The United Kingdom has long had a major role in the development of phenomenal R&B musicians, including Sade, Marsha Ambrosius, Craig David, Amy Winehouse, Jessie J, and Corinne Bailey Rae. Joining the illustrious list now is the Jamaican-Irish singer Mahalia, who, at age 20, is ready to break out as Atlantic Records shares its best-kept secret. The label signed Mahalia when she was 13 years old and showed a real interest in cultivating her sound, a sound the singer herself describes as a combination of the “wooziness of Erykah Badu and the vibe of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Frank.’”
Mahalia’s most recent R&B ballads – “No Reply” and “”I Wish I Missed My Ex” – show her smoothly transitioning from her earlier spoken-word acoustic pop offerings. The singer came to the attention of fans in the United States when the COLORS-acoustic version of her single “Sober” went viral Mahalia is planning to go on tour soon and has just ended performing as one of the headlining acts at the Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn, New York.
The singer grew up in a predominantly white town and said she was never allowed to “show my Black side.” She said she wanted to be accepted by the people in her school and then once she realized that they would never accept that side of her, she thought, “I’m gonna go out and I’m gonna allow the world or people who want to accept that side of me.” She was especially excited to share the stage with Erykah Badu and Janelle Monae in a place where Black artists and creativity are celebrated. The singer is preparing for a European tour and when she returns to the studio she is hoping for collaborations with H.E.R., Daniel Caesar, SZA, and artists like Angie Stone and Ella Mai.