Mahalia is chasing a new Top 20 albums chart peak with her second album, IRL.
IRL was released via Atlantic on Friday (July 14). It follows the release in April of lead single Terms And Conditions, which has 5.75 million plays on Spotify.
Mahalia plays an album release show at HMV Empire in Coventry today (July 20). A UK and European tour will follow in the autumn.
In an interview in the latest edition of Music Week, Mahalia speaks out on the need for the wider UK industry to back R&B.
At this year’s BRITs, the Best Pop/R&B Act category shortlisted Harry Styles, Dua Lipa, Sam Smith, Charli XCX and Cat Burns. The list drew criticism online, with Mahalia prominent among the dissenters.
“Desperately searching for the R&B act at the BRITs,” she tweeted when the shortlist was announced. She then wore a jacket painted with the words ‘Long Live R’n’B’ to the event.
R&B is underrepresented in the UK, especially in the mainstream world
Mahalia later told the BBC: “There’s an idea that American R&B artists can be commercially successful, and we [in the UK] can’t. That conversation needs to become more positive. I just think it would be really powerful for R&B artists to have their own moment to shine.”
Speaking to Music Week, Mahalia said: “I was actually very scared that night and didn’t want it to come off as too heavy. When the BRITs first announced there would be genre categories a couple of years ago, I was quite pleased. You would imagine that a lot of genres would start to get the love they’ve been waiting to see.
“But the merging of pop and R&B bothered me and a lot of other R&B artists. There is a crossover, R&B dominates the charts in the US and a lot of it has crossed over here. But merging the categories like that felt... a little bit silly. Because the genres do mix, but they’re in no way the same. And I think R&B is underrepresented in the UK, especially in the mainstream world, so this just makes it harder.”
See the full interview in the latest edition of Music Week.