Over two years since Mabel dropped her first single, ‘Know Me Better’, it feels like the rising R&B star’s time is right now. She’s just released ‘Ivy to Roses’ mixtape, a fully-formed selection of songs that prove why she’s shining far and away one of the finest new talents in the game.
We spoke to the 21-year-old about the collection and what comes next.
What mind set were you in when you wrote your mixtape ‘Ivy to Roses’?
I think that the beauty of the music business now is that you kind of don’t have to do single, single, single, album, even though I am very much an album person I feel like I’d got to April/May this year, and was thinking ‘actually, you know what, I don’t have to put an album out this year’.
I’m so young and still learning – and the album is a journey. I feel like I just need to live a bit – to get there and figure out what I want to do. So ‘Ivy to Roses’ is I think just a collection of my favourite songs right now because, God knows, I change my mind a lot, so in a year, who knows how I’m going to feel about them. It’s just a little insight into where I’m at right now, and I think people just wanna be a part of a journey – the evolution of a person.
The reason why it’s called ‘Ivy to Roses’ is because it’s about growth and blossoming because I’ve done a lot of that over the past couple of years.
Do you think that the perception has changed towards mixtapes?
Some people think kind of jokes to drop a mixtape, but I think for an artist it’s such a liberating process. I’m just going to put out some songs that I’ve made that I like, and it’s not this big thing of just doing loads of promo and pushing an album. Just a little present for the fans.
Who are your big influences when it came to putting together that mixtape?
‘90s stuff like Lauren Hill, Aaliyah, Destiny’s Child and anything that Timbaland touched.
Both of your parents are musicians, are they hands on with the music you make?
I think it’s really important for us to keep it separate. My Mum and Dad have worked together for 30 years and I think that’s enough of a music-work relationship in one family because it’s amazing, they couldn’t work with anybody else but it is also really intense. I think it’s enough for us to be like, just fans. They come to all my show and they just come as parents, not as critics.
At the moment there’s a great wave of young female artists coming through here in the UK. Why do you think all these artists are having an impact right now?
It’s really interesting, because obviously it’s really hard to break solo female acts. But I think actually if anything we’re just encouraging each other and inspiring each other and I think that’s why there’s so many of us.
The UK went through a phase where there wasn’t so much R&B coming out of here, and I feel like one person started and then you’re thinking, ‘hey maybe I could do it too’. But it’s not like we’re copying each other or anything, we’re just inspiring each other. I feel so lucky right now to be in a place where there’s so much of that happening. I just feel there’s space for all of us, because we’re all in our own lanes.
Who’s the dream collaborator?
Well I love Raye I think she’s one of the strongest writers that we have in the UK right now, I think she’s so strong. She’s written so many big tunes, I actually I can’t fault her, I love her. Stefflon Don is obviously amazing, I think Jorja Smith amazing ‘On My Mind’ is such a banger. I think that would be a strong crew.
Mabel’s ‘Ivy to Roses’ mixtape is out now.
Mabel will also play:
London Forum (April 25)