People like Mahalia are exceedingly rare indeed. If you’re happy to take a minute out of your time to check her music out, you’ll undoubtedly feel the same way. People that own their voices and pick up a distinct style always beep the loudest on our musical radar. Upon first listen to Mahalia that much is clear, her songwriting abilities (though she has worked with fellow artists on this), and musical talents are well worthy of their place in the public consciousness upon their own merit. When you realise she is only 13 years old, it becomes obvious quite how special that makes her. Forget ‘she’s good for a 13 year old’, Mahalia is one of the most promising solo artists we have listened to in a while. The fact she is 13 is just an inconceivable notion that makes her achievements one of the most incredible things we’ve ever come across at HMCMB.
There’s plenty of child stars, and plenty of talented ones, but very few that you respect for more than just their skill, in reference to their age. To elaborate, using this blog as a (pretty crappy) example, we were always proud of achieving what we had, before we were even old enough to enter the venues we were reviewing – and still am. The look of surprise on people’s faces when you turn up to gigs, interviews or acoustic sessions having just caught the train from college never got old. We weren’t proud because of our age directly, but because we’d been considered worthy, irrespective of our age. Now imagine that, but with someone 4 years younger, and 10 times more talented. She’s only just started her GCSE’s for christ’s sake. Mahalia needn’t be judged for her lack of years, her music easily stands against anything you’ll hear today by artists in the ‘correct’ age range.
Maybe then it’s time to stop gawping at how ridiculous it is that someones is writing such beautiful music while most are struggling to do anything other than watch television and go to school, and focus on the music in question. Ever After shows Mahalia at her most impressive, the simple conversation of engaging chorus’, simple but effective guitar,a beautiful voice and unabashed accent make for an upbeat, engaging and importantly fun track. Her cover of the Arctic Monkeys’ Mardy Bum and Let The World See The Light show a slower, passionate, tender voice with the confidence to use the full range of her rather wonderful voice. If you thought you had her pinned as a young Corrinne Bailey Rae – with whom the comparisons are strongest – enter Camden Town, a feel good ‘hip-pop’ ode, though one with far more in common with Kid British than Rizzle Kicks. Sure, the subject material is a little cliche, it doesn’t stop it being thoroughly enjoyable musically. Just check out this live performance for examples of both the track’s quality, and her equally enjoyable exuberant stage presence. If you could be any more impressed, then this will make sure you are.
So it seems then in Mahalia there’s a versatile, unique and unfathomably young bright star in the UK music scene’s night sky. With fans in SBTV, Mikill Pane and Ed Sheeran, as well as a flurry of exposure and a support slot for 21 year old Wretch 32 collaborator Josh Kumra, things are only to get better. The only issue really being whether success this young is either too much, or in the long run detrimental. In the constantly changing musical landscape though, who can really be sure.
Once you’ve stopped feeling bad for how little you achieved in your first teenage year, be sure to head to her Facebook and Soundcloud to keep tabs on one of the most impressive artists we’ve ever come across. We’ll leave you with a line from her track Camden Town; ’13 and already finished with this hype ting’. How many people do you know can say that?
Mahalia - Ever After
Mahalia - Mardy Bum