'DONN' DEAL
Malie Donn, real survivor
Malie Don

THOUGH he grew up in a community surrounded by crime and violence, hot newcomer Malie Donn steers from 'gun songs'. He has established himself by taking on social issues of the day.

"I'm most passionate about issues like poverty. Mi a come from a point in life where my dawgs dem a link mi fi a bills. Dat's why mi nuh really sing gun chunes like one time. Mi a sing money chune, upliftment chunes, gal chunes, an' chunes about prosperity. Right now, mi cyaan be too conscious [because] nobody naw guh tek mi serious," Malie Donn disclosed in an interview with the Jamaica Observer's Splash.

The 20-year-old artiste, who is from Waterford in Portmore, has made waves with hits such as Bank, Crook, Cash Code, Pressure in Life, and Survivor.

Malie Donn gave up a career in track and field to pursue music, which he had a passion for since he was a student at Waterford Primary School. That developed at Bridgeport High School.

Malie Don

"To be honest, I was trying to pursue a career in athletics. It was mandatory for me to do an extra-curricular activity because of me getting into fights. I had a passion for athletics even though I got into it because of disciplinary reasons," Malie Donn explained.

"I grew up around crime and violence, and I lost friends and people dear to me due to violence in my community. Maybe I would even be involved in crime and violence and [be] around criminal activity, so music is like a saviour to me right now. A just the right road this for me," he reasoned.

Malie Donn grew up with his grandparents. His parents reside overseas.

"My grandparents didn't want me to do music because dem seh a bare girl girl a come a di yard. Mi genuinely passionate 'bout it. They saw where some artistes were getting into trouble an' they didn't want me involved in music. But music was my dream. I had to grow up early an' help out my grandparents. I had a whole heap of responsibilities, including helping to raise my younger brother and sister," he said.

Malie Don

Using his lunch money, he saved to pay for studio time to record songs. Unable to afford the cost of mixing his songs, Malie Donn exposed them on social media.

"Music changed my life tremendously. Mi nuh haffi deh pon nuh corner no more, mi nuh haffi a run up an' down from police or haffi a look over mi shoulder. One time wi would be making up money to run a boat, now one man can run a boat. We have everything in a wi comfort now. Things have changed an' I am grateful."

While attending Bridgeport High (he graduated with 12 subjects), Malie Donn (real name Kimarlie Hylton) participated in the ISSA GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships. He also participated in the Miami Classics.

Malie Donn and his manager/producer, Attomatic of Active Music, will be releasing an EP in December which he describes as a mix of old and new songs.

"Mi a try do some different type a songs like reggae an' old-time dancehall. Mi jus' a try sopm — some different flows, different melodies, an' something different from di usual. Jus' a try mix it with the current generation," he said.

BY KEVIN JACKSON Observer writer

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