Alison Lowery

Mahalia @ Leaf on Bold Street

Mahalia has grown and grown in recent years, recording with big artists such as Rudimental, Kojey Radical and Russ to name a few. Bringing her fresh take on alt-R&B, Mahalia fuses soul with relatable stories and experiences, as she brings the Seasons tour to Liverpool.

After discovering her music in early 2017, I set my sights on seeing her perform live. This was realised in 2018 at Liverpool international Music Festival (LIMF), however it didn’t quite meet what I had in mind. So when the opportunity to see her perform a more intimate headline gig in Liverpool came up I jumped at the chance, and this time I left feeling spellbound.

The venue, Leaf, by day is a nice, chilled and slightly hipster cafe. It is situated on the famous Bold Street, a unique and bustling street in the heart of Liverpool full of cafes and vintage shops. The upstairs of Leaf acts as a music venue, with a small stage at one end, and the ceiling draped with fairly lights. The whole place provides a relaxed and intimate feel.

When we arrived it was still pretty early giving us plenty of time to grab a drink from the bar and a good position near the front of the stage ready for the support act Jvck James to appear. James is only 19 but had the stage presence of a seasoned pro. Performing a handful of original songs, as well as a Ms. Lauryn Hill and Bob Marley’s Turn Your Lights Down Low’ cover to the backing of a stripped guitar. James seemed to be the perfect fit as a warm up to Mahalia. You can have a listen to his music here.

Citing Ms. Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu as two key influences in her artistry, Mahalia certainly delivered a performance worthy of the pair. During her set she prefaced many songs with a little background as to why she wrote it, with most being to do with being let down by guys, or experiences at school. These stories connected her to the crowd so well that most of the girls (and even some of the guys) in the crowd cheered in appreciation of experiencing the same thing.

Her easy stage presence was endearing and captivating, only adding to a vocally pitch perfect set. During performances such as ‘I wished I missed my Ex’ the room was alight with energy and soul.

Mahalia has recently released her new five track EP Seasons, stating that each song represents how she is in a relationship. Perfectly interweaving her newest tracks into the set list with her older and equally popular songs like ‘Sober’, struck the right balance connecting her older fans to newer ones.

For her first headline gig in Liverpool which was sold out, Mahalia delivered a great performance. Her openness on stage was endearing and a surprise, only adding to her likability as an artist. Overall the gig was great, with a warm and friendly venue, central to the heart of Liverpool making access easy and painless, including moderately priced drinks and outstanding performances from all.

You should definitely give Mahalia’s latest EP Seasons a listen, you can find it on Spotify here along with other major streaming sites!

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