One and one made two together. Yet there was nothing simple about the equation that made up their family. Malcolm would learn as he grew older than his father liked to pretend he was a simple number, a unit that stood well on it's own and worked perfectly and neatly in responce to others. Because this fit what he wanted from life - from himself, from others. But age had a way of pulling back curtains, of making pages out of life you could flick through fast enough to reveal the motion picture that lays beneath words that once seemed so set in stone. Behind his father stood endless decimals of shadows, one more warped than the last and even if the outline of him seemed decent enough, all that filled him lead to too many complications when interacting with the rest.
His mother wasn't like that. It's not that she didn't vary, didn't react to her surroundings and carry her own skirt of oddities that brushed past things here and there. It was just that it was all there to be seen and appreciated. Michelle didn't hate the hardships that built her up, didn't mind the wear and tear of being made of bricks you were forced by life to make yourself from dirt and nothing. Maybe there were days in his youth he doesn't remember, where his mother loved the simple neatness his father had to offer. Where the two options were shake and aftermath of calm. And maybe that's how he came to being - born of juxtaposition that so badly wanted to meld into one.
Malcolm knows he's been different since the get go. An amalgamation of all things that come together and somehow make a one. And also sometimes a two, a three, a lot more than most people can keep track of. But he's always Malcolm, always him tieing it all up together not necessarily neatly but definitely himself. He saw and understood so well the lines his father so cherished but saw them as starting lines to charge from and outwards towards a world still so uncharted. His curiosity was constant, family too busy to force their hand over his when painting the world at the start of his life which meant he got to layer colors and designs over life in an attempt to figure out what fit. Not just what fit but why, but how, but could it be better? Cooler? Funner? Where was the light and how could you make a rainbow out of it, a kaleidescope out of it? If you tried hard enough could you push past the paper and reveal the story underneath paintings made?
Life was story and game alike - just like the music he so often heard in days he was forced to spend in the walls of the store that is now watercolor fading in his memory. The memory of music remains though, one of the strongest senses to him.
Being poor and mixed meant life had plans to be ruthless from the get go. But Malcolm had plans to be better than the worst things that could be said about him. To be louder than the voices that wanted to press the world down flat and stack the cards against him. He had seen his siblings survive in their own way and he knew he had all the strength and ability to do it himself, his own way. Charm came easy with a sincere heart and a tongue turned paintbrush by a mind that craved to make honest stories of every heartfelt moment. And everything was so heartfelt. So he won enough people over to avoid loneliness and fear of rejection where he could. Learning their honesty and how it could meet his own. Not always a thing that went smoothly but always a thing that afforded him some sort of learning through navigating narratives.
Both of his parents took note that Malcolm was always looking for more and finding trouble in places he honestly saw no trouble at all. Dragging Jennie along despite being younger, and they just couldn't have that. So Taekwondo classes were paid for, an on weekends he would be allowed to walk to a church just to learn to play the piano for enough hours that they knew he was safe. His mother wanted better paths for him than explosion while his father wanted to build a dam to stop it all. The middle ground was seeing if there was something that could shape their son in being more tangible than a consistent big bang. Malcolm learnt ways to weild his personality through the years, clumsy and at times ineffective but always growing and learning in ways no would ever knew to expect. School was an odd thing he either excelled or failed at with no inbetweens but friends were always found in the unlikeliest places. Music clubs were expected but sports, drama, science, history, teachers, anyone who was willing to talk to him for any length of time - from people who once stood against him to complete strangers alike.
Malcolm started to gather the lumber of truth people gave to him and used them as planks of wood to construct something that looked better than all the option set before him. His own truth, his own knowing that could shrink and expand to whatever could be needed.
Moving to America came with new truths, new sets of learning. Charm didn't work as well when words fit his mouth foreign and everything about him was built too strange for immediate understanding. A new same old. Difficulties that this time, his siblings could not help him through or him them. It saw the whole of the world around him moving too fast and nearly unintelligble and decided to slow down for once. Not him finding music but music reminding him it had always been there - in everything he held dear and always present in every single person, moment and thing he had ever known to cherish. With clarity came focus, like all along he had just been winds caught going from room to room and finally, a window, finally, the world.
He had found the church by chance, wandering around the neighborhood further than he knew he should but boredom and curiosity and a need to connect was too powerful of a thing to turn down or shut off. For the first few days he sat outside, then inside, then grew closer until someone spoke to him first. Malcolm was not confident in his speaking, in the rough of his accent that too many acted like was too heavy to try to navigate. Yet no one here did. No one in those walls knew anything but welcome. Days became weeks, playing piano became getting caught singing and forced into joining a choir which was a whole new set of learning.
