British R&B newcomer Mahalia on her new video for ‘Sober’ and finding inspiration in troubled times

Rising British R&B artist Mahalia has all the makings of a star. Stunning songwriting? Check? A heavenly voice? Sure. Friends in high places? Yep, collaborators Rudimental made sure of that.

Now, she can add ‘killer videos’ to her pop-star CV, as she’s just shared the vibrant visuals for her debut single ‘Sober’.

We spoke to the R&B newcomer to get the lowdown on the song, video, and what comes next.

When did you write the song ‘Sober’?

“I started writing ‘Sober’ back in October 2016 after coming out of a pretty bad relationship-thing with a guy. I asked a producer that I regularly work with, Maths Time Joy, if he could possibly send me any projects he’d got lying around as I was finding it hard to get inspiration. First time I heard the beat, I thought it was sick. I came home one night a couple weeks later and wrote the chorus. The full tune took me like 6 months to write in total. I think because the feelings were still so fresh, the process was longer than usual.”

Did you always know what you wanted the video to look like?

“Yes – totally. Some of the other features, like the still shots, came from the director. He had some really great ideas, it was a great collaboration. But, all of the bright neon colours and story of the video were definitely in my head when I was planning how I wanted it to look. I’m really happy with how it turned out!”

What’s influencing your songwriting in the world right now?

“My life is very different now. When I was at school, I definitely found it much easier finding inspiration from different places. Now, I find it in the strangest things. I think my generation are in an interesting time. Theres a lot to be positive about and also a lot to be angry about. I talk about most things that play on my mind with friends and family. Politics, mental health, body empowerment, relationships, social media etc. There’s lots that inspires me and lots I want to write about. I just don’t always know how. “

You sung with Rudimental on their last album – what did you take from that experience?

“I loved feeling a part of something bigger than me, I guess. They’re such cool guys and always made me feel so welcome. It was my first time writing for somebody else’s record and I really found it an incredible experience. I’d love to do it again”

What’s coming up for you next?

“Hopefully, another single at the end of the Summer. But, my main focus has always been an album. I don’t know when it will come but, it’s in the making now. I’m writing and working hard to finish it!”

Sober is out now via Atlantic Records.