Mahalia has been making waves in the music industry since she was 13 years old. 8 years ago she signed to Atlantic Records and since then has steadily released numerous singles, as well as a number of EPs, with her most recent being the hotly acclaimed ‘Seasons‘.
But now the wait is over and we have finally got her stellar debut ‘LOVE & COMPROMISE’.
It’s a fantastic first album from the 21-year-old. It’s an incredibly honest and romance-led record with highly intelligent songwriting throughout, and considering her age, it carries a very strong sense of maturity alongside it.
It opens with the track Hide Out. Beginning with a sample from an interview between Eartha Kitt and a journalist, we can hear her refuting and laughing at the fact that a woman should ever compromise herself for a man.
Compromise? What is Compromise? Compromising for what? Compromising for what reason?
With a blend of soulful and harmonised backing vocals, the sultry track sees the female R&B star sing about a relationship in which she’s giving more than she’s getting back, because sadly, her partner was messing around.
‘I was here the whole time, you was busy chasing / You don’t know what you had; I’m amazing.
Clearly I’m the humour, and you’ve been messing / Always talking ’bout the future, when you’re not even present’.
This opening track acts as a marker for what fans can expect from the rest of the album and also acts as a reminder of what her previous releases stand for – Self love, being strong, self- appreciation and being true to yourself.
Track 2 is a familiar one – ‘I Wish I Missed My Ex’.
Aside from ‘Sober‘, this brilliant 2018 single is most definitely a fan favourite as well as a live favourite! It sits nicely next to her dance-hall/afro-beat single ‘Simmer’ ft. Burna Boy and her first single of 2019 – ‘Do Not Disturb’ – which sees her cutting all ties with a partner, using the clever reference of the iPhone mode ‘Do Not Disturb’ 🌙
Whilst these have already been pre-released as singles, they’re still incredibly enjoyable for those who have already heard them, and have earned every right to be featured on the 13 track LP!
Now, just because there are a few familiar songs on the album, this doesn’t mean that the new tracks carry any less importance. ‘Love & Compromise’ is solid proof that Mahalia has never once compromised herself or her sound, and has stuck to making the music that she intends to make.
4. ‘Good Company’ ft. Terrace Martin has clear fusions of Jazz, R&B and Hip-Hop all rolled into one as an infectious guitar riff leads the song into the classic laid-back R&B style that fans such as myself can’t get enough of.
Track 7 – ‘Karma’ – is another wonderful addition to the album and is one of my favourites so far. This slow-jam will just make you want to kick-back, relax and forget all your troubles with every listen.
Carrying a similar romantic vibe to that of ‘Good Company’, we’re graced with getting to hear the 21-year-old soulfully croon and float over this jazz fuelled track. The way everything comes together from the piano to the saxophone to the way her glistening vocals shine on top of an electrifying free-style guitar just makes ‘Karma‘ a track that I find myself coming back to time and time again.
‘I don’t see nothing wrong with being regular people / We don’t have to sing that song just to feel like we’re equal /
‘This one here is for the odd and the equal / So put your hands up for the regular people’ /
When listening, it reminds me of her 2018 single ‘Proud Of Me’ ft. Little Simz due to the sing-along nature of it’s chorus. It’s such a relatable song and the temptation to sing it from the top of your lungs that comes with it is quite unbearable.. So it’s definitely going to be a crowd favourite at live shows!
Much like her others, it’s a track that cleverly relays the message of staying true to yourself and always remaining strong; From the first moment I heard her music, it was clear that she was a strong and assertive young girl, and to relay these messages through her music for starters makes her an intelligent and conscious songwriter, but also a great role model, especially for her young female fan-base.
To have a listen to these 3 tracks, just hit the play button down below! 👇
Mahalia’s career has already seen her work with some top acts including Rudimental, Burna Boy & Little Simz. It’s also given her the opportunity to bring new and exciting artists to the surface, and that’s what we’re all about here at Busk Music!
Track 9 – ‘What You Did’ – featuring Ella Mai is a lovely offering from the two. Famous for her singles ‘Boo’d Up‘ and ‘Trip‘, the fellow UK singer joins Mahalia as they sing about the ups-and-downs of a relationship, with them ultimately refusing to take back a cheating ex.
Using a slowed-down sample of Cam’ron’s ‘Oh Boy‘, the track takes us on a nostalgic journey by using the 00’s sample and as well as the woozy bass lines and hypnotic synths, it screams 90’s R&Bat you. It’s another flawless effort from Mahalia & Mai and emphasises the two singers’ effortless musical abilities – Mai’s commanding yet gentle voice intertwines perfectly with Mahalia’s golden tone to bring a stand-out track, and as of a few days ago, has has been accompanied with an absolute visual treat in the form of a music video.
The cinematic project sees the duo in a number of settings (one including a burning car) as they show us why they were a musical match made in heaven! They harmonise, run and riff off one another angelically and if the 90’s nostalgia wasn’t enough, there’s a spectacular black and white scene which pays homage to early 90’s R&B queen Aaliyah.
Check out the pair in their fiery new video which has now already got over 350k views since it’s release a couple of days ago 🔥
Album closer ‘Square 1‘ is everything you’d expect from Mahalia, and more. She’s clearly honed her sound and is more than confident displaying what type of artist she intends to be, and the result is delightful.
Opening with neo-soul piano riffs for the first 30 seconds, a mix of full-bodied gospel choir backing vocals joins in and is subtly coupled with a jazzy brass section as she vents her frustrations on the issue of consistently going ‘back to square one’ in a relationship..
Then, coming up to the 2 minute mark we have her vintage spoken-word section, which instantly turns ‘Square 1′ into a timeless Mahalia track. Perfect.
All in all, Love & Compromise is an album full of an array of musical fusions, perfectly chosen features and dazzling new songs for people to get their teeth into! It’s clear that Mahalia has wanted to put out an album that was as honest as possible; something that her fans can relate to and to help them stay strong when they need to be. The lyrics are mature, they’re honest, and everything about this album feels sincere.
Once you get stuck in, it’s hard to stop listening and if this is what she’s like at 21-years-old, there’s no doubt in my mind that Mahalia’s going to be a huge female name in the music industry.
Stream LOVE & COMPROMISE on Spotify down below and follow Mahalia on all her socials! 👇
Written by Conor McCarthy-Lusher