News & Politics

Carolyn Malachi Went From Making Music on Her Lunch Break to Playing the Kennedy Center in Two Years Flat

Photograph by Derrel Todd.

Carolyn Malachi, Singer/Songwriter

Age: 32.
Grew up in: Brookland.
Now lives in: Ivy City.

Elevator pitch: “As we are the sum of our thoughts, I would play ‘Introduction: I Wish,’ the first song from my new album, Rise: Story 1. The lyrics start, ‘I wish for happiness. I wish for world peace. And shit, I wish for relevance. I want to be ubiquitous. Right now. So I can savor it. Right now. To save my people with it. Right now. I want to be rich.’ ”

The moment that changed everything: “Leaving my full-time job in corporate logistics to work as a full-time artist.”

The surprise of her life: “Finding out I was nominated for a Grammy.”

What the future is like: “I am in love with life and love itself. Anything is possible.”

DC Roll Call

Fave coffee shop: Dolcezza.

Teahouse: Calabash Teahouse & Café.

Bar: Harold Black.

Restaurant: Ethiopic.

Spot: The red pagoda near the National Arboretum’s Asian Collections.

Hero: “Omrao Brown, who for years made the Bohemian Caverns stage available to me to develop my craft.”

Memory: “Yasiin Bey’s concert at the Kennedy Center. Slick Rick joined him onstage. That would have been enough, but then Talib Kweli and Robert Glasper made guest appearances as well. What a magical moment!”

This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Washingtonian.

Contributing Editor

Amanda has contributed to Washingtonian since 2016. She has written about the right-wing media personality Britt McHenry, chronicled her night with Stormy Daniels, and come clean about owning too much stuff. She lives on H Street. She can be reached at [email protected].