It’s hard to believe that an artist with an output and reputation as strong as Mahalia’s hasn’t released an album yet. But having signed to Asylum Records via Atlantic at the age of 13, before taking the time to finish school in her hometown of Leicester and find her sound, Mahalia’s entire career has been an exercise in intuition and patience.
A testament to the success of major label patience, even at a young age Mahalia, born Mahalia Burkmar, chose not to allow the pressure of signing to rush her process and growth as a young artist. She began releasing acoustic music in her late teens before moving down to London to pursue her career after high school. Appreciative of the relationships she’s been able to nurture with her record label, Mahalia once even joked that she’s a ‘label baby’ though she strives to maintain a level of creative independence at all times.
Raised in a musical family, her confidence and prowess at the tender age of 21 is impressive but expected. “I grew up in a house where my mum would tell me if a lyric was shit. And when she said that, she meant, you can do better and she was right.” Her mother hails from a singing background and was in a band called Colourbox in the 80s, while her dad was also a session musician and songwriter. She also shares her passion for music with all three of her brothers who she reckons instilled in her a deep desire to just be heard: “when you’re a girl among boys you just don’t get listened to.” All these details contextualising her love for connecting with others through her music and live shows, as well as her openness in her music.
Despite her age, her journey to this record has definitely ebbed and flowed over the years. “When I got to 18 and I moved to London, I was confused because I thought that I was ready but I really wasn’t.” Mahalia bounced around the houses of friends and family for over a year, with very little money or motivation to create: “I was just finding life really difficult.” She details one particular low point when she called on her usual friends for a place to crash in London, but one by one the plans all fell through. She found herself at Paddington with her suitcase and nowhere to stay: “I remember jumping the barrier and getting a train back up to Leicester that night to stay at a friend’s house. It was just a mad time” she revels.
It wasn’t until she decided to move back to Leicester in 2017 that she wrote and released breakout single ‘Sober’. “All of that was just me losing confidence and feeling insecure, watching other artists surpass me and I hadn’t even worked out who I was yet.” Fast forward to present day, via a viral COLORS session that travelled globally and “changed everything”, international tours - both support and headline - a string of infectious singles and collaborations with the likes of Little Simz and Kojey Radical, Mahalia has been back in London for over a year now and writing her debut album for just as long.
Her jam-packed schedule of activity seems to go against the traditional album-mode exile that many artists practice these days - isolating themselves from their everyday lives and social media to focus solely on writing for prolonged periods of time. Instead Mahalia utilises the everyday to draw inspiration and energy from, explaining “I find that the busy periods away mean that when I’m back, I’m truly excited to return to the studio.”
Inspired by Eartha Kitt, Mahalia’s debut album is titled “Love and Compromise”. Named after the clip of Kitt that resurfaced and went viral a few years ago, where she unapologetically addresses her views on relationship and the idea of compromise. Mahalia explains, “I watched that clip religiously and it was such a huge part of my growth and understanding myself in relationships with men.” In the 3-minute snippet, the iconic triple threat star who was a singer, dancer, actor is posed the question of whether she’d be prepared to compromise if a man entered her life. In response, Kitt cackles dramatically and proceeds to return the question repeatedly, asking the interviewer to unpack everything from exactly what reasons she would have to compromise, all the way to the meaning of the word itself. Her own signature blend of fascinating and empowering - something that Mahalia channels effortlessly through her own candid lyrics and refreshing outlooks.
“The album talks about me falling in love, and falling out of love, breaking hearts and having my heart broken and me compromising for things but also at the same time being really uncompromising.” And it’s that back and forth that inspired a lot of the writing on this record, before eventually coming to the resolution that while we can choose to compromise on the material, there’s power in choosing to remain strong in your character and spirit.
Musically, the record is surprising even to Mahalia, excitedly she admits “it’s not what I thought it was going to be!” Continuing on a distinct departure from her earlier stripped-back acoustic style for a more diverse and open sonic palette. “Every song is different, which to me is so much more exciting.” She cites Jill Scott’s Woman and Billie Eilish’s debut album as sharing a similar ethos: one where you’re able to feel something different in each moment. Mapping it out track by track, the record invites you on a journey through relationships of all kinds: exploring sentiments of confusion, addiction, rejection and infatuation before circling back to the search for love.