It was there he met Cassian. A boy he later found out lived very close to him, understood as much Korean as he did English, and loved piano and music just as much as he did - it seemed. And nothing about that was a problem. Nothing between them was a problem. Not then, and not ever. Malcolm didn't know at the time but he had found a friend, his first friend in America (a very special thing) but also a friend for life (arguably, even more special). As they grew up, they kept on playing the piano together. Cassian would see every single choir recital, performance, and even stay after school with him at times. They stayed connected in each other, picking up one another's interests, seemingly a part of each other's families with how much time they spent at one another's house. In Cassian he found support before he sought it elsewhere, and he gave it as ardently as he could.
Picking music was never an issue to his mother, not like he thought it'd be. She worried for him, his future when she knew he wouldn't leave this for the world - because Malcolm never left anything that he wasn't pryed and locked away from. It was his father who disagreed, who spat out the absurdity of still living in a kingdom of your own making lost drifting in the sky this far into life. One day it would crash and he along with it. Couldn't he see the concrete all around him, cemented down to the floor? That roads were already paved? The world had no room for creation. It was all more fights filed away to be picked up at a later date, that constant shuffling of papers in pink slips and red writing that screamed in hushed stern tones that had gotten more frequent in his household.
Music felt like a field that redefined the word open. Everyday after school become an opportunity to dip down and see the world from above, understand how it all connected from panoramic clouds that let him track every weaving story. Soon enough Malcolm became both magnet and compass alike, bringing all he could into the world with him to share through sound heard or played together. He started to get a handle of the language better - between a need to understand Cassian and speak to him more, and with the help of his siblings. Through music, friendship became an easier thing. A song could bring people together like nothing else, a fact he had learnt in basements and could apply now every day. He met people outside of Cassian through song and keys. Malcolm learnt how to be both breeze and steady current, to step in and try to hold up those around him.
But as some things came together, others fell apart. The rupture of the household happened in an unnaturally quiet way. Like the culmination of all things awful could only be silence. It wasn't messy, it wasn't torn tatters that screeched as they tore at the seams. Some part of Malcolm thought life could resume to something it was always meant to be. Their house but happier, but warmer, but more free. Instead it meant his mother working at a constant, Damon and Jennie and himself all working, pushing their dreams back one day at a time. Malcolm did what he could, working odd jobs to cover his own expenses so he never had to ask and never had to bother - knowing that his help would only add to the weight of them both.
What most would expect was for him to grow up in a way that meant letting dreams down where they had fallen and pick up the weight left behind. But Malcolm still held belief that the world could never just be one thing that was dead end final. For years he didn't know rest - knew side jobs and clubs and choir and piano practice and a whole lot of love. Even as multitudes of doors swung closed and leaves were stripped off trees by winds that held no welcome - there was love. Love always knew how to make clear sky out of patches. Love in his family, in his friends, in a girlfriend who knew how to support him when everything seemed to be fading out of his grasp. Malcolm perservered. Attended festivals and concerts, stood on small stages in and out of school, did his best to stand by everyone who had ever come to matter and do right by them.
Leaving to LA was no easy thing but he knew it was his only option. Malcolm could not betray his dreams the same way he could not betray his family. A year, he had promised himself, a year to transfigure dirt to gold and if not he'd return and do better differently. Everyone who had stayed by his side his whole life, or the most important parts of it, sent him off with well wishes and bittersweet tears. Malcolm knew they would achieve what he was setting out to do, in their own ways, down their own paths. He knew it. He piled all he owned into a car, with too little money to make it and headed out to a city that nourished dreams like crops to feed on. Malcolm left home after convincing his mother to help his siblings through all their studies and not worry about him. The last part was an impossible request but Michelle knew her son had a road before him that did not include San Francisco and rationality forever. That her children would chase their dreams no matter the road block or lack of road before them both. So he went with champagne blessings.
The first year there were many sweet hardships. It was living in a shack that kept the rain out the rare times it managed to happen. It was eating like this war he was to win meant rations for life. It was sweet because it felt like everyone he met was somehow in it with him. It was sweet because this had been dream drifting on a faraway skyline for so long he could barely believe it real. But it was, it was in a way he would savor even after hard shifts of gruelling exhaustion in restaurant after restaurant.
His usual night included a short set of songs, at times only a few to a handful. So when he was invited to fill up the stage until twilight and buzz filled the air alongside his honeyed voice and make true magic once more, Malcolm took it. Took it and recorded it with pride to share with the world because this was what he was chasing, this is what he had spent years talking to every person he knew about. A road that was a dozen roads at once and almost none of them what he expected them to be - almost none but singing.
What he had definitely not expected was an email from Jin one morning inviting him over to his studios. Didn't expect the way his narrow view of the horizon could suddenly be opened up to include the world at large. Malcolm saw how that single shift of energy meant that every door that stood shut and distant suddenly opened up and meant there was nothing holding him back anymore. New people meant new stories which meant new music which meant so much more than the seeds his dreams had begun as.
