Interview, Podcast|16th September 2019

Mahalia on Being Signed at 13, Early Career, Love and Compromise, Ella Mai + MORE

Mahalia may be new name to mainstream audiences but the singer-songwriter has definitely put in more than her 10,000 hours. After uploading covers online and being championed by Ed Sheeran, Mahalia signed her first record deal at the tender age of 13.

In the eight years since then, the Leicester born musician has experienced many different things. Street busking, touring with Jorja Smith and Ella Mai, and topping Youtube’s first ever Ones To Watch list are all worth mentioning.

2017 was somewhat of a breakthrough year for Mahalia. Prior to this she’d released both shorter and longer projects (check out Diary Of Me) but her debut Colours session really set the net alight.

To this day Sober is still the fourth most watched video on the youtube channel. Another notable track from this time was one of her favourite tracks, No Pressure.

Mahalia’s first release in 2018 saw her link up with fellow Brit Little Simz on their track Proud Of Me. Another collaboration came alongside her friend and fellow artist Kojey Radical on his track Water, and her song One Night Only.

Towards the end of the year Mahalia packaged a short but sweet 5 track EP called ‘Seasons’. In our conversation we spoke about this time period in her life and the slow process of her career started to pick up pace.

One song released before the EP but left of the project was her popular track ‘I Wish I Missed My Ex (IWIMME)‘. When this first dropped I played the song week in week in out the radio. A catchy sing-a-long hook, crazy video and WSTRN lyrical sample blended perfectly together in this release, which became the onset of her current album Love and Compromise.

After touring with Ella Mai in the previous year, 2019 was all about Mahalia. Release upon release her popularity increased, leaving fans eagerly anticipating next move.

The next single release from the album (before we even knew an album was a thing) was her track Do Not Disturb. In a follow up to IWIMME it seemed like Mahalia had a particular person in mind, finding her own way to assert her position to said person.

Her final single before the album took everyone by surprise. Simmer featuring Burna Boy is definitely her most popular song amongst mainstream audiences to date. Striking the perfect tone between pop sounds, RnB emotions and afrobeats swag, in our interview Mahalia explained how Kojey Radical helped write the hit. In other interviews Mahalia explained this is the most comfortable she’s ever felt in front of the camera.

After a busy summer of shows, including Glastonbury, it was final album season. Love and Compromise by Mahalia 100% makes my little list of favourite projects from 2019.
The first words on the album belong to Eartha Kitt. Her infamous interview almost mocking the word ‘compromise’ sets the perfect tone for the next 43 minutes. With themes of self-love, friendship and boys wanting what they can’t have, Love and Compromise details how romantic relationships breakdown, and the back and forth after.

Powerful rather than sad, Love and Compromise by Mahalia journeys through regaining your self-worth after someone violates your love and trust. When listening to the tape I felt Mahalia occupied the space where you realise ‘maybe I wasn’t the problem’.

Upbeat tempos throughout the album gave the sense of strength synonymous with really loving, and being happy with, yourself. This is represented well through the tracks Good Company, What Am I? and Regular People featuring Hamzaa and Lucky Daye.

Through our interview I discovered Ella Mai was the last addition to the album, in a random moment of madness, 48 hours before everything was due to be sent off. Mahalia explained how it went down.

‘I was on a tour bus in a muddy field and I got this text from Ella saying “Hey is your album submitted?” I was like “Oh my god, why?” She said “I would love to be a part of it!” And for me that was the nicest thing!’

The girls put a wicked twist on the track ‘What You Did’ sampling Cam’ron’s Oh Boy. The video alongside is very strong too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azA0RJMUK0E

Love And Compromise by Mahalia is definitely one of my favourite albums from this year. A diverse range in music, strong themes and high quality production come together to make a very enjoyable listen.

I can’t wait to see her live show as Mahalia kicks of a 2 month tour around America, Canada and Europe from September 22nd to December 19th.  She recently added a special show date for the O2 Academy in Brixton, Friday 1st May 2020. Grab your tickets HERE and make sure you listen to the album.