Guitarist Malina Moye Talks New Music, Stratocasters, and the Secret to Good Funk Guitar

All images courtesy of WCE Records

The lefty neo-soul six-string goddess looks back on her winding career and choice of guitars while giving insight into what’s next.

By Andrew Daly

A sublime blend of blues, soul, funk, and rock, Malina Moye – perhaps better than anyone else – has mastered the art of genre-hopping six-string heroics.

With each successive record – Diamonds & Guitars (2009), Rock & Roll Baby (2014), and Bad as I Wanna Be (2018) – Moye has refined her exotic blend of guitar heroics, imprinting her soulful licks upon the new music landscapes, while harkening back to the heroes who shaped her.

As a defiantly strong female presence in an often male-driven field, Moye has aided in flipping the script, providing a beacon of shredding light for young women to be inspired to pick up a guitar. With three sensational records under her belt and new music on the way for the spring of 2023 in Dirty, Moye is only just getting started.

As she prepares for a busy 2023 ahead, Moye dialed in with VWMusic to recount her origins with the guitar, lessons learned while creating her early records, her secret to good funk guitar, and what’s next as she moves forward.

What first sparked your interest in the guitar?

I come from a musical family—both my parents are in the music business. My dad gave me my first guitar, but because I’m naturally left-handed, I flipped it upside down, and I loved it. I was hooked. My earliest influences were Prince, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. If I had to boil it down in terms of who shaped me most, as I said, Price and Clapton were huge for me. But Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, and Neal Schon were all essential. I love the phrasing, tone, and freedom and feel all these players exude.

If you had to break your particular style down, how would you do so?

I’d say my style is rock with elements of funk and soul. I also love using the color pallet of those styles with some added blues. I like making it melodic, fun, memorable, and groovy.

Can you recount the writing process leading up to your debut record, Diamonds & Guitars? What did you take away from the sessions for your debut leading into the recording of Rock & Roll Baby?

I hear melodies and will sing them on my phone and write lyrics and phrases down. I will come back to them and see which ones really flow and then elaborate. As for Rock & Roll Baby, I was able to record with a full band together at Capitol Records in Hollywood and also songs that didn’t use a full band and leaned more on sequencing and drum machines. I learned to be open and to serve the song. And no matter what, have fun and experiment with new sounds.

Your latest record is 2018’s Bad As I Wanna Be. Is there new music in the works?

My last album, Bad As I Wanna Be, came out in 2018. It seems so long ago with the pandemic. I was so proud because that was my first No.1 album on the Billboard Blues chart for two consecutive weeks. I do have a new album ready to go; it’s called Dirty and is set for release on March 17, 2023. I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

What is the key to good funk guitar music?

I love E minor. There are so many cool licks you can do with fills in this key, especially if you have an incredible bass player. I also think funk is about not playing all the notes but the percussiveness of the guitar, strong rhythm, and accents on certain notes. It’s the feel, baby. To me, either you got it or you don’t.

All images courtesy of WCE Records

How has your approach changed over the years?

My approach is still the same. I’m a student of life, so if I see or hear something that immediately inspires me, I will write it down or sing it in my phone to revisit it at another time. I plan to keep making music and perhaps venture into producing other artists as well since I love to write songs and challenge myself and the music.

What gears and guitars are you using these days?

I usually go between my 1969 Gibson Flying-V, custom Fender Strat with Dimarzio pickups, and my signature Dean Markley Malina Moye Strings on all my guitars. My pedals are Boss Overdrive, Metal Zone, and the Fender Hot Rod DeVille 212 amps. I keep it simple.

Do you feel females are more empowered now to pick up the guitar?

Absolutely, we are. We have always been here as players, and I’m just excited that more people are finally noticing and sharing their platforms. I will always advocate for more partnerships with corporations for women, LGBTQIA+ artists, and people of color.

What’s next for you in all lanes?

I’ve got my new album, Dirty, and an international tour will follow. And I have some TV and film projects on the horizon. I’m very excited about 2023. It’s going to be a busy year, and I can’t wait to share all of this with you all.

All images courtesy of WCE Records

Andrew Daly (@vwmusicrocks) is the Editor-in-Chief for and may be reached at

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