A year after moving to LA, Malcolm was no longer working in restaurants - no longer sharing his dreams like would-be's one day and was currently living them. Each day was spent in recording studios with Jin and Jackie, creation at a constant high. Nights were usual performances, and often lingering after at parties or clubs to talk to everyone who had gathered around to listen. It's then he met Kiana, a fellow singer with smirking admiration and girl so otherwise quiet that it was a surprise the two could talk so much.
Things only knew growing, knew upwards and outwards as songs started to get released and more work became something. His own work started to take shape the more time he spent with bonds he knew he would carry with him forever now. His friendship with Kiana soon became so much more and music poured out of that easily. A contract signed, an album released, success found him in ways that made every coin he had ever dropped into the wishing well of the sky now turn to endless fortune. Malcolm was in love more than ever - with life in every aspect.
It's only natural that's when trouble would start. First with the world and then with the person meant to stand beside him. The succession of worldwide attacks followed by Jin's passing were no easy blows to take. Somewhere through grief, Kiana could no longer bear the distance of what she named his own creation. The rupture was just another crack in a facade that seemed illustrious for so long. Malcolm lost no love for the work he did, kept loving memories alive through it and didn't stop work - kept himself up thanks to Jackie, his family and so many around him. He put what he could in lyrics and the rest, well, it had other ways of coming out.
The later half 2018 was months of trying to cope with loss, himself in the world and what more he could do within it. It's then he started to hear of Cazerns - a chance to do more with all his too much that hadn't helped as much as he had wanted it to. Malcolm approached T.E.A.R.S which in turn lead him towards behind closed doors interviews, down a rabbit hole that would end in secret missions under a name no one knew him by but everyone would learn to know. A hero without the glory, just the honor of knowing that what he was doing was the right thing to do, the most he could do outside of saving who he could through his music. It made him sleep easier the nights he got to sleep at all. The loss waxed and waned and his ability to deal with it and love the world that remained grew with it.
It was never easy - the double life that didn't help needs that had to be met. Kiana started being there again and then also, not at all. Life was an amalgamation of unthinkable wonders and then the jarring full stop in the oddest of times. This carried on until it didn't. Until so many times back at the same spot became ending. Malcolm had to come to a point of admitting love was a thing that could only exist in the yearning of his heart that could only share it with the world through music and music alone. There was so little clarity in it all - even learning Kiana had been unfaithful through so much of her deflecting towards him, through fights and nights spent so far out of himself he wasn't sure he'd ever return. But at least he knew, at least there was some truth he had finally been afforded. There were facts now: Kiana would never enter his life again. He could give his all to his family, his friends, his music, the people who needed him most.
That truth gave way to a new beginning. Malcolm stepped into the smooth role of a playboy with almost professional ease, a word people would use for him rather than him ever for himself. People had always been something he was drawn to, an endless fascination he could not set aside andwith his insatiable need for affection. So he lived - he loved those around him and the work he did and the rest, well, the rest just was as it should be.
2003: Sitting on the floor of his parents' record store - day in and day out - listening through endless streams of cds.
2004: Gets enrolled into music classes to his utmost joy. Starts playing the piano obsessively.
2006: Moves to America and the only piano group his parents can afford is in a church, he joins as an apprentice piano player and slowly get roped into the church choir.
2011: His passion for music keeps growing, leading him to pursue performances in local festivals and participation in school events.
2015: Moves to LA in the summer with nothing but a dream, a beaten down car and hopes and dreams. He starts working as a waiter and getting gigs where he could.
2015: By the end of the year he ends up releasing an album on soundcloud of his usual set at clubs - this one being a stand out best. It gets him the attention of the famous songwriter Jin and an invitation to join him at his studio.
2016: Releases another album on soundcloud, a little more polished than the first, early on in the year.
2016: Malcolm meets fellow artists, writer and producer Jackie thanks to their mentor Jin. They immediately hit it off and start writing songs together - this is the start of Dubious Morals.
2017: Releases his first official album with the help of Jackie and Jin. It's an instant hit that eventually gets a double platinum certification.
2018: The death of Jin brings about the start of the Wonderbomb Label between Jackie and him, to help maintain Jin's legacy and start another joint venture.
2018: Wins his first (3) Grammy for his album Get Lifted - Best R&B album, best new artist, best Male R&B Vocal Performance for his single "Ordinary People". Also nominated for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, Song of the Year and Best R&B song.
2018: Wins another (4) Grammy with Jackie for their work on Rihanna's album Unapologetic for Best Urban Contemporary Album.
2019: Releases his second album - Once Again. It received mixed reviews in comparison to the first album but went on to get certified platinum.