And her influences are as broad as her emotional spectrum. “I’ve been playing with the idea of putting out a playlist of songs that inspired the album, but I don’t know if people are going to get it.” When considering who would occupy the playlist, she simply says, “Everything. Everything I heard in a restaurant, or coming out of someone else’s phone on the street, or while I’m watching TV.” More practically, she lists everything from Bon Iver and Carole King to Summer Walker and H.E.R and of course Lauryn Hill as artists that would make the cut. Drawing on the vulnerability of the Summer Walker that she endeavours to capture in her own art, the raw sentiment of Bon Iver and the intricate musicality of H.E.R, as well as the all round strength of storytelling on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Ultimately finding honesty and emotion at the heart of her music. And in this case, the openness Mahalia radiates in her art is nothing but a genuine reflection of her real life presence - effervescent and warmly familiar. A key factor that suggests this album will be the first in a long line of self portraits that she can paint authentically over her career. And though she cites her parents ability to follow their gut and talents through different career paths, when asked if she thinks she’ll make music forever she nods and smiles dreamily: “It just makes me really happy.”
- All Ages.- No pro/flash photography, selfie sticks or anything else that interferes with fellow fans' concert experience.- Large bags/coats may need to be checked. Please check with venue.- ADA assistance available. Inform venue staff upon arrival.
Door times:5:30pm - P16:30pm - P27:00pm - P3
P1 ticket (VIP M&G)includes:- Exclusive concert lanyard- Photo with Jay Park in groups of 6- Earliest entry into the venue- Standing closest to the stage
P1 ticket considerations:- Lanyard pick up begins 3:30pm- Must be in line by 5:25pm in groups of 6- If you are not in line with a group of 6, concert staff will put you into a group when entering venue- Late entry into the photo session will be at the discretion of concert staff- No photos/videos, autographs during photo session- P1 photos will be uploaded to kohai's Facebook page (facebook.com/heykohai)
P2 ticket includes:- Early entry into the venue following the P1 group photos- Standing 2nd closest to the stage
Every pair of tickets purchased for this show includes one CD copy of Chris Brown’s new album, Indigo. You will receive an email with more details about this offer approximately 7 days after your purchase. US/Canadian residents only. Offer not valid on resale tickets.
Children age 3 and older require a ticket. A child under the age of 3 is considered a lap child and does not require a ticket.
Tickets will go on-sale through AXS.com or over the phone with AXS at (213) 457-1647 on the first day of the on-sale. The Box Office at STAPLES Center will sell starting the next business day.
Will Call is available at our venue 2 hours before the start of the event on the day of the show only. VALID PHOTO ID AND THE CREDIT CARD USED TO PURCHASE ARE REQUIRED TO PICK UP ALL WILL CALL TICKETS.
Visit www.staplescenter.com for more information.
"I can see my name written across the sky," Raphael Saadiq sings on "Go To Hell," from his stunning new album, Stone Rollin', as a B3 organ swells, cymbals dance, and a fluttering string section spirals towards the heavens. "Victory is near... I can feel it getting closer, closer every day."
Since Saadiq's early days the Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter and record producer has carried the torch for old school R&B. In addition to releasing critically acclaimed albums like Ray Rayand Instant Vintage (nominated for five GRAMMYs), for the last two decades Saadiq has worked behind the scenes as a celebrated producer, collaborator and sideman for big-time acts like D'Angelo, John Legend, Joss Stone, The Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, Stevie Wonder, the Bee Gees, The Isley Brothers, Mary J. Blige, TLC, Whitney Houston, Snoop Dogg, Earth, Wind and Fire and the list goes on and on. Now, at the peak of his creativity, Saadiq is finally ready to soak up the spotlight alone with Stone Rollin'.
A few years ago Saadiq signed a deal with Columbia Records. "When I first got the deal with Columbia they knew I had produced some records, but they didn't know me as a solo act," he explains. But when label guru Rick Rubin paid a visit to Saadiq's home studio, he was blown away by what he'd heard. "He told me to never box myself in," says Saadiq. "I just have to be myself. You've got to follow your own path. I've always gone down the road less traveled, but now I do it even more aggressively." His instincts have paid dividends. Saadiq's debut album for Columbia, 2008's The Way I See It, which boasted four Billboard R&B chart singles and was nominated for three GRAMMY Awards including Best R&B Album. "It's definitely surprised me how far things have come," he says.
Stone Rollin' - written and produced by Saadiq, who also plays bass, mellotron, keys, guitar, percussion and even drums on most of the tracks -- is even more powerful, urgent and bold than it's predecessor. The new songs are firmly planted in classic R&B, and nod to Saadiq's heroes like Chuck Berry, Stevie Wonder, Little Walter and Sly Stone. However Saadiq offers his own contemporary spin, one born out of a combination of his recent touring experiences, as well as inspiration derived from indie acts that hold regular rotation in his ipod."I still want to be a throwback artist, but with a futuristic twist," he says.
