Hella Juiced: Dr. Maleek

November 15, 2018

Read the full interview on YoungCalifornia.com!

Living up to his name, Dr. Maleek creates music to cures your mind and soothe your soul. Hailing from Long Beach, the rapper, singer, and overall vibe creator walked away from med school to focus on his artistry, acting as a role model for anyone chasing a dream. With the initial goal of healing the masses physically, he would eventually find that same fulfillment in healing the masses emotionally through the music. Read more…

Continuing the momentum from his debut album titled Complicated, home to standout single “Choosin” featuring Tory Lanez, earlier this year, real name Maleek Gabertai returns to drop his Redemption EP, which charted on iTunes at #5 within day one of its release.

For those who don’t know, who is Dr. Maleek?
Dr. Maleek is a balanced individual. Someone that tries to excel at everything he does.

Where do you fit in the realm of hip-hop and R&B?
I fit in all aspects of it. I do everything. My sound is new, unique, fresh, and broad.

You’re from Long Beach, how does that play into your life and career?
It’s experiences in the past that got me to where I am today. But you wouldn’t know I’m from Long Beach from my music. You would just have to ask me. It’s not really influential in the music, but it’s influential in my lifestyle.

Is that on purpose?
No. I just think I’m more inspired by the music I grew up listening to, versus where I’m from.

How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
Everything is out here. If you’re not out here, then you’re going to end up being out here at some point. I used to live out here, but now I live closer to Huntington. It’s just a bit away, but I’m always driving out here.

At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
When random people came up to me like, “I know your music, I like it.” That’s when I knew it was more than just a hobby. I was like 20 or 21. Now, I just turned 23.

What was the inspiration behind your name?
The inspiration was because actually before I started making music, I was studying to become a doctor. I went to UC Irvine. I went to a high school where you pick your Associate degree at the same time. I graduated with my Associate degree, then I went to UC Irvine for 2 years. Then I went to UCLA med school for 2 years too, but I didn’t finish. I took a leave of absence.

For music?
Yeah. That’s why I call myself Dr. Maleek, because I feel like no one’s been a real doctor. At the same time, so left as a doctor and so right as an artist. I try to bring some balance.

You just released your Redemption EP. Talk about the creative process and how long it took you.
It was only 4 songs, so it didn’t take me that long to make. It was more just I wanted to get something out before the end of the year, like end of summer vibes. Every song gives you a different feel and shows off a different dynamic of what I can do. The creative process: I hear a beat, hop on the mic, and just go from there.

24Hrs is the homie. Talk about linking with him on “Juicy.”
24 he’s the homie. He’s a really solid dude. I just sent him the record and he was feeling it. We actually did the record last year. I wasn’t even going to release it. He was like, “What about that ‘Juicy’ record? You gonna drop that?” He was talking about maybe him wanting it. I was like, “Nah, I’m going to release it. Just give me some time.”

You have a few records with Tory Lanez. What’s the dynamic in the studio?
Tory’s like a mentor to me. We met back in 2014, just moving around LA I guess. I met him before the “Say It” record, before he got signed. He’s been a big inspiration and mentor.

What’s the dynamic in the studio?
Just going back to back honestly. He’ll record, I’ll record, he’ll record, etc. Because he’s very quick on the mic. He’ll just think of something and go in there. I’m the same way, so we just go back to back. We got a lot more records coming out soon.

How important are co-signs in the game?
Very important. It’s like Yelp. A co-sign is basically someone that’s already established saying “this guy is cool.” It’s like if I go to a restaurant and I say “yeah, dinner was cool over here.” And I put it on Yelp, you might want to go there. You might be like “oh yeah, he said it was cool, I’ma go.” So I think it’s very important.

What is it you want fans to get from your story?
I want fans to know that anything is possible. I’m a regular guy. I just had a dream, and I put my mind to it. People kind of don’t believe in themselves as much as they could. Basically, if you put your mind to something, anything is possible. That’s what I want them to get.

