On the surface, the two young women who make up urban pop duo Maliibu N Helene couldn’t be more different.
Helene Britany, 19, is a bubbly singer and dancer, an ex-cheerleader with curly hair cascading over her shoulders like a “Vision of Love”-era Mariah Carey. Maliibu Miitch, 23, is a streetwise rapper raised in the South Bronx, New York, who sports a ring in her nose and a sleeve of tattoos on her left arm. Helene was a straight-A student and class president at her school in Galloway Township, New Jersey, before she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a performer.
But put these two together making music and something clicks. You can hear it on the duo’s songs “Starin’ At It” (produced by Dem Jointz) and current single “Figure 8” (produced by DJ Mustard). Their chemistry could be due to the fact that both women have been through a lot in the music business, have a steely work ethic, and are focused on the big picture. And both are very confident about what they bring to the table. Helene is a trained dancer and powerhouse singer who, despite her elastic vocal range, doesn’t need to do a lot of tricks to impress. Maliibu is a cool-as-ice MC with an immediately arresting tone and flow. When you work with minimalist urban producers like DJ Mustard and Dem Jointz, the tracks can be pretty unforgiving if you’re not great. On the songs these two are cooking up for their debut for Island Records, they prove they have what it takes.
Preview Maliibu N Helene “Figure 8” lyric video
“The fact that our partnership does work and that we truly enjoy each other’s company and love making music together shows that it doesn’t matter where you grew up or what you’ve been through,” Helene says. “Music is the one thing that can bring people together. It’s universal.”
When Helene and Maliibu first met they were amazed by each other’s talent. “Listening to Helene sing, it was like fire,” Maliibu says. “She blew my mind. I didn’t think that voice would come out of her little self. She’s mad soulful, she’s mad R&B, but then she’s pop, too. I love that about her.” For her part, Helene was impressed by Maliibu’s authenticity. “She’s so real. She tells you how it is. It’s funny because she comes off really hard, but she’s actually really sweet. She has this laugh that’s so girlish; you don’t expect it from her.” What the two also didn’t expect was how well they’d get along. They bonded over talking about what they’d been through in the industry and what they’d do if they got famous and were followed by the paparazzi. “Maliibu is going to get a squirt gun,” Helene says with a laugh.
Maliibu should probably arm herself with that water pistol now, because Maliibu N Helene are poised to be the next breakout artists on the urban pop scene. “We both know what we want,” Helene says. “Because we’re in different lanes, we’re not stepping on each other’s toes or trying to compete. We work together to make something great.” And what does Maliibu want? “I want everybody who’s ever doubted me to eat their f**king hearts out.”
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