After a memorable powwow with Rick Rubin, Saadiq felt emboldened, vowing to pursue his solo work with no compromises. This is the reason, he feels, why The Way I See It struck such a universal chord. With that album's release, Raphael Saadiq truly made his mark as a touring artist. Fans, new and old, came in droves to see Saadiq perform at festival shows throughout Europe and the States -- including Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Lollapalooza, South By Southwest and Voodoo Experience, and a recent opening slot on the Dave Matthews Band’s amphitheater tour.
Stone Rollin' was born on the road, and recorded at his studio complex the Blakeslee Recording Company in Los Angeles, just around the corner from the Hollywood Bowl. "I damn near live in that studio," he says. Saadiq wrote the stomping opening track, "Heart Attack" while in France, inspired by Sly Stone jams like "Dance To the Music" and "M'Lady" (Saadiq also grew up in the East Bay, where the Family Stone was born.) "I wanted the album to start out with that sense of urgency, that global soul and rock & roll feel," he says. "After having so much fun out there touring, I really wanted to make an album that I could go out there and play." Stone Rollin' continues with the stunning standout track, "Go To Hell," featuring his studio squad of musicians who are melodically complimented by an angelic choir intoning the mantra, "Let Love Keep Us Together," and a vocal ad-lib by Saadiq that recalls Seventies Stevie Wonder. "I'm just screaming my feelings," says Saadiq.
Stone Rollin' does feature it's share of special guests. Robert Randolph dropped by Blakeslee to lay down some nasty steel guitar on "Day Dreams." Saadiq opens the track -- evocative of a Dixieland rag. Also guesting on "Just Don't" is one of Saadiq indie rock favorites, Swedish-Japanese singer Yukimi Nagano, from the band Little Dragon. "She put some great vocals on top," he says. "On that song I also had the chance to play with one of my idols, Larry Dunn from Earth, Wind and Fire. He played piano and took a long, epic Moog solo. That's why the song is so long, because I wanted to give him the space and the respect on my record that he truly deserves."
Saadiq had Chuck Berry's feel-good rock & roll on his mind when he wrote "Radio." "I always wanted to do something like Chuck," says Saadiq. Another standout track on the collection is "Good Man," which brilliantly blends golden age Soul with a killer hip-hop hook, co-written and sung by upstart Taura Stinson.
"I'm going to have a great time playing this album live," says Saadiq. Until then, he's spending every day in preparation. After he wakes up in the morning he bikes down to the local high school for some sprints around the track. "To get my wind up, ready for the tour."
"I don't know where the title Stone Rollin' came from," says Saadiq. "It just came out of my mouth one day, but it just made sense with where I'm at right now. I feel like I'm stone rollin', like I'm ready to rock. I'm ready to go. Throw me anywhere and I'll make it happen. I feel really good about this album."
Keith Sweat (born in Harlem, New York), is an R&B and soul singer. Sweat once worked an ordinary 9-to-5 job for the commodities market in the New York Stock Exchange. He sang at nightclubs until he was discovered in 1987. On November 25, 1987, Sweat released his debut album Make It Last Forever, which sold four million copies. The biggest hit from this album was I Want Her.Sweat continued to chart well with his sophomore album I'll Give All My Love To You, which hit 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, and Keep It Comin debuted in the Top 20 of the album chart. Sweat released his fourth album Get Up On It in the summer of 1994. He followed with Keith Sweat, his self-titled fifth album, in 1996, which hit 5 on the Billboard 200. The single Twisted hit number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and Nobody hit number 3.
In 1992, Sweat discovered the group Silk, and helped craft their debut album, Lose Control, which hit 7 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The album's single Freak Me hit the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 on May 1, 1993. In 1995, Sweat discovered the Atlanta based female R&B group Kut Klose. Sweat also produced the group's debut album Surrender, which produced the hit single I Like, peaking at number 8 on Billboard's "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles". Sweat also formed the R&B supergroup LSG with Gerald Levert and Johnny Gill, and released their self-titled debut Levert.Sweat.Gill in 1997. That album featured the hit My Body, which became a huge hit single. Keith Sweat has produced songs for artists such as Men At Large (Don't Cry) Dru Hill (Love's Train, Share My World) Immature (Extra, Extra) Ol Skool - (Am I Dreaming (feat. Xscape)), The Isley Brothers (Slow Is The Way) and The O'Jays ft Keith Sweat (Baby You Know).
Every ticket for this show includes either digital download or CD copy of India.Arie’s new album, Worthy. You will receive an email with more details about this offer approximately 7 days after your purchase. US/Canadian residents only. Offer not valid on Resale tickets.