I saw your most recent post saying “one man army.” Can you talk about the independent grind?
Yeah, it’s a grind. You got to kind of do everything by yourself. You’re everything. You’re the artist, you’re the director. Even if you’re not necessarily doing it, you’re letting people know what you want. You want to portray yourself how you want to be portrayed. The independent grind is a hard one, but a very rewarding one if you can pull it off.

What is your take on the music industry?
It has its good and bad points. I feel like if you have something to bring to the table, people will notice. They’ll eventually get to you. If you’re just here for the one night type, like “I’m going to make it in one night,” I don’t think you’re going to get very far. It’s a grind. It could take years.

What are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
I want to be the biggest artist in the world. Until then… that’s the only goal really. Just to be the biggest artist in the world.

What did you do with your first check/advance?
The stupidest thing I did was probably go throw $3K at the strip club. That was stupid. But the first good thing I did was buy a car.

How important is social media for your career?
Very important. I feel like social media is the new “ passing out CDs“ nowadays. That’s how you get fans. That’s how you keep them updated. That’s how you kind of let everybody know who you are.

What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
I wake up, use the bathroom I guess. [laughs] Start answering the calls that I missed being asleep. Seeing where I got to be, what we about to do. Get to the studio somehow, then just work it from there. It’s very different each day, but the bigger things are getting, the busier it’s getting. You might not sleep for a day or two, you might forget to pay a bill here, or do this or that. Because you’re so busy. It’s pretty cool.

3 things you need in the studio?
Water, cute girls, and a good ass engineer.

What was that moment like when you quit med school? Because that’s crazy to me.
I’m not necessarily done, but it was a tough decision. Because really, my whole dream was to help people. I used to think helping people physically was always going to be my path.

I have a crazy story. One time, I was taking an exam at UC Irvine. You know how you walk in with your pajamas just like, “I’m trying to get the hell out of here”? After the exam, some dude came up to me. You know how sometimes after tests, people try to compare answers and stuff? He was like, “Yo bro, I listened to your song, you’re crazy dope. You get me through my day.” I’m like “what?” I’m in my pajamas and stuff like “cool,” and I just try to escape. Then when I went home and thought about it, I was like wow.

He was in your class?
Yeah, I didn’t even know him. I was just like wow, I’m helping someone mentally. Then it started coming in more. My DMs were like “Yo, you’re helping my life. You’ve saved me from committing suicide.” It was just getting way deeper and deeper. I’m like whoa, shit. Maybe I can help people mentally versus physically? Or both, I don’t know. It just felt right. I’m a vibe type of guy. If the vibes are there, then I’m going to lean towards it.

Favorite song to perform in a set?
It changes. Probably right now would be stuff from the new EP. I got a record called “Lay Down” that’s doing pretty well right now. It’s kind of a little rap and singing shit. It’s cool to be able to do both.

Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Probably Tory. He just dropped a fire album. Tory is a big inspiration. He’s done a lot for my career. I’ll always be grateful. He’s a cool guy, very down to earth. I’m very happy for all his success.

Dream collab?
Sade, or somebody older like that. Or Ashanti. It’s not new people, because I feel like everybody’s coming in now. One day you’re hot, one day you’re not. But those people are established now, to the point they’ll live forever.

What advice do you have for an aspiring Dr. Maleek?
Don’t give up. Don’t think just because something bad happens, that it’s the end of the world. Keep persisting in what you gotta do. Never take no for an answer. People in the industry are flooded with people every day. They meet people every day, and you’re just like “yeah yeah yeah.” They get the same answer: “I want to make it, I wanna do this and that.” But try to differentiate why you’re different from everyone, and really go at that. Why you’re different versus trying to just be cool and fit in with everyone else, because you’ll just get lost in the crowd. Be yourself, find what’s different about you, and don’t take no for an answer. Just go for it.

Anything else you want to let us know?
Go get that Redemption. New music coming soon. This is just the beginning. We’re going to be #1, trust.

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