2019: Receives the Hal David Starlight Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
2019: Another (5) Grammy win - alongside Jackie for having worked on Taylor Swifts' 1989. Sia's "Chandelier" which he worked on alongside Jin received four Grammy nominations for Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.
2019: A personal (6) Grammy victory for his song "Glory" for Best Song Written for Visual Media.
2019: Jackie and him win an Oscar for their work in "Selma" for Best Original Song.
2020: Releases an Album with the Roots called Wake Up!
2020: Malcolm's "Heaven" won the (7) Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. Also, "Save Room" was nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. He also won (8) Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for his performance with Joss Stone & Van Hunt on "Family Affair"
2020: Kendrick Lamar's "To Pimp a Butterfly" was nominated for Album of the Year and won (9) Best Rap Album, an award he shares with Jackie.
2021: Releases third album Evolver that goes on to get certified Gold.
2021: A double win with Adele's "25" at the (11) Grammys for Album of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Album. Meanwhile Sia's album "This Is Acting" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album.
2021: A personal win the with Roots for their album Wake Up! they won the (13) Grammy Award for Best R&B Album.
2021: Tony nomation for being a co-producer with Jackie for "Jitney".
2021: An Emmy win alongside Jackie for his work on Big Little Lies for Music Supervision.
2022: Another (14) Grammy victory for his collaboration with Al Green on the song "Stay with Me (By the Sea)" for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. 2022: Grammy nominations for: Best Pop Solo Performance for his work on Kelly Clarksons "Love so Soft", Best Pop Vocal Album for his work on Imagine Dragon's album "Evolve" with Jackie, and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for his song "Green Light" (featuring Andre 3000 ).
2023: Grammy win (15) for his song "Tonight (Best You Ever Had)" for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, which was in the soundtrack for a movie he helped produce alongside Jackie for CrazyRose called Think Like A Man.
2023: Grammy nominations for: Best Pop Vocal Album for his work on Kelly Clarksons album "Meaning of Life" and P!nk's "Beautiful Trauma", Album of the Year for his work alongside Jackie on Janelle Monae's "Dirty Computer", Record of the Year and Song of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance alongside Jackie for Zedd's "In The Middle", Best Rock Album for his work on Fall Out Boy's "Mania", Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for his song "This Time".
RECORDS: Second fastest EGOT winner, Won his EGOT in 3 years, 7 months, 12 days. Him and Jackie are at a three way tie for most competitive wins and they're the first Korean academy award winners. They are also the first to win an EGOT in four consecutive years. He has the most Grammy awards of any EGOT and with Jackie they have the most fields of nomation in the Grammys.
For further information on music/film supervision, consult CrazyRose productions.
i built my life out of what was left of me. sky and its procedures. a romanticism of clouds, trees, pale crenellations, and poetry. a musical joybang. touching everything.
Your highness by the name of Mal - also known as Malcom by those annoyed, Mr.King, Mingyu. Singer, songwriter, producer, guy who attends parties just to talk to your pets.
Malcolm's powers blossed in a normal enough way, his mother peering into his childhood bedroom to see her son bending metal as his sister clapped happily before him at all he could do. A few months of discovery and it was easy to see that Malcolm could do things everyone could and that meant he could do things most couldn't. At first all he copied were traits of loved ones or whatever fascinated him in the world around. His mother had to start taking him to the Safe Haven to train him properly so no disasters would occur.
Things didn't change much as he grew older. He became better at controlling what was his, meaning he was very good at borrowing and molding together and even control. It wasn't until later into adulthood that things began to linger. Sometime between the attacks, the returned, Jin's death, romantic complications - Malcolm felt things seem to start to stick. He could borrow much more than just powers but abilities themselves - languages and knowledge that would just spring out of him in knowing. Suddenly he no longer had to be near those he most frequently borrowed from to shift his energy as a replica of their own.
From then on, it seemed like change would be a common ground in his life. Things never settling but it was a pace Malcolm could just about keep up with. Shifting and changing were second nature to him already but it felt as though something inside of him was stretching out into becoming as so many things around him were lost and gained.
The more Malcolm took part in Cazerns, the more he faced and defeated, the wilder his abilities seemed to become. Something within him unleashed and with it came transformations beyond what he could imagine. The simple amalgamation of beasts became much more than chimeras. Malcolm could shift himself into things he had never seen before, things he could feel from the world around him and beyond the very veins that ran through it.
It was when Kilig appeared at his doorstep one day, with a smile and a demanor more friendly and giant than even his own - that things started making more sense. He had some T'Dao blood, something he knew something about thanks to Cazerns and Jackie but now it all fell to place. How his own abilities had begun to learn how to blossom as he stepped into a role that embraced the whole of himself. Kilig promised to train him in all that still remained a mystery and Malcolm gladly accepted.