Facing down life's tribulations with soulful confidence...

British singer Mahalia’s debut album ’Love And Compromise’ follows a plethora of impressive projects such as ‘Diary Of Me’ and ‘Seasons’, and with an experimental soundscape - tinged with heart-break, lessons learned the hard way, newly gained self-confidence and much more – the rise of this young Leicester-born R&B singer continues.

Opening with ‘Hide Out’, which begins with a snippet of a 1982 interview with singer Eartha Kitt, where she discusses love and compromise, is the perfect introduction to the defiant spirit encapsulated within the album.

From here, the carefree, upbeat tones of hit single ‘I Wish I Missed My Ex’ take over, as her smooth, smiling voice brings forth a celebration of moving on from the one that wasn’t “the one”.

The summery afrobeats-tinged collaboration with Burna Boy is an early highlight, one that touches the topic of trust packaged within a bop. Flirtatious yet self-assured ‘Good Company’ comes with the message that it’s okay to say no if you’re not in the mood for fooling around – something Mahalia makes known through her catchy yet impactful lyrics: “I like the kind of guy who’ll wait for it, because I want to be good company...”

The 21-year-old – who has been signed since was 13, releasing music since 2015 - found her voice a long time ago, despite struggling to get there, in fact almost quitting music in 2017.

But the online popularity of ‘Sober’ gave her the confidence to keep going and it’s only been upwards and onwards since then. Her sound is impressive, but the fact she has continued to hone it, growing sonically and lyrically is most noteworthy; managing to effortlessly keep the momentum going through the 13 tracks of her latest production.

Mahalia’s unique voice and well-earned confidence in herself shines through particularly on tracks such as the infectious ‘Do Not Disturb’ or the feel-good ‘Regular People’ featuring Hamzaa and Lucky Daye – which becomes the second highlight.

There are some lulls within the otherwise gripping production, as the memory of (still well-made) tracks such as ‘Karma’ and ‘Richie’ fade, but these moments of less captivating music pass by quickly with brilliance taking over once again.

A collection of varying sounds, ‘Love And Compromise’ is a clear reflection of Mahalia’s eclectic taste in music , featuring mid-noughties R&B ‘He's Mine’, the vocally dynamic ‘Consistency, the confessional Ella Mai collaboration ‘What You Did’ all within the same offering; drawing audiences with differing tastes in music easily with no tactical pull involved.

After several sonic twists and turns, final track ‘Square 1’, brings it back to her signature R&B sound- as it humorously tackles the familiar scenario of “going in circles” in a relationship that clearly didn’t work out the first time - bringing ‘Love And Compromise’ to an end with a strong finish.

At the end of this journey, we’re left not only with a playlist you’re itching to put on repeat, but also with the a much-needed notion of an inspirational woman made much stronger- much more in love with herself- by the trials and tribulations of her life.

8/10

Words: Malvika Padin

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