by Paridhhi Bajoria

Photo credit: Busk Music

There wasn’t a single person in the audience who wasn’t tapping their foot and grooving to the mellow and comforting vibe that Mahalia created at her live performance at the Lemon Grove on Wednesday last week. This show was the very first of her UK tour. She took the audience on her musical journey by singing a range of songs – old and new.

She opened with her song 17 from her debut album Diary Of Me. Everyone sang along with every single song and to be honest, it was really surprising to see Mahalia’s look of astonishment that everyone knew the lyrics to all her songs. Her chirpy and humorous aura really lifted the audience up, while she narrated interesting stories that explained the thought behind every song she was going to sing next. Listening to these stories simply showed that Mahalia has had a very normal and a rather relatable past, has made the same human mistakes, just like anyone else; but what makes her different from all of us is that she can encapsulate her life events into brilliant musical emotion. She effortlessly portrayed her versatility as a young musician by giving some of her songs an acoustic twist, playing the guitar herself with a very well-coordinated musical synchrony from the accompanying drummer and bass guitarist. The blend of the use of technology, pre-recorded sounds and the magic that Mahalia created live was highly impressive. The overall sound of each of the songs performed was extremely wholesome.

She performed her extremely touching musical monologue Back Up Plan, which everyone listened to in extreme awe. “Yes, she’s going to court today, for the dress she stole away, it was for a big audition; Oh my, she’s on a mission to show the teachers and the guys, she made something of her life.” It was certainly very inspiring coming from someone who was performing in front of people who are around the same age as her. She interacted with everyone in the audience, and even joked around with those standing in the front row. It was amazing to see how she made everyone feel so comfortable as that helped the audience to enjoy her live music even more. The lack of space on the stage did not stop her from dancing away to her own tunes when she said she was “starting a party” with the song Hold On.

She ended her set with the two songs that defined her career – I Wish I Missed My Ex and Sober. The crowd went absolutely crazy when she sang those two smashing bops. It would be fair to say that Mahalia only sang half of Sober herself as the crowd took over in excitement.

Despite Mahalia’s raw, unique talent and her beaming personality, what stood out the most was her honesty and unmatchable energy. As expressive as Mahalia is with her music, she sings her truth. It was surely one of the most intimate and wonderfully orchestrated live performances I have ever witnessed.