Mahalia Burkmar, better known by her stage name Mahalia, is an English R&B and Neo-Soul artist based in Birmingham. Drawing inspiration from Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill, Mahalia’s euphonic vocals earned her a spot in Asylum Records UK—a record label that released Ed Sheeran’s debut album +. Interestingly, all of this took place when Burkmar was 13.
Her first EP, Head Space, was released July 2012, and is the epitome of an emerging adolescent’s approach to love. Mahalia’s follow-up EP, Never Change, was released in 2015 after the singer went on a hiatus to finish up her education. The three-year gap gave Mahalia time to mature. In a way, Never Change converses with her previous EP since the themes of the songs “Never Change,” “Borrowers,” “Up,” and “Maisie” focus on personal growth, self-worth, and a more jaded perspective on young love. Her 2016 album, Diary of Me, carries the same messages and can be interpreted as a reflection of Mahalia’s journey into adulthood.
Mahalia’s discography is primarily acoustic-based, but her recent music such as the track “One Night Only” in her 2018 EP Seasons and singles “No Pressure,” “Sober,” “No Reply,” and “I Wish I Missed My Ex,” has experimented with synthesized jazzy instrumentals to align with the contemporary R&B genre popular today. Mahalia has also collaborated with artists Buddy and Little Simz in singles “Hold On” and “Proud of Me” respectively.
Her raw but polished lyricism shows listeners how delicately Mahalia handles the emotion-charged topics that she sings about. Mahalia’s music is designed for those experiencing love, heartbreak, self-esteem issues, or the insatiable curiosity to discover oneself.
— Patricia Damocles, Asst. Poetry Editor; Asst. Layout Editor; Communications & Media Editor