Mafalda opens the door to the lower Manhattan apartment where she is being met with the casual manner of any other twentysomething having guests over for an afternoon hang. She’s dressed in Rag & Bone track pants and platform Converse high tops.
She’s a rising musician of what she calls “dark pop.” She’s also fashion royalty — close family friends with Valentino Garavani, and a darling of designers from Michael Kors to Tory Burch — as well as actual royalty, the daughter of Prince Kyril of Bulgaria and Rosario Nadal of Spain. She bears the full title Princess Mafalda Saxe Cobourg of Bulgaria, but much prefers simply Mafalda — and is taking to New York all on her own, wanting her music to be heard.
Raised in London, she studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston for three years before moving to New York in 2017.
“A lot of my friends were forming bands and that was so inspiring — we used to come out to New York a lot on the weekends, and that’s where it all started,” she says, curled up on the couch in the final few quiet moments ahead of New York Fashion Week and her fall tour in Italy.
Growing up, music was always on in the house. Her parents played Lauryn Hill, The Strokes, Belle & Sebastian and Kaiser Chiefs; as a kid she says she liked a lot of Disney, and later came to find Cat Power and Lana Del Rey.
“It’s funny, we watch VHSes of when we were younger and there is always music playing in the background,” she says. “I think one way or another that kind of connects. But I slowly and surely progressed — I definitely don’t sound like how I used to.”
She started writing music when she was 14. “I just knew that I wanted to do something in music,” she says. “My mom took us to a lot of concerts when we were younger, and I just thought that everything about it was unbelievable.”
It wasn’t until Berklee and when she released her first song, “Don’t Let Go,” in 2015 that she knew being a musician was what she wanted for a career.
Her EP “Daisy Chain” was released last June, produced by Ian Barter and Doug Schadt (Schadt produced Maggie Rogers’ breakout “Alaska”). Today she releases “Daisy Chain,” the second video from the EP.
Having grown up around fashion, and now having found a home with the New York-based industry — be it performing at events or attending shows (like Ralph Lauren this past Saturday) — Mafalda says she’s always felt a natural connection between music and fashion. “Singing at events is something that for me has really helped me develop as an artist,” she says. “My relationship [with designers] didn’t develop on a bigger scale until I moved to the city. People are just so open and calm here that I don’t want to leave just quite yet.”