool together and Maala made the cut."

Coming from New Zealand, Sinton admits he was surrounded by the sound and success of trailblazers Lorde and brother/sister duo Broods.

"It's hard to avoid that in New Zealand when the whole country is championing them. You obviously see that and you think 'They're doing really cool stuff'," he said.

"It's the thing everyone is latching onto at the moment."

That sound, championed by Lorde and Broods producer Joel Little, combining experimental and lush electronica with soaring vocals, sounded distinctly Kiwi.

Now Maala's music sounds like the next stage in Kiwi pop evolution, the synth pop, electronica base is there but the pop is somewhat punchier.

It seems there's very little trace of the New Zealand's Got Talent contestant left.

"I have definitely passed that experience," he said.

"But I met some good people who I'm still working [with] today. It was a great opportunity and a stepping stone."

* Maala's single A Kind Of Love is out now and his debut album will be released on July 29.

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