Mahalia at Rescue Rooms

Having been introduced to Mahalia by a close friend, I first noticed her from her Colours performance in which she sang her hit 2017 single ‘Sober’. When I saw that she was coming to Nottingham on the 8th October I jumped at the chance to get tickets and was even more ecstatic when they were just £11! Her performance did not disappoint. Her smooth RnB voice was just as brilliant live as it is in her records, ensuring it was the best gig I have seen so far.

My friend and I arrived at Rescue Rooms early to see the support act Jvck James’ set and immediately became fans of his cheeky aura and impressive RnB vocal range. He attracted the crowd’s attention immediately and created a cool vibe early in the night. Thanking Mahalia at the end of his set and expressing his adoration for the genre created an emotionally engaging atmosphere that made us feel appreciative of music at its core.

When Mahalia came on stage, the room felt electric with the audience going crazy for the British singer songwriter. Having only listened to her main hits, I was eager to hear the likes of ‘Sober’ and ‘I Wish I Missed my Ex’. Naturally, these came towards the end of her set list. The tone of the night was relaxed, cool, and stripped back, with a brilliant combination of soulful and sensual songs that highlighted her unique sound.

As a songwriter, Mahalia takes the hardships that every girl often faces in relationships, the painful parts of love and turns them into relatable lyrics. Born and raised in Leicestershire, this gig felt more intimate and personal for the audience and artist herself at it’s so close to home. In between songs she would chat to us and was clearly very in tune with her audience, knowing exactly how to interact with them and express her distaste for the fakery of the music world. This made us love her even more!

The emotional connection she has with her craft was clear: she danced around the stage, hyping the crowd and addressing individual audience members. She even joked about us filming her and only posting them if we got her good side! Her voice and vibe are so genuine and down-to-earth, she can even sing amazingly well live unlike many other artists. She played a lot of her songs with her own acoustic guitar which showed just how talented she is in creating an inspirational and fun show.

The audience were clearly fully committed fans, eager to see their favourite artist who is bound to catapult into stardom very soon, as we joined in with singing especially during songs like ‘17’ and ‘No Pressure’. Her relaxed ambiance brought the small venue together and changed the atmosphere from an intimate solo artist (who at one point did a spoken word poetry performance than caused chills in the silent room) to that of a larger and vivacious sing along. She even stopped at one point to allow the crowd to belt their hearts out.

Mahalia even treated us to some songs on her new EP, my personal favourite being ‘Good Reason’ which had THE most relatable lyrics for any girl who stayed longer than she should have in a bad relationship. We’ve all been there. Her rendition gave me goosebumps due to the husky, soft quality of her voice and even moved me to tears when hitting those notes that expressed the intense feeling exuding from the song.  

She moved effortlessly between stripped back singing and more upbeat jams, demonstrating the range of her voice and the ways she can deliver raw emotion that affects a whole room of people simultaneously. With the classiest twerk, she ended her set with the classic ‘Sober’, leaving the room buzzing with adrenalin, cheers, and dancing. Despite sharing similarities with the likes of Jorja Smith, her bubbly personality and best friend feel is sure to help her grow in the global music scene. The night was spine tingling, exciting, and led to a fabulous evening of emotional music and home-grown talent.