What comes first? The actor or the songwriter? For Michael Malarkey, the writer came first, then the self-taught musician, rapidly followed by the self-made actor. Malarkey was born in Beirut, Lebanon to an Irish-American father and a British mother of Arab/Italian origin and is most famous in the acting circles for his role as the notorious Enzo in the hit CW series The Vampire Diaries. Growing up in Yellow Springs, Ohio, Malarkey traveled to London to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and alongside his acting career he immersed himself in music. "I consider it a form of poetic journalism. It's an endless journey of self-discovery," he says.
Described recently as "folk-tronica" (Metro), Malarkey's musical imprint is inspired by a host of different artists and his debut record Mongrels is a demonstration of an eclectic musical taste. Admitting to enjoying the exploration of the darker side of his nature in an effort to find peace with it, Malarkey utilizes his discoveries to inspire his songwriting. "A lot of what this record is about is that whole struggle of wrestling with those opposing forces within us; the duality of animal and human," he adds. The outcome is songs that are both lyrically deep and melodically potent, "the key is to keep the balance."
Mongrels doesn't beat around the bush. The songs don't jump and down, they don't wear fancy clothes but lyrically the record plunges you into the depths of a passionate poet with an ear for melody. Malarkey writes a mixture of introspective country/folk music and driven, ravenous blues songs with lyrics filled with a haunting beauty, yet displaying a warm soul. Each song is a new journey into another corridor of his mind, charged with the depth of a man who sees the world in imagery and emotion.