Mahalia Delivers Seasons Amidst a Takeover of the Global Music Scene
Evan Dale // Sep 25, 2018
By the blessings of all that is good, soulful, and sweet in this world, Mahalia has unleashed her first EP collection, Seasons at the end of a run that has seen her grow and expand her horizons from a Sober 2017 to a 2018 delineated by a handful of singles and another basket of praise-worthy features. Quickly taking reigns as the unprecedented queen of an emerging UK school of innovative songwriters properly populated by some of her closest London friends and collaborators like Jay Prince, Poppy Ajudha, and the incomparable Kojey Radical, her sound has become well-rounded and simultaneously independent enough to both compliment and command no matter where her presence is felt.
Her vocals are her signature and become unmistakable no matter the counterbalances involved, finding peace, harmony, and irreplaceably stirring emotion with each release. But now that such a release has enough space to allow her a firmer exploration of specific stylistic maneuvering, Mahalia begins to wholesomely display the growth she has unearthed over such a busy annual. Her barrage of singles and feature work over the past year have granted her an impossibly wide foundation of talent and approaches with which to work from, but all of them, thanks to that wide-ranging skillset and even further ranging collaborators, felt like the work of a very talented yet eclectic musician.
With Seasons, Mahalia’s approach is steadied, her vision narrowed, her sound perfected. Undoubtedly building on some of her more slow-and-steady, acoustically informed work, the EP feels like a 17-minute discussion at the end of a very defining relationship. But even in consideration of the oftentimes solemn approach and explorations of heartbreaking motifs, absolutely nothing is lost from Mahalia’s signature gumption. A ferocity, a spark, a spunk, a spirit is always present in her work, even when that work seems inspired by emotionally trying times.
In immediate standout, Seasons’ opener, One Night Only – certainly thanks to the Kojey feature – is an unmissable track and is sure to become the next vibrant hit in her unmatchable canon of late. The energy of the track, more reminiscent of a certain collection of her releases, is also a few notches higher than that of the rest of the project. Again, Kojey’s presence is likely to thank.
From there, the project unwinds and undresses itself at a different pace. Not quite a romantic piece because of the antithesis subject matter at hand, but certainly possessing the auditory aesthetic of the modern R&B-pop, neo-soul circuit of ballads, Seasons takes its time. And that’s a good thing. Good Reason in particular, a piano ballad driven by an uncharacteristically fragile delivery, shows a new side to Mahalia’s sonic sphere.
As a singular unit, Seasons derives its fluidity from its storytelling – exhibiting Mahalia’s established lyrical ability. And in fragments – in singular tracks – Seasons defines itself as a collection of differing sonic approaches tethered to one another by emotional relatability and a more focused musical approach than what we’re used to from such a versatile artist.
Nothing is lost in its sense of congruence. The world is well aware of Mahalia’s range. But something is gained. She is no longer just one of the most exciting young artists in music, now she is one of the most consistent and capable. Seasons is proof.