19-year-old English artist Mahalia is quickly becoming one of the best talents to come out of England. The artist who has a penchant for beautifully-sung R&B and soul has developed a devoted following in her native England and in the US, which has resulted in a string of sold-out shows and a performance at 2018’s AFROPUNK. It’s no wonder why either. Every Mahalia track, including her latest, is imbued with an alluring quality.
“Surprise Me,” the lead single from the forthcoming project Seasons, sees the English R&B artist chronicling a long-distance relationship falling apart. In the timeframe of a short few minutes, Mahalia demonstrates her talent for songwriting, weaving together an enveloping story of love and the difficulty of distance. In many ways, one of the R&B songstress’ greatest skills lies in her intrinsic talent for giving power to simple words and inflections. Throughout “Surprise Me,” at no two points does the word “surprise” plays the same role. Showing off the artful way in which language morphs, Mahalia turns a wished reunion to disappointing reality, at a moment’s notice.
More than just a showcasing of compelling songwriting, “Surprise Me” is a vulnerable bout of R&B that sticks with you. Much in the tradition of R&B greats Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu before her, Mahalia’s ethereal vocals speak of the failings of romantic partners with a sense of candidness and emotional strength that is unmatched. If there is one that won’t prove to be surprising, it will be seeing a lot more of Mahalia’s name in the years to come.
Listen to “Surprise Me” below: