Mahalia at Camden Assembly
Mahalia played to a sold-out Camden Assembly with the casual, approachable ease of someone just having a laugh and a chat with a few of her mates. Indeed, it is both her personality and her talent that made the evening so much fun. Each track was prefaced with a conversational preamble, which might have been a little trite if done by other performers. But Mahalia won her audience over.
Not yet 20 and singing songs she wrote before she was in her teens, Leicester-born Mahalia is one of those performers who is surely too talented to be allowed. Indeed, she was signed by a record label at the tender age of 13, and it’s easy to see why. Her own chill brand of R&B, pop and folk is joyful, nostalgic, and way beyond the capabilities of your usual adolescent.
She stuck mostly to material from her first studio album Diary of Me. These are tracks that tell of typical teen stories (about bullies, first loves, and one asserting their independence) delivered with great maturity.
Silly Girl is a particular lyrical joy, even as it starts with the (now ironically sung) words “Oh my gosh whatever”. Indeed, the wisdom at its core is surely beyond that of many fully grown adults much less a secondary schooler, as Mahalia was when she wrote it. 17, a tune about how she became comfortable in her own skin at that age, has a certain retrospective charm in the way she sings it now, years later. Much in the way that a photograph preserves moments and memories, the songs she sings still feel relevant in their relatable nostalgia.
During the show, this artist’s music came across as raw and unfiltered, but her vocals were nigh on flawless. The years of singing these songs and honing her craft made this a highly polished performance.
Photo: Chloe Newman
For further information and future events visit the Mahalia website here.
Watch the video for Sober here: