KiNG MALA is an alternative soul artist based in Los Angeles. AKA Areli Castro, the El Paso born musician pens songs which touch on themes from lust, sexuality and badass femininity. Not afraid to spill her guts, the songwriter set out with the hopes to spark confidence in both herself and her listeners, creating music that will make you walk taller and speak louder. Both her music and visuals experiment with masculine tropes, sharing "There's something about taking something traditionally masculine and wearing it as a woman that makes me feel really powerful." These masculine threads weave throughout everything she does, hence King rather than Queen and "MALA" which roughly translates to "bad bitch" in Spanish. Sharing her feelings from the bottom of her heart KiNG MALA encourages you to dig deep and connect with your inner-self. Life is messy and we shouldn’t feel ashamed to show our emotions and speak our minds.
Her latest single “Mercy” emits prowling energy, with minor and major notes at war, the song encapsulates the good and the bad of being human. This song sees Castro asking for forgiveness for all the things in her life she did when she was learning and growing. Striving to be a good person, she is known for her kindness and loving tendencies, but like many, she often battles with mental illness and the darker parts of her mind. She confides, “I have said things I will regret forever and every day I search for the good within me and search for the proof that those things are not who I really am. Sometimes all you can do is forgive yourself and look for the good... that's what this song means to me.”
Kicking off the track with a glass piano motif and tender vocals, “Mercy'' gradually adds layer by layer, before diving into a slinking melody over pops of the gritty bass sound. Sharp pulses ooze fear, mirroring the darker alter ego, while her signature vocal textures scream femininity and angelic tones, bringing the shadows into the light and reminding us that the good always outshines the bad.
“Mercy” closely follows the release of her viral anthem “She Calls Me Daddy” which has garnered over two million streams to date. KiNG MALA has a significant and dedicated following across her social media and has been praised by the likes of PAPER Magazine, Live Nation's Ones to Watch, Wonderland Magazine, V Magazine, Refinery 29, Flaunt Magazine, The Line of Best Fit, LADYGUNN and American Songwriter to name a few.