As Mahalia strutted out on stage in her light pink jumpsuit and black high top converse, you knew you were in for a treat; she appeared so cool and calm that you could not help but admire her. Then she burst into her popular track ‘No Pressure’ to warm up the crowd as they echoed the lyrics in unison, proving all my thoughts and surpassing my expectations – Mahalia is as talented as she is cool.
After changing the mood to her more soulful track of ‘One Night Only’, Mahalia introduced herself and offered the first insight into her extremely likeable and down-to-earth personality. She explained how the gospel layered tune ‘Proud Of Me’ is really dedicated to her family and her fans when she acknowledged that this was her first headlining show here in Leeds, an admission which was greeted with an eruption of cheers from the sold-out crowd.
Not only did Mahalia’s mesmerising vocals capture the audience in awe, but as she delved into diary-like entries in between songs, casually chatting about her experiences with body image, social media and ex-boyfriends – just as one would do with their best friends – the crowd was completely still. She opened up about the reality of it all and how she wants to use her platform to reassure girls and boys that if you believe you have a beautiful heart then you are “so peng.”
She gracefully sung a few more hits including ‘17’, ‘Surprise Me’ and ‘Good Reason’, with her sultry and effortless vocals. One moment which stood out was her spoken verse and accompanying melodies in the song ‘Back Up Plan’, which she performed so eloquently, captivating the audience with her impressive song-writing ability.
Chatting to the crowd with her final story about a boy she had a crush on when she was twelve and the journey they went on together; the way Mahalia opened up and made everyone laugh along just made you fall in love with her raw personality. She broke into ‘I Wish I Missed My Ex’ which caused everyone to scream and dance along to the upbeat and relatable tune. The breakout hit, ‘Sober’, finished off her set perfectly, leaving you wanting more.
Despite it being an intimate, small gig, Mahalia is a raw talent who confidently performed and who acted like a friend you had known for years.