Autumn has arrived and festival season is a distant memory... Or is it? First Fifty is here to save us from the doom and gloom.
19-year-old Leicester-native, Birmingham-based singer-songwriter Mahalia Burkmar’
In an interview with FACT Magazine Mahalia playfully suggested that she’d like people to refer to her music as “psycho-acoustic soul” – We’re totally on board with this. The soul part is glaringly obvious with just one listen to any of Mahalia’s discography. The acoustic segment is necessary as she has played guitar since she was 12 and that’s how most of her songs are created – her and a guitar. Psycho implies the headspace she’s in when writing her deeply personal songs.
Incorporating some chill, boom-bap beats to her acoustic sound and considering her influences (Eryka Badu, Lauryn Hill), Mahalia is similar to Jorja Smith and Amy Winehouse yet still a novelty all her own.
Hit play on “Proud Of Me” below, Mahalia’s latest track displaying her trademark open-hearted lyricism. London wordsmith Little Simz expertly contributes to the tune with some intricate bars too. Yep, you guessed it … it bangs.
Tipping Mahalia for a successful career in the arts from a young age seems to have been a pretty safe bet. She wrote her first song at age eight and signed a major record deal at age thirteen. Mahalia appeared on the title track of Rudimental’s 2015 album “We The Generation”. Need more proof of her young creative prowess? She also played Thea in the 2016 movie Brotherhood, it’s pretty obvious that her talent is real.
Mahalia dropped her debut EP “Diary Of Me” in 2016 which was a success on streaming sites garnering millions of plays. Since then she hasn’t stopped turning heads, developing her sound and releasing a string of high-quality singles becoming a streaming sensation in her own right.
She’s just finished supporting Jorja Smith on her sold-out tour, according to Jorja … Mahalia smashed it:
If you haven’t heard “Sober” you need to hit play on the video below right now. The drunk-text inspired soulful R’n’B ballad has earned Mahalia over 13 million streams and thousands of new fans.
“No Pressure” is another excellent standalone release from 2017:
Where can I see her live?
Mahalia is touring the UK in March and she has just announced a special Scala London show in May for her 20th birthday. You can find tickets for upcoming Mahalia shows here: ticketweb.uk/mahalia.